Mental health apps plentiful, but few provide clinical research

There are scores of mental health related digital tools available on any of the major app stores. However, a recent study published in Nature Digital Medicine found that a majority of the apps studied do not provide evidence or peer-reviewed studies to back up their products.  “Scientific language was the most frequently invoked form of support for use of mental health apps; however, high-quality evidence is not commonly described,” the study's researchers wrote. “Improved knowledge translation strategies may improve the adoption of other strategies, such as certification or lived experience co-design.” Researchers found that 64 percent of the apps they coded claimed effectiveness at diagnosing a mental health condition, or improving symptoms, mood or self-management.  Many used scientific language (44 percent) and supporting statements (64 percent) to make their claims. However, only 14 percent described a design or development involving lived experience, and none referenced certification or accreditation processes.

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