Mental health monitoring apps for depression and anxiety in children and young people: A scoping review and critical ecological analysis.

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Date: Mar. 2022
From: Social Science & Medicine(Vol. 297)
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 362 words

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Abstract :

Keywords Adolescent mental health; Mobile apps; mHealth; Emotional governance; Self-monitoring; Digital ecologies; Bioethics; Posthumanism Highlights * Scoping review of apps for anxiety and depression for children and young people. * Provides typology and critical ecological analysis of mental health monitoring apps. * Effectiveness of mental health monitoring apps is uncertain. * Apps are not discrete 'tools', need to look at the contexts of their usage. * Monitoring apps reshape responsibilities for managing and treating distress. Abstract There is considerable concern about increasing rates of anxiety and depression among children and young people (CYP). Mental health technologies, such as smartphone applications, are proposed as a potential solution. However, the effectiveness of mental health mobile applications for managing, moderating and treating anxiety and depression in CYP is uncertain. The purpose of this scoping review is to outline the extent of the clinical evidence base of mental health apps with monitoring functions for depression and anxiety in CYP, to categorise the range of monitoring features, to understand their various purposes, and to analyse these 'technical mechanisms' in apps from the perspective of critical ecological analysis. It provides a novel conceptual framework for researching how CYP may use and critically engage with mental health apps. We searched Ovid MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Scopus databases, and 39 studies met the inclusion criteria. The analysis focuses attention on the ecological (mental, social and environmental) dimensions of life, health and emotional experience and the purposes of mental health monitoring apps. We evaluate the way that technical mechanisms, such as metrics are used in apps, examine their effects on responsibility for managing and treating distress and consider the rationalities that guide their development. The paper concludes that examination of the bioethics and neuroethics of these technologies is necessary and urgent. This requires paying closer attention to the social practices of technology-enabled self-monitoring, and the ways in which these frame mental health as a form of individualised emotional regulation. Author Affiliation: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 7 May 2021; Revised 7 January 2022; Accepted 7 February 2022 Byline: Jessy E. Williams [JXS270@student.bham.ac.uk] (*), Jessica Pykett [J.Pykett@bham.ac.uk]

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A696649687