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Smartphones Do You use a Mental Health App?






  Smartphones! – We are      having a conversation      with each other using                Whatsapp!

Smartphones Future Developments

Review and Evidence-Based Recommendations 


David Bakker, B Psych (Hons),1 Nikolaos Kazantzis, PhD,1,2 Debra Rickwood, BA (Hons), PhD,3 and Nikki Rickard, BBSc(Hons), PhD(Psych)41School of Psychology and Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Australia

2Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Research Unit, School of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Australia

3Psychology Department,

Faculty of Health,

University of Canberra,



4Centre for Positive Psychology,

Melbourne Graduate School of Education,

University of Melbourne,



David Bakker, School of Psychology and Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences,Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, 18 Innovation Walk, Wellington Road, Clayton, 3800, Australia, Phone: 61 3 9905 4301, Fax: 61 3 9905 4302, Emauil: .

Author information ► Article notes ► Copyright and License information ▼

Copyright ©David Bakker, Nikolaos Kazantzis, Debra Rickwood, Nikki Rickard.

Originally published in JMIR Mental Health (, 01.03.2016.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Mental Health, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.



Background mental health apps (MHapps) for smartphones developed


The number of mental health apps (MHapps) developed and now available to smartphone users has increased in recent years. MHapps and other technology-based solutions have the potential to play an important part in the future of mental health care; however, there is no single guide for the development of evidence-based MHapps. Many currently available MHapps lack features that would greatly improve their functionality, or include features that are not optimized. Furthermore, MHapp developers rarely conduct or publish trial-based experimental validation of their apps. Indeed, a previous systematic review revealed a complete lack of trial-based evidence for many of the hundreds of MHapps available.


To guide future MHapp smartphones development, a set of clear, practical, evidence-based recommendations is presented for MHapp developers to create better, more rigorous apps.


A literature review was conducted, scrutinizing research across diverse fields, including mental health interventions, preventative health, mobile health, and mobile app design.


Sixteen recommendations were formulated. Evidence for each recommendation is discussed, and guidance on how these recommendations might be integrated into the overall design of an MHapp is offered. Each recommendation is rated on the basis of the strength of associated evidence. It is important to design an MHapp using a behavioral plan and interactive framework that encourages the user to engage with the app; thus, it may not be possible to incorporate all 16 recommendations into a single MHapp.


Randomized controlled trials are required to validate future smartphones MHapps and the principles upon which they are designed, and to further investigate the recommendations presented in this review. Effective MHapps are required to help prevent mental health problems and to ease the burden on health systems.

To read the full paper please click on Smartphones 



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