Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is one of the most common mental health issues being addressed within primary care settings. Mobile apps, which can be used to help people manage their depressive symptoms, are rapidly developing. However, many challenges exist for clinicians and providers to simply select an appropriate app for use within target populations. The objectives of this article are as follows: (1) to describe the search processes that were used to identify depression-related mobile apps and (2) to describe the review process that was implemented to inform and evaluate the identified depression-related mobile health apps for use with our target population. A research team consisting of information technology researchers, primary and psychiatric care providers, and health care researchers completed two mobile app searches to identify depression-related apps which could be used for further exploration within an underserved integrated primary care setting. Sixteen mobile apps were narrowed down to 4 mobile apps, through a series of steps involving screening, collaboration of the interprofessional team, information technology expertise input, and mobile app evaluation tools. This article described the steps a research team used to search, screen, and assess mental health mobile apps for integrated primary care patients with depression. This step-by-step guide focused on depression-related apps; however, similar steps and principles identified in this guide can be applied to other health apps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-53
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Technology in Behavioral Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Depression
  • Information technology
  • Mental health
  • Mobile applications
  • Primary health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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