Use of Digital Mental Health for Marginalized and Underserved Populations
Purpose of review
Digital mental health (DMH) interventions provide opportunities to alleviate mental health disparities among marginalized populations by overcoming traditional barriers to care and putting quality mental health services in the palm of one’s hand. While progress has been made towards realizing this goal, the potential for impactful change has yet to be realized. This paper reviews current examples of DMH interventions for certain marginalized and underserved groups, namely, ethnic and racial minorities including Latinx and African-Americans, rural populations, individuals experiencing homelessness, and sexual and gender minorities.
Strengths and opportunities, along with the needs and considerations, of each group are discussed as they pertain to the development and dissemination of DMH interventions. Our review focuses on several DMH interventions that have been specifically designed for marginalized populations with a culturally sensitive approach along with other existing interventions that have been tailored to fit the needs of the target population. Overall, evidence is beginning to show promise for the feasibility and acceptability of DMH inter ventions for these groups, but large-scale efficacy testing and scaling potential are still lacking.
These examples of how DMH can potentially positively impact marginalized populations should motivate developers, researchers, and practitioners to work collaboratively with stakeholders to deliver DMH interventions to these underserved populations in need.
KeywordsTechnology Mental health Disparities mHealth Treatment Health information technology
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Stephen M. Schueller declares that he has no conflict of interest. John F. Hunter declares that he has no conflict of interest. Caroline Figueroa declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Adrian Aguilera reports personal fees from Care Message.
Human and animal rights and informed consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
References and Recommended Reading
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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