C06 - Using Mental Health Apps in Clinical Practice: A Practical Primer

C06 – Using Mental Health Apps in Clinical Practice: A Practical Primer

Thursday, Oct. 27
14:30 – 16:30 (2 hrs)
Meeting Room: Sheraton Hall C (Lower Concourse)
Sagar Parikh*, MD; Wegdan Abdelmoemin, MD

CanMEDS Roles:

  1. Communicator
  2. Health Advocate
  3. Medical Expert

At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Learn how to evaluate and pick effective mental health apps; 2) Explore several top apps for mood and anxiety problems; and 3) Practice using these apps and web tools.

Depression and anxiety are well-resourced disorders, with websites and apps providing assessment and treatment. However, unlike medications, websites and apps are not regulated, so the clinician has three challenges: (1) knowing how to evaluate e-health tools, (2) knowing which tools have some efficacy, and (3) knowing how to apply such tools in routine clinical practice. This workshop, conducted by physician experts in e-health, continuing medical education, and implementation/dissemination, allows clinicians to overcome all three challenges. First, an overview of key websites and apps for mood disorders is provided. Next, the evaluation framework for apps as recently published by the American Psychiatric Association is reviewed. Finally, highly rated websites and apps are reviewed, with an overview of evidence and, more importantly, a demonstration of the actual application of the website or app during a simulated patient encounter. Through live demonstration and the additional use of videos created on how an app opens and functions on a phone, individuals get exposure to the practical use of the website and app. We review the MoodFx app as well the Michigan Depression Toolkit. For monitoring, psychoeducation, and self-management strategies, we review the Michigan Depression Toolkit in detail. For cognitive-behavioural therapy as applied to depression and anxiety, we demonstrate the use of Moodgym. For stress, depression, and anxiety relief employing mindfulness and related strategies, we employ the Headspace app. We also provide practical strategies about matching these tools to patients and how to integrate them into standard pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy.


  1. Bidargaddi N, Schrader G, Klasnja P, et al. Designing m-Health interventions for precision mental health support. Transl Psychiatry 2020;10(1):1–8.
  2. Porras-Segovia A, Díaz-Oliván I, Gutiérrez-Rojas L, et al. Apps for depression: are they ready to work? Curr Psychiatry Rep 2020;22(3):1–9.