Landscape of Digital Mental Health Interventions for Youth Aged 12-25

Courtney Potts, Carmen Kealy, Maurice Mulvenna, Siobhan O'Neill, Gary Donohoe, Jamie McNulty, Alba Madrid-Cagigal, Margaret Barry

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

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Young people’s mental health is a growing global public concern. Digital mental health interventions offer a cost-effective and accessible solution to complement traditional care, reaching those facing difficulties accessing in-person support. These interventions show promise in enhancing mental health outcomes and can be a valuable component to a comprehensive strategy for young people's well-being.

A scoping review was conducted to explore the range of digital solutions to support young people’s mental health. The review included studies that focus on mental wellbeing, mental health, and mental illness, including all types of digital interventions. All types of studies, published from 2017 onwards with a population of young people between ages of 12-25 and validated pre and post mental health or wellbeing primary outcome measure, were included. The search was conducted in 6 databases, initially returning 8,227 records. After screening, 146 studies were included in the final review.

Half of the studies recruited participants from the general population who weren’t experiencing mental ill health (n=72, 49%), around a third recruited participants experiencing mental ill health symptoms (n=44, 30%), and 14% (n=21) studies included participants with a mental health diagnosis. Most studies utilised a digital only approach, where the entire intervention was delivered though a digital tool (n=80, 55%) while 45% used a blended approach, where participants used a digital intervention with some degree of human support. However, these figures differed depending on the study population (Figure 1). The most common type of digital tool used was websites (n=79, 54%), followed by apps (n=50, 34%), apps or websites with another tool such as wearables or telehealth (n=7, 5%), chatbots (n=6, 4%), virtual reality (n=2, 1%), text messaging (n=1, <1%) and emails (n=1, <1%). Studies predominately recruited females making up an overage of 70% population, while males accounted for 30% on average. Only 31 out of 146 studies included participants of other genders. Retention rates ranged from 2-100%, with an average of 66% of participants completing the studies.

This review highlights the range of digital approaches used with young people, but also the lack of diversity in youth digital mental health study populations. Future work should seek to include more representative populations and overcome barriers to engagement with digital mental health supports.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 18 Apr 2024
EventSociety for Research on Adolescence - Chicago, United States
Duration: 18 Apr 202420 Apr 2024


ConferenceSociety for Research on Adolescence
Abbreviated titleSRA-2024
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • digital mental health
  • young people
  • digital mental health interventions


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