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Working paper

Digital approaches to adolescent mental health: a review of the literature

Digital communications Youth services Digital health Mental health Youth

Young people are more engaged with digital technologies than ever before, and health interventions increasingly build on these new technological opportunities. This literature review investigates digital approaches to addressing adolescent mental health and psychosocial-related challenges with a focus on low- and middle-income countries.

Key points:

  • An increasing number of studies show that digital approaches have the potential to address the mental health and wellbeing difficulties of young people – for example, reducing depression and anxiety or helping to detect emerging mental disorders among adolescents.
  • However, most studies on digital approaches and mental health centre on the Global North, and there are gaps in knowledge about how technology can be used to support adolescents in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
  •  It is important that a range of actors are included when designing, implementing and evaluating digital approaches to young people’s mental health, and that inequalities of access (mediated by factors such as gender, age, socioeconomic background and location) are addressed.
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ODI Working Paper 592