Using technology to deliver interventions for mental health problems

Natalie Berry, PhD student


How can we use technology to deliver interventions for people who experience serious mental health problems?

Project Overview

  • This research project forms part of a Psychology PhD investigating the role of technology can play in the provision of interventions for people who experience serious mental health problems (SMI e.g. psychosis, bipolar disorder).
  • Psychological interventions are recommended in the treatment of individuals with SMI; however, access to these interventions is poor. To combat access problems, researchers have been developing interventions delivered online and via mobile phones.
  • While preliminary studies suggest that these novel modalities could be feasible, acceptable, and efficacious, little is known about how service users currently use technology for their mental health and service user and clinician attitudes towards the development and delivery of interventions utilising various technological platforms. It is, therefore, important to take a step back from the literature to examine how current technology usage could inform the design of future interventions and whether both service users and clinicians find the approach acceptable.

Start: October 2014

End: September 2017

Funded by: Medical Research Council HeRC Doctoral Training Scheme

Disease Area

Serious mental health problems

Data Source

  • Data collected from Twitter utilising a mental health hashtag
  • Qualitative interviews and focus groups with service users and clinicians
  • Experience sampling methodology (ESM) to examine the dynamic interplay between social media use and psychological processes/symptomology


  • Phase 1: systematic review, exploring current evidence relating to the acceptability of online and mobile phone-delivered interventions for SMI
  • Phase 2: Study hashtag circulated on Twitter to investigate why people tweet about mental health
  • Phase 3: Focus groups and interviews will be conducted with clinicians and service users
  • Phase 4: Experience sampling methodology will be applied to investigate relationship between social media usage and symptoms associated with SMI

Benefits and Outcomes

It is hoped that the findings from this research could be used by researchers to develop and deliver service user and clinician-informed interventions via technology for people experiencing SMI.

Utilising service user and clinician views prior to development should increase the acceptability of interventions delivered via this modality, which may directly impact the efficacy of such interventions.

This research project aims to identify how and why people experiencing SMI use technology for their mental health, whether service users and clinicians find the idea of technology-delivered interventions acceptable, and whether social media usage could have a beneficial or detrimental impact on symptoms associated with SMI


Acceptability of interventions delivered online and through mobile phones for people who experience severe mental health problems: A systematic review. J Med Internet Res, 18(5): e121. doi: 10.2196/jmir.5250

Berry N., Lobban F., Emlsey R., Bucci S. (2016).

Link to paper:

Researchers Involved

Dr Sandra Bucci

Prof. Fiona Lobban

Dr Richard Emsley