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Journal Description

JMIR Mental Health (JMH, ISSN 2368-7959) is a PubMed-indexed, peer-reviewed sister journal of JMIR, the leading eHealth journal by Impact Factor.

JMIR Mental Health focusses on digital health and Internet interventions, technologies and electronic innovations (software and hardware) for mental health, addictions, online counselling and behaviour change. This includes formative evaluation and system descriptions, theoretical papers, review papers, viewpoint/vision papers, and rigorous evaluations.

JMIR Mental Health publishes even faster and has a broader scope with including papers which are more technical or more formative/developmental than what would be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research

JMIR Mental Health features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs. The journal is indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, and ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index).

JMIR Mental Health adheres to the same quality standards as JMIR and all articles published here are also cross-listed in the Table of Contents of JMIR, the worlds' leading medical journal in health sciences / health services research and health informatics.


Recent Articles:

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Freepik; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Adverse Childhood Experiences Ontology for Mental Health Surveillance, Research, and Evaluation: Advanced Knowledge Representation and Semantic Web Techniques


    Background: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), a set of negative events and processes that a person might encounter during childhood and adolescence, have been proven to be linked to increased risks of a multitude of negative health outcomes and conditions when children reach adulthood and beyond. Objective: To better understand the relationship between ACEs and their relevant risk factors with associated health outcomes and to eventually design and implement preventive interventions, access to an integrated coherent dataset is needed. Therefore, we implemented a formal ontology as a resource to allow the mental health community to facilitate data integration and knowledge modeling and to improve ACEs’ surveillance and research. Methods: We use advanced knowledge representation and semantic Web tools and techniques to implement the ontology. The current implementation of the ontology is expressed in the description logic ALCRIQ(D), a sublogic of Web Ontology Language (OWL 2). Results: The ACEs Ontology has been implemented and made available to the mental health community and the public via the BioPortal repository. Moreover, multiple use-case scenarios have been introduced to showcase and evaluate the usability of the ontology in action. The ontology was created to be used by major actors in the ACEs community with different applications, from the diagnosis of individuals and predicting potential negative outcomes that they might encounter to the prevention of ACEs in a population and designing interventions and policies. Conclusions: The ACEs Ontology provides a uniform and reusable semantic network and an integrated knowledge structure for mental health practitioners and researchers to improve ACEs’ surveillance and evaluation.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: jcomp; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Economic Evaluation of an Internet-Based Stress Management Intervention Alongside a Randomized Controlled Trial


    Background: Work-related stress is widespread among employees and associated with high costs for German society. Internet-based stress management interventions (iSMIs) are effective in reducing such stress. However, evidence for their cost-effectiveness is scant. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of a guided iSMI for employees. Methods: A sample of 264 employees with elevated symptoms of perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale≥22) was assigned to either the iSMI or a waitlist control condition (WLC) with unrestricted access to treatment as usual. Participants were recruited in Germany in 2013 and followed through 2014, and data were analyzed in 2017. The iSMI consisted of 7 sessions plus 1 booster session. It was based on problem-solving therapy and emotion regulation techniques. Costs were measured from the societal perspective, including all direct and indirect medical costs. We performed a cost-effectiveness analysis and a cost-utility analysis relating costs to a symptom-free person and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, respectively. Sampling uncertainty was handled using nonparametric bootstrapping (N=5000). Results: When the society is not willing to pay anything to get an additional symptom-free person (eg, willingness-to-pay [WTP]=€0), there was a 70% probability that the intervention is more cost-effective than WLC. This probability rose to 85% and 93% when the society is willing to pay €1000 and €2000, respectively, for achieving an additional symptom-free person. The cost-utility analysis yielded a 76% probability that the intervention is more cost-effective than WLC at a conservative WTP threshold of €20,000 (US $25,800) per QALY gained. Conclusions: Offering an iSMI to stressed employees has an acceptable likelihood of being cost-effective compared with WLC. Trial Registration: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00004749; International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): RR2-10.1186/1471-2458-13-655

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: ijeab; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Influence of Personality and Differences in Stress Processing Among Finnish Students on Interest to Use a Mobile Stress Management App: Survey Study


