Apps for Depression: Are They Ready to Work?


Purpose of Review

To summarize the latest evidence about mobile phone applications for the management of depression.

Recent Findings

Depression apps are very heterogeneous, given the absence of standards for their development, description, and evaluation. Randomized clinical trials show the effectiveness of some of these applications in reducing depressive symptoms. Attrition is an important issue whose evaluation is limited by the frequent use of incentives in the studies.


The number of mobile applications for depression far exceeds the number of studies evaluating their efficacy and feasibility. Despite the limitations of the digital market, there are a small number of apps that have demonstrated sufficient effectiveness and tolerability to think of short-term clinical use. However, there are still barriers at different levels that may delay the implementation of these interventions in daily clinical practice.

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Fig. 1


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The editors would like to thank Dr. Pilar A. Sáiz for taking the time to review this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Alejandro Porras-Segovia.

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Alejandro Porras-Segovia, Isaac Díaz-Oliván, Luis Gutiérrez-Rojas, Henry Dunne, Manon Moreno, and Enrique Baca-García each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

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Porras-Segovia, A., Díaz-Oliván, I., Gutiérrez-Rojas, L. et al. Apps for Depression: Are They Ready to Work?. Curr Psychiatry Rep 22, 11 (2020).

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  • Depression
  • m-health
  • e-health