Improving mental health smartphone apps for young people

News - 01 August 2023 - Webredactie

How can the many mental health smartphone apps for young people be improved? This is what the team of Healthy Start Sprint Project ‘Just-in-Time Adaptive Mechanisms’, lead by Caroline Figueroa, will be working on.

Mental health smartphone apps are increasingly being developed to help young individuals manage their well-being and combat high rates of anxiety and depression in youth. Many of these apps, however, have serious limitations. They suffer from low adherence and high dropout because they use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and few evidence-based techniques. They are plagued with privacy issues, resulting in a reluctance for young people to use them. 

To overcome these challenges, a group of experts from TU Delft, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Municipality of Rotterdam, Erasmus MC, and Jong Jeugdgezondheidszorg (Youth Healthcare) have joined forces in the Healthy Start Sprinter project “Just-In-Time-Adaptive Mechanisms”. Caroline Figueroa, assistant professor at TPM, will be leading the team.

The project aims to develop a data-driven and privacy-preserving “Just-In-Time-Adaptive” smartphone intervention. This innovative digital tool will adapt to the rapidly changing vulnerabilities and opportunities for positive behaviour in young people.

 By involving young people themselves, health professionals, youth health organizations, municipalities, and academic experts, they aim to create an impactful solution that can make a real difference in the lives of young people. 

“Our aim is to transform current digital tools for youth into evidence-based, safe, personalized strategies that empower them to improve their mental well-being.”

For updates on this project go to the Healthy Start website.

Caroline Figueroa

Assistant Professor in Digital Health