    Background: Excessive stress has a negative impact on many aspects of life for both individuals and societies, from studying and working to health and well-being. Each individual has their unique level of stress-proneness, and positive or negative outcomes of stress may be affected by it. Technology-aided interventions have potential efficacy in the self-management of stress. However, current Web-based or mobile stress management solutions may not reach the individuals that would need them the most, that is, stress-sensitive people. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine how personality is associated with stress among Finnish university students and their interest to use apps that help in managing stress. Methods: We used 2 structured online questionnaires (combined, n=1001) that were advertised in the University of Helsinki’s mailing lists. The first questionnaire (n=635) was used to investigate intercorrelations between the Big Five personality variables (neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) and other stress-related background variables. The second questionnaire (n=366) was used to study intercorrelations between the above-mentioned study variables and interest in using stress management apps. Results: The quantitative findings of the first questionnaire showed that higher levels of extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were associated with lower self-reported stress. Neuroticism, in turn, was found to be strongly associated with rumination, anxiety, and depression. The findings of the second questionnaire indicated that individuals characterized by the Big Five personality traits of neuroticism and agreeableness were particularly interested to use stress management apps (r=.27, P<.001 and r=.11, P=.032, respectively). Moreover, the binary logistic regression analysis revealed that when a person’s neuroticism is one SD above average (ie, it is higher than among 84% of people), the person has roughly 2 times higher odds of being interested in using a stress management app. Respectively, when a person’s agreeableness is one SD above average, the person has almost 1.4 times higher odds of being interested in using a stress management app. Conclusions: Our results indicated that personality traits may have an influence on the adoption interest of stress management apps. Individuals with high neuroticism are, according to our results, adaptive in the sense that they are interested in using stress management apps that may benefit them. On the contrary, low agreeableness may lead to lower interest to use the mobile stress management apps. The practical implication is that future mobile stress interventions should meaningfully be adjusted to improve user engagement and support health even among less-motivated users, for instance, to successfully engage individuals with low agreeableness.

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Using Computer Games to Support Mental Health Interventions: Naturalistic Deployment Study


    Background: Recent research has highlighted naturalistic uptake as a key barrier to maximizing the impact of mental health technologies. Although there is increasing evidence regarding the efficacy of digital interventions for mental health, as demonstrated through randomized controlled trials, there is also evidence that technologies do not succeed as expected when deployed in real-world settings. Objective: This paper describes the naturalistic deployment of Pesky gNATs, a computer game designed to support cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children experiencing anxiety or low mood. The objective of this deployment study was to identify how therapists use Pesky gNATs in real-world settings and to discover positive and negative factors. On the basis of this, we aimed to derive generalizable recommendations for the development of mental health technologies that can have greater impact in real-world settings. Methods: Pesky gNATs has been made available through a not-for-profit organization. After 18 months of use, we collected usage and user experience data from therapists who used the game. Data were collected through an online survey and semistructured interviews addressing the expectations and experiences of both therapists and young people. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes in the interview and survey data. Results: A total of 21 therapists, who used Pesky gNATs with 95 young people, completed the online survey. Furthermore, 5 therapists participated in the follow-up interview. Confirming previous assessments, data suggest that the game can be helpful in delivering therapy and that young people generally liked the approach. Therapists shared diverse opinions regarding the young people for whom they deemed the game appropriate. The following 3 themes were identified: (1) stages of use, (2) impact on the delivery of therapy, and (3) customization. We discuss therapists’ reflections on the game with regard to their work practices and consider the question of customization, including the delicate balance of adaptable interaction versus the need for fidelity to a therapeutic model. Conclusions: This study provides further evidence that therapeutic games can support the delivery of CBT for young people in real-world settings. It also shows that deployment studies can provide a valuable means of understanding how technologies integrate with the overall mental health ecosystem and become a part of therapists' toolbox. Variability in use should be expected in real-world settings. Effective training, support for therapist autonomy, careful consideration of different approaches to customization, the reporting of deployment data, and support for communities of practice can play an important role in supporting variable, but effective, use.

