Exploring the acceptability of a digital mental health platform incorporating a virtual coach: The good, the bad, and the opportunities

Anthony Venning, Madeleine Ce Herd, Tassia K. Oswald, Sabran Razmi, Fiona Glover, Tim Hawke, Victoria Quartermain, Paula Redpath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Digital Mental Health Platforms offer feasible options to increase access to mental health support. This study aimed to examine the acceptability of a Low Intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Digital Mental Health Platform, containing a Virtual Coach, with University Students (n = 16) and Mental Health Professionals (n = 5). Semi-structured interviews, exploratory focus groups, and inductive thematic analysis were conducted. Four overarching themes were identified, with potential users and professionals highlighting positive aspects, elements to be improved, and ambivalent feelings towards the platform overall. However, participants predominately expressed negative experiences indicating that the Virtual Coach was unrelatable and hard to engage with. While Virtual Coaches and similar Digital Mental Health Platforms have the potential to overcome barriers for those attempting to access mental health services, their effectiveness may be limited if the people who need them are not drawn to and then consistently engaged with them. Based on the feedback attained for this specific Digital Mental Health Platform, recommendations are provided for future developers aiming to create similar platforms, to assist in their uptake and ensure ongoing user engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalHealth informatics journal
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • apps
  • Digital Mental health
  • LICBT
  • technology
  • young people

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