App used in conjunction with therapy linked to reduction in depression, anxiety


March 21, 2022

1 min read


McDonold S, The role of the digital navigator in hybrid digital mental health care settings. Presented at: Anxiety and Depression Association of America annual conference; March 17-19; Denver, Colorado.

McDonold reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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DENVER – Adults who used a digital mental health aid app within a hybrid treatment setting experienced a decrease in depression and anxiety, an expert reported at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America annual conference.

“Once a patient is set up on the app, therapists can start collecting data about things like exercising, sleep information and mood,” Siobhan McDonold, LCSW, MSW, of the division of digital psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said during her presentation.

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McDonold reported findings from a pilot study, which included 37 participants who were provided with the mindLAMP app. The app was designed to improve interactions between patients and therapists, as well as allow patients to access various mental health resources, including customized surveys, activity logs and communication tools to track treatment progress.


Once granted access to the full range of the app, patients were able to receive personalized recommendations based on the information provided. The app also suggests certain activities patients can work through, which specifically addresses aspects of their cognitive behavioral therapy, so prior to their in-person sessions, the app could answer any questions they may have.


Then, when meeting in-person, all necessary data is available to facilitate the work during a therapeutic session, with an added benefit of the patient feeling involved in the process.


McDonold said she and colleagues observed a significant relationship between app engagement and subsequent decrease in depression over the course of the study. However, the relationship was not as strong between app engagement and decrease in anxiety, although there was measurable reduction. 


“They can use the app in between sessions, so it’s a way to keep practicing or to do the activities I’ve designed, in a real-world setting,” McDonold said. “Then, in our sessions, they go back, and we do those entries together.”



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