  • Source: Rawpixel; Copyright: Rawpixel; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    The Importance of User Segmentation for Designing Digital Therapy for Adolescent Mental Health: Findings From Scoping Processes


    Background: New Zealand youth, especially those of Māori and Pacific descent, have high rates of depression, anxiety, and self-harm, but have low rates of help-seeking from mental health professionals. Apps, computerized therapy, and other digital tools can be effective, highly scalable treatments for anxiety and depression. Co-design processes are often used to foster engagement with end users, but this does not always lead to high levels of engagement. Objective: We aimed to carry out preliminary scoping to understand adolescents’ current internet use and diversity of preferences to inform a planned co-design process for creating digital mental health tools for teenagers. Methods: Interactive workshops and focus groups were held with young people. Data were analyzed using a general inductive approach. Results: Participants (N=58) engaged in 2 whānau (extended family) focus groups (n=4 and n=5), 2 school- or community-based focus groups (n=9 each), and 2 workshops (n=11 and n=20). The authors identified 3 overarching themes: (1) Digital mental health tools are unlikely to be successful if they rely solely on youth help-seeking. (2) A single approach is unlikely to appeal to all. Participants had diverse, noncompatible preferences in terms of look or feel of an app or digital tool. The authors identified 4 user groups players or gamers, engagers, sceptics, and straight-talkers. These groups differed by age and degree of current mental health need and preferred gamified or fun approaches, were open to a range of approaches, were generally disinterested, or preferred direct-to-the-point, serious approaches, respectively. (3) Digital mental health tools should provide an immediate response to a range of different issues and challenges that a young person may face. Conclusions: Defining the preferences of different groups of users may be important for increasing engagement with digital therapies even within specific population and mental health–need groups. This study demonstrates the importance of scoping possible user needs to inform design processes.

  • Source: iStock; Copyright: shironosov; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Association Between Improvement in Baseline Mood and Long-Term Use of a Mindfulness and Meditation App: Observational Study


    Background: The use of smartphone apps to monitor and deliver health care guidance and interventions has received considerable attention recently, particularly with regard to behavioral disorders, stress relief, negative emotional state, and poor mood in general. Unfortunately, there is little research investigating the long-term and repeated effects of apps meant to impact mood and emotional state. Objective: We aimed to investigate the effects of both immediate point-of-intervention and long-term use (ie, at least 10 engagements) of a guided meditation and mindfulness smartphone app on users’ emotional states. Data were collected from users of a mobile phone app developed by the company Stop, Breathe & Think (SBT) for achieving emotional wellness. To explore the long-term effects, we assessed changes in the users’ basal emotional state before they completed an activity (eg, a guided meditation). We also assessed the immediate effects of the app on users’ emotional states from preactivity to postactivity. Methods: The SBT app collects information on the emotional state of the user before and after engagement in one or several mediation and mindfulness activities. These activities are recommended and provided by the app based on user input. We considered data on over 120,000 users of the app who collectively engaged in over 5.5 million sessions with the app during an approximate 2-year period. We focused our analysis on users who had at least 10 engagements with the app over an average of 6 months. We explored the changes in the emotional well-being of individuals with different emotional states at the time of their initial engagement with the app using mixed-effects models. In the process, we compared 2 different methods of classifying emotional states: (1) an expert-defined a priori mood classification and (2) an empirically driven cluster-based classification. Results: We found that among long-term users of the app, there was an association between the length of use and a positive change in basal emotional state (4% positive mood increase on a 2-point scale every 10 sessions). We also found that individuals who were anxious or depressed tended to have a favorable long-term emotional transition (eg, from a sad emotional state to a happier emotional state) after using the app for an extended period (the odds ratio for achieving a positive emotional state was 3.2 and 6.2 for anxious and depressed individuals, respectively, compared with users with fewer sessions). Conclusions: Our analyses provide evidence for an association between both immediate and long-term use of an app providing guided meditations and improvements in the emotional state.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Tomasz Mikołajczyk; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Gaming With Stigma: Analysis of Messages About Mental Illnesses in Video Games


