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A study suggests that young people want reliable mental health apps.

According to a study, young people might not be getting the necessary mental health support because they don’t trust the smartphone apps that provide it. Young people are less likely to use apps or online resources for managing mental health because of concerns about their efficacy, according to experts. Young people may be more inclined to use a digital mental health resource to help manage issues like stress, anxiety, and low mood if concerns about trust and usefulness can be addressed, according to researchers.

According to experts, one in five people between the ages of 17 and 24 experience mental health issues. Because they are practical, available, and frequently free to use, digital mental health interventions are being promoted as a solution. There are apps for mindfulness and meditation, screening (which uses an online questionnaire to assess your mood), and treatment (which offers online therapy) services. Many people can manage their mental health thanks to the availability of online tutorials and courses. Young people, however, do not generally adopt these tools. The University of Edinburgh study was the first to assess the drivers behind why people use these resources.

To gauge the attitudes of young people toward technology, the factors they consider before using it, and their prior engagement, researchers polled 248 young people between the ages of 17 and 25. Participants’ attitudes toward the concept of online interventions for mental health were discovered to be largely neutral. Researchers discovered a small to moderate positive association with higher intentions to use a resource if they believed the technology to be reliable and helpful.

It was discovered that young people’s intentions to use a resource were not significantly influenced by perceived ease of use or mental health need. Based on the group’s experiences and perceptions, researchers found only moderate levels of acceptance for mental health technologies, which they say may be a barrier to young people using the services. The findings are intended to inform technology development in order to maximize the potential of digital tools to address the issues with youth mental health. “Digital interventions only offer young people a workable solution if they are trusted and valued by those who need them. According to Dr. Vilas Sawrikar of the School of Health in Social Science, these findings suggest that efforts should be directed toward creating reputable digital health interventions that are supported by data on their value and efficacy.

The study has been published in Health Policy and Technology. Technology support for the U.S. is provided by experts from Jisc, a nonprofit organization. K. The study was aided by further and higher education as well as research.


Source: Vilas Sawrikar et al, Technology acceptance and trust: Overlooked considerations in young people’s use of digital mental health interventions, Health Policy and Technology (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.hlpt.2022.100686

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