Novel technology as platform for interventions for caregivers and individuals with severe mental health illnesses: A systematic review

Thomas D. Meyer, Rebecca Casarez, Satyajit S. Mohite, Nikki La Rosa, M. Sriram Iyengar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background Severe mental illnesses (SMIs) have been found to be associated with both increases in morbidity-mortality, need for treatment care in patients themselves, and burden for relatives as caregivers. A growing number of web-based and mobile software applications have appeared that aim to address various barriers with respect to access to care. Our objective was to review and summarize recent advancements in such interventions for caregivers of individuals with a SMI. Methods We conducted a systematic search for papers evaluating interactive mobile or web-based software (using no or only minimal support from a professional) specifically aimed at supporting informal caregivers. We also searched for those supporting patients with SMI so as to not to miss any which might include relatives. Results Out of a total of 1673 initial hits, we identified 11 articles reporting on 9 different mobile or web-based software programs. The main result is that none of those studies focused on caregivers, and the ones we identified using mobile or web-based applications were just for patients and not their relatives. Limitations Differentiating between online and offline available software might not always have been totally reliable, and we might have therefore missed some studies. Conclusions In summary, the studies provided evidence that remotely accessible interventions for patients with SMI are feasible and acceptable to patients. No such empirically evaluated program was available for informal caregivers such as relatives. Keeping in mind the influential role of those informal caregivers in the process of treatment and self-management, this is highly relevant for public health. Supporting informal caregivers can improve well-being of both caregivers and patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Jan 15 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Apps
  • Caregivers
  • Mood disorders
  • Online
  • Serious mental illness
  • Support
  • Web-based interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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