    Background: Video game playing is a daily activity for many youths that replaces other media forms (eg, television); it serves as an important source of knowledge and can potentially impact their attitudes and behaviors. Researchers are, thus, concerned with the impact of video gaming on youth (eg, for promoting prosocial or antisocial behavior). Studies have also begun to explore players’ experience of gameplay and video game messages about violence, sexism, and racism; however, little is known about the impact of commercial video games in the sharing and shaping of knowledge, and messages about mental illness. Objective: The aim of this review was to identify how mental illness, especially psychosis, is portrayed in commercial video games. Methods: We performed keyword searches on games made available between January 2016 and June 2017 on Steam (a popular personal computer gaming platform). A total of 789 games were identified and reviewed to assess whether their game content was related to mental illness. At the end of the screening phase, a total of 100 games were retained. Results: We used a game elements framework (characters, game environment/atmosphere, goals, etc) to describe and unpack messages about mental health and illness in video games. The majority of the games we reviewed (97%, 97/100) portrayed mental illness in negative, misleading, and problematic ways (associating it with violence, fear, insanity, hopelessness, etc). Furthermore, some games portrayed mental illness as manifestations or consequences of supernatural phenomena or paranormal experiences. Mental illness was associated with mystery, the unpredictable, and as an obscure illness; its treatment was also associated with uncertainties, as game characters with mental illness had to undergo experimental treatment to get better. Unfortunately, little or no hope for recovery was present in the identified video games, where mental illness was often presented as an ongoing struggle and an endless battle with the mind and oneself. Conclusions: The game elements of the identified commercial video games included mental illness, about which many perpetuated well-known stereotypes and prejudices. We discuss the key findings in relation to current evidence on the impact of media portrayals of mental illness and stigma. Furthermore, we reflect on the ability of serious video games to promote alternative messages about mental illness and clinical practices. Future research is needed to investigate the impact that such messages have on players and to explore the role that video games can play in fostering alternative messages to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

  • Source: PxHere; Copyright: PxHere; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    An Approach for Data Mining of Electronic Health Record Data for Suicide Risk Management: Database Analysis for Clinical Decision Support


    Background: In an electronic health context, combining traditional structured clinical assessment methods and routine electronic health–based data capture may be a reliable method to build a dynamic clinical decision-support system (CDSS) for suicide prevention. Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the data mining module of a Web-based CDSS and to identify suicide repetition risk in a sample of suicide attempters. Methods: We analyzed a database of 2802 suicide attempters. Clustering methods were used to identify groups of similar patients, and regression trees were applied to estimate the number of suicide attempts among these patients. Results: We identified 3 groups of patients using clustering methods. In addition, relevant risk factors explaining the number of suicide attempts were highlighted by regression trees. Conclusions: Data mining techniques can help to identify different groups of patients at risk of suicide reattempt. The findings of this study can be combined with Web-based and smartphone-based data to improve dynamic decision making for clinicians.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: katemangostar; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    When All Else Fails, Listen to the Patient: A Viewpoint on the Use of Ecological Momentary Assessment in Clinical Trials


    A major problem in mental health clinical trials, such as depression, is low assay sensitivity in primary outcome measures. This has contributed to clinical trial failures, resulting in the exodus of the pharmaceutical industry from the Central Nervous System space. This reduced assay sensitivity in psychiatry outcome measures stems from inappropriately broad measures, recall bias, and poor interrater reliability. Limitations in the ability of traditional measures to differentiate between the trait versus state-like nature of individual depressive symptoms also contributes to measurement error in clinical trials. In this viewpoint, we argue that ecological momentary assessment (EMA)—frequent, real time, in-the-moment assessments of outcomes, delivered via smartphone—can both overcome these psychometric challenges and reduce clinical trial failures by increasing assay sensitivity and minimizing recall and rater bias. Used in this manner, EMA has the potential to further our understanding of treatment response by allowing for the assessment of dynamic interactions between treatment and distinct symptom response.

  • A general practitioner uses the Web-based e-learning course on Motivational Interviewing to support Chronic Disease Management in Primary Care. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: Karoline Lukaschek; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Applicability of Motivational Interviewing for Chronic Disease Management in Primary Care Following a Web-Based E-Learning Course: Cross-Sectional Study


