E-health: an overview of the uses of the Internet, Social Media, Apps, and Websites for Mood Disorders
Sagar V. Parikh and Paulina Huniewicz
In an era dominated by the rise of Internet, smart phones, and social media, it is only natural that healthcare has been engulfed by technological approaches, often termed E-health (usually defined as Internet-related healthcare delivery). In psychiatry, E-health provides technology-based interventions that facilitate public education about mental health, screening for disorders, provision of selfhelp strategies and machine-delivered psychotherapy, specific disorder information, and stigma reduction. Although health professionals can often find and evaluate specific Internet-based resources, such as helpful websites, the sheer profusion of technologies, tools, and approaches is overwhelming. This overview provides an orientation to E-health for mood disorders, specifically by identifying and defining each type of E-health strategy and providing illustrative examples. Finally, this review identifies key aspects of the limited evidence base for E-health in mood, with a focus on validated online psychotherapies, and resources including social media and videogames. E-health approaches based on smart phones, primarily through the use of ‘apps’, are excluded from detailed review, both for space considerations and because there is virtually no evidence base for the effectiveness of any apps for mood.