Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 41  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 428-433

Mobile phones as a medium of mental health care service delivery: Perspectives and barriers among patients with severe mental illness


1 3rd year MBBS Student, Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Dhanvantri Nagar, Puducherry, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Dhanvantri Nagar, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Vikas Menon
Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Dhanvantri Nagar, Puducherry - 605 006
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_333_18

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Background: The use of mobile phone technology to support various components of health care delivery (often referred to as mHealth) is on the rise. Little systematic information, however, is available on user felt needs and barriers to mHealth approaches among people with severe mental illness (SMI). Our objectives were to elicit user needs, preferences, and barriers to using mobile phones for health care service delivery among people with SMI. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 75 subjects with SMI between August 2017 and October 2017. All patients had a minimum illness duration of two years or more and a Global Assessment of Functioning score of less than 70. Information on user perspectives was elicited using a 10-item structured questionnaire, to assess mobile phone usage patterns, felt needs, barriers, and preferences, developed for use in patients with SMI. Results: Majority of the patients reported using mobile phones and were favorably disposed to mHealth approaches. Voice calls (n = 47, 62.7%) were the most preferred mode of service delivery. The most preferred service frequency was twice-weekly (n = 31, 41.3%), followed by once-weekly (n = 22, 29.3%). Majority (n = 47, 62.7%) reported no barriers to mobile phone usage, whereas 14 (18.6%) perceived a lack of necessity of mobile phones as a service delivery medium. Reminders about medication and appointments through mobile phones (n = 35, 46.6%) were the most felt needs, followed by crisis helplines (n = 27, 36.0%) and information about mental health services (n = 22, 29.3%). Conclusion: These findings support the use of mHealth approaches in resource-constrained settings and provide specific inputs to refine the modalities of mHealth service delivery.


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