    Background: Motivational interviewing (MI) is an established communication method for enhancing intrinsic motivation for changing health behavior. E-learning can reduce the cost and time involved in providing continuing education and can be easily integrated into individual working arrangements and the daily routines of medical professionals. Thus, a Web-based course was devised to familiarize health professionals with different levels of education and expertise with MI techniques for patients with chronic conditions. Objective: The aim of this study was to report participants’ opinion on the practicality of MI (as learned in the course) in daily practice, stratified by the level of education. Methods: Participants (N=607) of the MI Web-based training course evaluated the course over 18 months, using a self-administered questionnaire. The evaluation was analyzed descriptively and stratified for the level of education (medical students, physicians in specialist training [PSTs], and general practitioners [GPs]). Results: Participants rated the applicability of the skills and knowledge gained by the course as positive (medical students: 94% [79/84] good; PSTs: 88.6% [109/123] excellent; and GPs: 51.3% [182/355] excellent). When asked whether they envisage the use of MI in the future, 79% (67/84) of the students stated to a certain extent, 88.6% (109/123) of the PSTs stated to a great extent, and 38.6% (137/355) of GPs stated to a great extent. Participants acknowledged an improvement of communication skills such as inviting (medical students: 85% [72/84]; PSTs: 90.2% [111/123]; GPs: 37.2% [132/355]) and encouraging (medical students: 81% [68/84]; PSTs: 45.5% [56/123]; GPs: 36.3% [129/355]) patients to talk about behavior change and conveying respect for patient’s choices (medical students: 72% [61/84]; PSTs: 50.0% [61/123]; GPs: 23.4% [83/355]). Conclusions: Participants confirmed the practicality of MI. However, the extent to which the practicality of MI was acknowledged as well as its expected benefits depended on the individual’s level of education/expertise.

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Use of a Mobile Phone App to Treat Depression Comorbid With Hypertension or Diabetes: A Pilot Study in Brazil and Peru


    Background: Depression is underdiagnosed and undertreated in primary health care. When associated with chronic physical disorders, it worsens outcomes. There is a clear gap in the treatment of depression in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where specialists and funds are scarce. Interventions supported by mobile health (mHealth) technologies may help to reduce this gap. Mobile phones are widely used in LMICs, offering potentially feasible and affordable alternatives for the management of depression among individuals with chronic disorders. Objective: This study aimed to explore the potential effectiveness of an mHealth intervention to help people with depressive symptoms and comorbid hypertension or diabetes and explore the feasibility of conducting large randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Methods: Emotional Control (CONEMO) is a low-intensity psychoeducational 6-week intervention delivered via mobile phones and assisted by a nurse for reducing depressive symptoms among individuals with diabetes or hypertension. CONEMO was tested in 3 pilot studies, 1 in São Paulo, Brazil, and 2 in Lima, Peru. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) at enrollment and at 6-week follow-up. Results: The 3 pilot studies included a total of 66 people. Most participants were females aged between 41 and 60 years. There was a reduction in depressive symptoms as measured by PHQ-9 in all pilot studies. In total, 58% (38/66) of the participants reached treatment success rate (PHQ-9 <10), with 62% (13/21) from São Paulo, 62% (13/21) from the first Lima pilot, and 50% (12/24) from the second Lima pilot study. The intervention, the app, and the support offered by the nurse and nurse assistants were well received by participants in both settings. Conclusions: The intervention was feasible in both settings. Clinical data suggested that CONEMO may help in decreasing participants’ depressive symptoms. The findings also indicated that it was possible to conduct RCTs in these settings.

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Evaluating the Feasibility of an Innovative Self-Confidence Webinar Intervention for Depression in the Workplace: A Proof-of-Concept Study


