May 2017Research at the Lady Davis Institute

Apps have potential for a role in mental health care, conference told

Potential exists for mobile apps to play a greater role in mental health care, such as the app that helps to assess the causes of stress in a patient’s day-to-day activities, a JGH psychiatrist told his audience at the 12th Annual Psychiatry Research Day.

Dr. David Dunkley, of the JGH’s Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry (ICFP), says that “new technology brings the promise of making services more accessible to patients.”

This could prove especially beneficial to individuals who are reluctant to seek help, he said, noting that only about half of Canadians with mental health problems currently take advantage of the services that are available to them.

Dr. Dunkley, coordinator of the March 10 event at the ICFP, expects the latest technology to have the potential of “empowering patients to play a more active role in their own care—in partnership with healthcare professionals—and enhancing personalized care through assessments of a patient’s daily life experiences.”

Professionals at the Psychiatry Research Day—which was funded by the Gustav Levinschi Foundation—also heard from Dr. Marc Miresco, a JGH psychiatrist who, along with medical student Ashley Tritt, showcased a new app that helps patients participate more actively in their treatment; and Dr. Phyllis Zelkowitz, Director of Research in the JGH Department of Psychiatry, who discussed the types of information that patients search for online.

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