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September 26, 2017

Smartphone apps could improve depression symptoms, researchers say

Those struggling with depression could find some added help on their smartphone, a new study suggests.

Researchers based in Great Britain, Australia and the U.S. said apps that focus on improving mental health can significantly reduce depression symptoms.

More than 3,400 participants between the ages of 18 and 59 took part in numerous trials involving 22 mental health apps, researchers said. Those who took part in the study suffered from mental health issues like mild to major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and insomnia.

The study, published last week in World Psychiatry, is the first of its kind, researchers said. But they did not find evidence that using apps alone can prove more beneficial than standard psychological therapies or prescription treatments, according to a press release.

The study did find that apps that solely focus on improving mental health were more effective than cognitive training apps.

"Overall, these results indicate that smartphone devices are a promising self-management tool for depression," researchers wrote. "Future research should aim to [find] which aspects of these technologies produce beneficial effects, and for which populations."

Depression affects more than 300 million people across the globe, researchers said.

The study can be found here.

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