    Background: Depression in the workplace is a very common problem that exacerbates employees’ functioning and consequently influences the productivity of organizations. Despite the commonness of the problem and the currently available interventions, a high proportion of employees do not seek help. A new intervention, a webinar (Web-based seminar), was developed, which integrated the use of technology and the traditional guided therapist support to provide accessible help for the problem of depression in the workplace. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility, preliminary outcome, and acceptability of the webinar intervention conducted in organizations. Methods: In total, 2 organizations were invited to participate, and 33 employees participated in this proof-of-concept study. The webinar intervention consisted of 6 1-hour sessions conducted via the Adobe Connect platform, developed by Adobe Inc. The intervention was developed based on a systematic review, focus group studies, and face-to-face self-confidence workshops that utilized cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The final webinar intervention used CBT and the coping flexibility approach. The structure of the intervention included PowerPoint presentations, animation videos, utilization of chat panels, and whiteboard features. The intervention was conducted live and guided by a consultant psychologist assisted by a moderator. Study outcomes were self-assessed using self-reported Web surveys. The acceptability of the intervention was assessed using self-reported user experience Web surveys and open-ended questions. Results: The findings showed: (1) evidence of feasibility of the intervention: the webinar intervention was successfully conducted in 3 groups, with 6 1-hour sessions for each group, with 82% (23/28) participants completing all 6 sessions; (2) positive improvements in depression: the linear mixed effects modeling analysis recorded a significant overall effect of time primarily for depression (F2, 48.813=31.524; P<.001) with a Hedge g effect size of 0.522 at 1-month follow-up. Individually, 8 subjects showed significant reliable and clinically significant changes, with 3 subjects showing clinically significant change only; and (3) encouraging evidence regarding the acceptability of the webinar intervention among the employees: the user experience score was above average for 4 out of 6 domains measured (perspicuity mean 1.198 [95% CI 0.832-1.564], efficiency mean 1.000 [95% CI 0.571-1.429], dependability mean 1.208 [95% CI 0.899-1.517], and stimulation mean 1.323 [95% CI 0.987-1.659]). The open-ended questions also yielded 52% (47/91) of the responses that reported facilitators, whereas only 12% (11/91) of the responses reported barriers. Conclusions: The self-confidence webinar intervention appears to be a potentially feasible, effective, and acceptable intervention for depression in the workplace that merits further investigation.

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  • Young Persons’ Face IT (YP Face IT), a web-based self-help psychosocial intervention for adolescents distressed by appearance-altering conditions and injuries: a feasibility study for a parallel randomized controlled trial.

    Date Submitted: May 21, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: May 22, 2019 - Jul 17, 2019

    Background: Disfigurement (visible difference) from wide-ranging congenital or acquired conditions, injuries or treatments can negatively impact adolescents’ psychological well-being, education and...

    Background: Disfigurement (visible difference) from wide-ranging congenital or acquired conditions, injuries or treatments can negatively impact adolescents’ psychological well-being, education and health behaviours. Alongside medical interventions, appearance-specific cognitive behavioural and social skills training to manage stigma and appearance anxiety may improve psychosocial outcomes. YP Face IT (YPF), is a web-based seven session self-help program plus booster quiz, utilising cognitive behavioural and social skills training, for young people (YP) struggling with a visible difference. Co-designed by adolescents and psychologists, it includes interactive multi-media and automated reminders to complete sessions/homework. Adolescents access YPF via a health professional who determines its suitability and remotely monitors clients’ usage. Objective: To establish the feasibility of evaluating YPF for 12-17 year olds self-reporting appearance-related distress and/or bullying associated with a visible difference. Methods: Randomized controlled trial with nested qualitative and economic study evaluating YPF compared with usual care (UC). Feasibility outcomes included: viability of recruiting via GP practices (face to face and via patient databases) and charity advertisements; intervention acceptability and adherence; feasibility of study and data collection methods and health professionals’ ability to monitor users’ online data for safeguarding issues. Primary psychosocial self-reported outcomes collected online at baseline, 13, 26 and 52 weeks were: appearance satisfaction (Appearance Subscale from Mendleson et al’s (2001) Body Esteem Scale); social anxiety (La Greca’s (1999) Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents). Secondary outcomes were; self-esteem; romantic concerns; perceived stigmatization; social skills and healthcare usage. Participants were randomised using remote web-based allocation. Results: Thirteen charities advertised the study yielding 11 recruits, 13 primary care practices sent 687 invitations to patients on their databases with a known visible difference yielding 17 recruits (2.5% response rate), four recruits came from GP consultations. Recruitment was challenging, therefore four additional practices mass-mailed 3,306 generic invitations to all 12-17 year old patients yielding a further 15 participants (0.5% response rate). Forty-seven YP with a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and conditions were randomised (26% male, 91% white, mean age 14 years (SD 1.7)); 23 to YPF, 24 to UC). At 52 weeks, 16 (70%) in the intervention and 20 (83%) in UC groups completed assessments. There were no intervention-related adverse events; most found YPF acceptable with three withdrawing because they judged it was for higher-level concerns; 12 (52%) completed seven sessions. The study design was acceptable and feasible, with multiple recruitment strategies. Preliminary findings indicate no changes from baseline in outcome measures among the UC group and positive changes in appearance satisfaction and fear of negative evaluation among the YPF group when factoring in baseline scores and intervention adherence. Conclusions: YPF is novel, safe and potentially helpful. Its full psychosocial benefits should be evaluated in a large-scale RCT, which would be feasible with wide-ranging recruitment strategies. Clinical Trial: ISRCTN40650639

