JMIR Mental Health

Internet interventions, technologies, and digital innovations for mental health and behavior change.

JMIR Mental Health is the official journal of the Society of Digital Psychiatry

Editor-in-Chief:

John Torous, MD, MBI, Harvard Medical School, USA


Impact Factor 5.2

JMIR Mental Health (JMH, ISSN 2368-7959, Editor-in-Chief: John Torous, MD, MBI, Harvard Medical School, USA, Impact Factor: 5.2) is a premier PubMed/PubMed CentralMEDLINESCIE (Science Citation Index Expanded)/WoS/JCR (Journal Citation Reports), EMBASE, Sherpa/Romeo, DOAJ, PsycINFO, ESCI, EBSCO/EBSCO Essentials and Scopus indexed, peer-reviewed journal with a unique focus on digital health/digital psychiatry/digital psychology/e-mental health, covering Internet/mobile interventions, technologies and electronic innovations (software and hardware) for mental health, including addictions, online counselling and behaviour change. This includes formative evaluation and system descriptions, theoretical papers, review papers, viewpoint/vision papers, and rigorous evaluations related to digital psychiatry, e-mental health, and clinical informatics in psychiatry/psychology. In June 2023, JMH received an impact factor of 5.2

The main themes/topics covered by this journal can be found here.

JMIR Mental Health has an international author- and readership and welcomes submissions from around the world.

JMIR Mental Health features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs.

Recent Articles

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Depression and Mood Disorders; Suicide Prevention

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a global concern with increasing prevalence. While many evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) have been identified to treat MDD, there are numerous barriers to patients accessing them. Virtual reality (VR) has been used as a treatment enhancement for a variety of mental health disorders, but few studies have examined its clinical use in treating MDD. Behavioral activation (BA) is a simple yet effective and established first-line EBP for MDD that has the potential to be easily enhanced and adapted with VR technology. A previous report by our group explored the feasibility and acceptability of VR-enhanced BA in a small clinical proof-of-concept pilot. This study examines the clinical efficacy of a more immersive extended reality (XR)–enhanced BA (XR-BA) prototype. This is the first clinical efficacy test of an XR-BA protocol.

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Theme Issue 2023 : Responsible Design, Integration, and Use of Generative AI in Mental Health

Large language models (LLMs) hold potential for mental health applications. However, their opaque alignment processes may embed biases that shape problematic perspectives. Evaluating the values embedded within LLMs that guide their decision-making have ethical importance. Schwartz’s theory of basic values (STBV) provides a framework for quantifying cultural value orientations and has shown utility for examining values in mental health contexts, including cultural, diagnostic, and therapist-client dynamics.

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Depression and Mood Disorders; Suicide Prevention

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 1 in 5 adults during their lifetime and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Yet, a minority receive adequate treatment due to person-level (eg, geographical distance to providers) and systems-level (eg, shortage of trained providers) barriers. Digital tools could improve this treatment gap by reducing the time and frequency of therapy sessions needed for effective treatment through the provision of flexible, automated support.

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Reviews in Digital Mental Health

There has been an increased interest in understanding social anxiety (SA) and SA disorder (SAD) antecedents and consequences as they occur in real time, resulting in a proliferation of studies using ambulatory assessment (AA). Despite the exponential growth of research in this area, these studies have not been synthesized yet.

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Editorial

Bipolar disorder (BD) impacts over 40 million people around the world, often manifesting in early adulthood and substantially impacting the quality of life and functioning of individuals. Although early interventions are associated with a better prognosis, the early detection of BD is challenging given the high degree of similarity with other psychiatric conditions, including major depressive disorder, which corroborates the high rates of misdiagnosis. Further, BD has a chronic, relapsing course, and the majority of patients will go on to experience mood relapses despite pharmacological treatment. Digital technologies present promising results to augment early detection of symptoms and enhance BD treatment. In this editorial, we will discuss current findings on the use of digital technologies in the field of BD, while debating the challenges associated with their implementation in clinical practice and the future directions.

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Innovations in Mental Health Systems

Integrating innovative digital mental health interventions within specialist services is a promising strategy to address the shortcomings of both face-to-face and web-based mental health services. However, despite young people’s preferences and calls for integration of these services, current mental health services rarely offer blended models of care.

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Theory and Frameworks in Mental Health

Recommender systems help narrow down a large range of items to a smaller, personalized set. NarraGive is a first-in-field hybrid recommender system for mental health recovery narratives, recommending narratives based on their content and narrator characteristics (using content-based filtering) and on narratives beneficially impacting other similar users (using collaborative filtering). NarraGive is integrated into the Narrative Experiences Online (NEON) intervention, a web application providing access to the NEON Collection of recovery narratives.

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Reviews in Digital Mental Health

Adolescents can be especially vulnerable to various stressors as they are still in their formative years and transitioning into adulthood. Hence, it is important for them to have effective stress management strategies.

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Diagnostic Tools in Mental Health

Individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) experience increased rates of emotional and behavioral crises that necessitate assessment and intervention. Psychiatric disorders can contribute to crises; however, screening measures developed for the general population are inadequate for those with DD. Medical conditions can exacerbate crises and merit evaluation. Screening tools using checklist formats, even when designed for DD, are too limited in depth and scope for crisis assessments. The Sources of Distress survey implements a web-based branching logic format to screen for common psychiatric and medical conditions experienced by individuals with DD by querying caregiver knowledge and observations.

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Depression and Mood Disorders; Suicide Prevention

Suicide safety planning is an evidence-based approach used to help individuals identify strategies to keep themselves safe during a mental health crisis. This study systematically reviewed the literature focused on mobile health (mHealth) suicide safety planning apps.

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Mobile Health in Psychiatry

In West Africa, healers greatly outnumber trained mental health professionals. People with serious mental illness (SMI) are often seen by healers in “prayer camps” where they may also experience human rights abuses. We developed M&M, an 8-week long dual-pronged intervention involving a) a smartphone-delivered toolkit designed to expose healers to brief psychosocial interventions and to encourage them to preserve human rights (M-Healer app), and b) a visiting nurse who provides medications to their patients (Mobile Nurse).

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Viewpoints and Opinions on Mental Health

Australian providers of mental health services and support for young people include private and public allied health providers, government initiatives (e.g., headspace), non-government organisations (e.g., Kids Helpline), GPs, and the hospital system. Over 20 years of research has established that many young people prefer to seek mental health support online, however clear client pathways within and between online and offline mental health services are currently lacking. The authors propose a Digital Mental Health Practice model of care for youth to assist with digital mental health service mapping. The proposed model offers accessible pathways for a client to engage with digital mental health services, provides clear navigation to access support for individual needs, and facilitates a seamless connection with offline mental health services using a transferrable electronic health records system. This future-looking model also includes emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and the metaverse, that must be accounted for as potential tools to be leveraged for digital therapies and support systems. The urgent need for a user-centered Digital Mental Health Practice model of care for youth in Australia is discussed, highlighting the shortcomings of traditional and existing online triage models evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the complex challenges that must be overcome such as the integration of diverse mental health care providers and establishment of a robust electronic health records system. Potential benefits of such a model include reduced pressure on emergency rooms, improved identification of immediate needs, enhanced referral practices, and the establishment of a cost-efficient national digital mental health care model with global applicability. The authors conclude by stressing the consequences of inaction, warning that delays may lead to more complex challenges as new technologies emerge and exacerbate the long-term negative consequences of poor mental health management on the economic and biopsychosocial well-being of young Australians.

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