JMIR Mental Health

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

Editor-in-Chief:

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


Impact Factor 3.54

Recent Articles

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JMH Theme Issue 2020: COVID-19 and Mental Health: Impact and Interventions

A growing body of evidence is suggesting a significant association between the COVID-19 pandemic and population-level mental health. Study findings suggest that individuals with a lifetime history of disordered eating behavior may be negatively affected by COVID-19–related anxiety, and prevention measures may disrupt daily functioning and limit access to treatment. However, data describing the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on disordered eating behaviors are limited, and most findings focus on individuals in treatment settings.

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Mobile Health in Psychiatry

Mobile health technology has demonstrated the ability of smartphone apps and sensors to collect data pertaining to patient activity, behavior, and cognition. It also offers the opportunity to understand how everyday passive mobile metrics such as battery life and screen time relate to mental health outcomes through continuous sensing. Impulsivity is an underlying factor in numerous physical and mental health problems. However, few studies have been designed to help us understand how mobile sensors and self-report data can improve our understanding of impulsive behavior.

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Viewpoints and Opinions on Mental Health

The behavioral health toll of the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism has directed increased attention to the potential of digital health as a way of improving access to and quality of behavioral health care. However, as the pandemic continues to widen health disparities in racially and ethnically minoritized groups, concerns arise around an increased reliance on digital health technologies exacerbating the digital divide and reinforcing rather than mitigating systemic health inequities in communities of color. As funding for digital mental health continues to surge, we offer five key recommendations on how the field can “REACT” to ensure the development of approaches that increase health equity by increasing real-world evidence, educating consumers and providers, utilizing adaptive interventions to optimize care, creating for diverse populations, and building trust. Recommendations highlight the need to take a strengths-based view when designing for racially and ethnically diverse populations and embracing the potential of digital approaches to address complex challenges.

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Mobile Health in Psychiatry

There are several barriers that may hamper adolescent mothers’ utilization of available health interventions for perinatal depression. Innovative treatment approaches are needed to increase adolescent mothers’ access to mental health care for improved maternal and child health outcomes. Mobile phones have the potential to serve as important conduits to mental health care in Africa. However, mobile phone use patterns and needs among young mothers in Nigeria are not well documented.

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Telepsychiatry

We conducted a trial to test the electronic Illness Management and Recovery (e-IMR) intervention to provide conclusions on the potential efficacy of eHealth for people with severe mental illness (SMI). In the e-IMR intervention, we used the standard IMR program content and methodology and combined face-to-face sessions with internet-based strategies on the constructed e-IMR internet platform. During the trial, the e-IMR platform was sparsely used.

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Mobile Health in Psychiatry

New technologies are changing access to medical records and the relationship between physicians and patients. Professionals can now use e-mental health tools to provide prompt and personalized responses to patients with mental illness. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the digital phenotypes of patients who use e-mental health apps.

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JMH Theme Issue 2020: COVID-19 and Mental Health: Impact and Interventions

The outbreak of COVID-19 has dominated headlines worldwide. The number of infections has continued to rise and had reached 30,000 worldwide at the time this paper was written. Because of the high risk of nosocomial transmission, medical health care workers may be experiencing substantial psychological stress. This descriptive study aimed to identify psychosocial effects on hospital staff associated with working in a hospital environment during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

This study proposes a digital program for the treatment of mental illness that could increase motivation and improve learning outcomes for patients. Several studies have already applied this method by using an exposure and response prevention–inspired serious game to treat patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Depression and Mood Disorders; Suicide Prevention

Stigma, fear, and lack of knowledge regarding treatment options or where to get help create delays for Latina women in accessing needed mental health help. Story-based media interventions hold appeal for Latina women. Thus, we drew upon the Social Cognitive Theory by Bandura to create an evidence-based, transmedia storytelling web-based app for mental health called Catalina: Confronting My Emotions to connect Latina women to a curated set of mental health resources. Understanding how Latina women perceive various aspects of the web-based app will help design future expansions.

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Depression and Mood Disorders; Suicide Prevention

Smartphone-based symptom monitoring has gained increased attention in psychiatric research as a cost-efficient tool for prospective and ecologically valid assessments based on participants’ self-reports. However, a meaningful interpretation of smartphone-based assessments requires knowledge about their psychometric properties, especially their validity.

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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

University students are experiencing higher levels of distress and mental health disorders than before. In addressing mental health needs, web-based interventions have shown increasing promise in overcoming geographic distances and high student-to-counselor ratios, leading to the potential for wider implementation. The Mindfulness Virtual Community (MVC) program, a web-based program, guided by mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy principles, is among efforts aimed at effectively and efficiently reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress in students.

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