  • Reimbursement of Apps for Mental Health: Current Practices and Potential Pathways

    Date Submitted: May 16, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: May 16, 2019 - Jul 11, 2019

    Background: While apps and other digital and mobile health (mHealth) tools are helping improve the mental health of Americans, there is not a single channel through which they can all be reimbursed. O...

    Background: While apps and other digital and mobile health (mHealth) tools are helping improve the mental health of Americans, there is not a single channel through which they can all be reimbursed. Objective: To shed light on the state of app reimbursement, we have documented ways in which apps can be reimbursed and surveyed stakeholders to understand current reimbursement practices. Methods: Individuals from over a dozen stakeholder organizations in digital behavioral and mental health, care delivery, and managed care were interviewed. A review of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCSPCS) codes was conducted to determine potential means for reimbursement. Results: Interviews and the review of codes revealed that potential channels for app reimbursement include direct payments by employers, healthcare providers, patients, and insurers. Insurers are additionally paying for apps using channels originally designed for devices, drugs, and laboratory tests, as well as via value-based payments and CPT and HCSPCS codes. However, in many cases, it is possible to achieve the requirements of a CPT or HCSPCS code only if an app is used in conjunction with human time and services. Conclusions: Currently, many apps face significant barriers to reimbursement. CPT codes are not a viable means of providing compensation for the use of all apps, particularly those involving little physician work. As an alternative, apps have sought clearance from FDA for prescription use as digital therapeutics; a reimbursement mechanism with unproven sustainability. There is a need for simpler reimbursement mechanisms to cover standalone app treatment interventions.

  • A Qualitative Study on Participants’ Experiences with a Community-based Mindful Walking Pilot Intervention Using Mobile Device Measurement

    Date Submitted: May 6, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: May 9, 2019 - Jul 4, 2019

    Background: Wearable mobile devices have been increasingly used to measure outcomes of mindfulness interventions. Objective: This study documents participants’ experiences with a mindful walking (MW...

    Background: Wearable mobile devices have been increasingly used to measure outcomes of mindfulness interventions. Objective: This study documents participants’ experiences with a mindful walking (MW) intervention and their experiences with reporting daily step counts using a mobile device. Methods: The pilot study involved a randomized MW intervention including 38 participants with inadequate physical activity. All participants were provided with a mobile device (“Fitbit”) to measure and report physical activity. The intervention group received a four-week MW intervention. All participants reported their experiences with Fitbit in responses to open-ended survey questions; those in the intervention group reported their experiences with MW. We used a qualitative thematic analysis of this survey-collected narrative dataset. Results: Participants’ reported experiences using the Fitbit device were mostly positive, with a majority of participants (63%) providing feedback that using the device was “enjoyable” and “helpful”. The common negative experience, reported by 16% of participants, was that the Fitbit was “uncomfortable to wear”. Perceived benefits of using the device included raising awareness about participants’ physical activity level and providing motivation to reach fitness goals. Participant feedback about the MW arm of the intervention included positive reports of benefits such as, “helping to focus on the present”, “coping with stressful emotions”, and negative feedback related to lacking the patience or ability to engage in meditation. Conclusions: Most participants reported step count data, demonstrating the feasibility of a mobile-device-assisted MW intervention. While most of the feedback about MW and the device was positive, some reported discomfort with wearing the device and lack of patience with meditation. These barriers should be addressed in future mobile health and mindfulness interventions. Clinical Trial: NCT03856385, NCT03856385


    Date Submitted: May 3, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: May 5, 2019 - Jun 30, 2019

    e-Mental Health is an emerging area of research that has the potential to overcome some of the current barriers to progress in working with people at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis (CHR-P). This art...

    e-Mental Health is an emerging area of research that has the potential to overcome some of the current barriers to progress in working with people at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis (CHR-P). This article provides an overview of how e-Mental Health could be utilised in the detection, prediction and treatment in the CHR-P population. Specifically, we evaluate e-detection, e-prediction and e-therapeutics for this clinical population. e-Mental Health holds great promise to improve current management of CHR-P individuals.

  • Mainz Inventory of Microstressors (MIMIS): Development and ecological validation of a microstressor scale for adults

    Date Submitted: May 2, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: May 2, 2019 - Jun 27, 2019

    Background: Many of the existing scales for microstressor assessment do not differentiate between objective (i. e., observable) stressor events as opposed to stressful cognitions or concerns and often...

    Background: Many of the existing scales for microstressor assessment do not differentiate between objective (i. e., observable) stressor events as opposed to stressful cognitions or concerns and often mix these items with other aspects of stress, such as perceived stressor severity, the evoked stress reaction or further consequences on health. This may result in spurious associations with other questionnaires measuring such constructs. Since most scales were de-veloped several decades ago, modern life stressors may not be represented. Objective: To develop a questionnaire that a) focuses on the retrospective assessment of objective microstressors over a one-week period and b) separates stressor occurrence from perceived stressor severity. Methods: Cross-sectional (N=109) and longitudinal studies (N=10 and N=70) were conduct-ed. In the longitudinal studies, Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) was used to com-pare stressor data, collected five times per day for 30 days, with retrospective reports (end-of-day, -week). Pearson correlations and multilevel-modelling were used in the analyses. Results: High correlations were found between the end-of-week, end-of-day and EMA data for microstressor occurrence (counts) (r ≥ .69 for comparisons per week, r ≥ .83 for cumulated data) and for mean perceived microstressor severity (r ≥ .74 for comparisons per week, r ≥ .85 for cumulated data). The end-of-week questionnaire predicted the EMA assessments suf-ficiently (counts: b= .03, 95% CI= .02 to .03, P<.001; severity: b= .67, 95% CI= .52 to .82, P<.001), the association did not change significantly over the period of four subsequent weeks. Conclusions: Our results provide evidence for the ecological validity of the MIMIS questionnaire. Clinical Trial: none

  • Usability of a psychotherapeutic interactive gaming tool used in facial emotion recognition for people with schizophrenia

    Date Submitted: Apr 11, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Apr 15, 2019 - Jun 10, 2019

    Background: Emotional Recognition (ER) is one of the areas most affected in people with schizophrenia. However, there are no software tools available for the assessment of ER. The interactive software...

    Background: Emotional Recognition (ER) is one of the areas most affected in people with schizophrenia. However, there are no software tools available for the assessment of ER. The interactive software program ‘Feeling Master’ (a cartoon facial recognition tool) was developed to investigate the deficit in facial emotion recognition (FER) with a sample of patients with schizophrenia in a pilot project framework. Objective: The aim of the study was to test the usability of ‘Feeling Master’ as a psychotherapeutic interactive gaming tool for the assessment of emotional recognition in people with schizophrenia compared with healthy people, and the relationship between FER, attributional style and theory of mind. Methods: Nineteen individuals with schizophrenia and 17 healthy control (HC) subjects completed the ‘Feeling Master’ including five emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and surprise). Regarding the group with schizophrenia they were evaluated with the Personal and Situational Attribution Questionnaire (IPSAQ) and the Hinting Task (Theory of Mind) to evaluate social cognition. Results: Patients with schizophrenia showed impairments in emotion recognition and they remained slower than the HC in the recognition of each emotion (P<.001). Regarding the impairment in the recognition of each emotion we only found a trend toward significance in error rates on fear discrimination (P=.07). And the correlations between correct response on the ‘Feeling Master’ and the hinting task showed significant values in the correlation of surprise and theory of mind (P=.046). Conclusions: In conclusion, the study puts forward the usability of the ‘Feeling Master’ in FER for people with schizophrenia. These findings lend support to the notion that difficulties in emotion recognition are more prevalent in people with schizophrenia, and that these are associated with impairment in ToM, suggesting the potential utility of the FER in the rehabilitation of people with schizophrenia.