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PS Author Spotlight: mHealth vs. Clinic-Based Group Intervention for Mental Illness Treatment

March 4, 2020

FOCUS is a mobile health intervention
specifically designed for people with serious mental illness.
The main FOCUS intervention areas are medication use; coping with auditory
hallucinations or voices; managing mood problems, including depression and
anxiety; sleep difficulties; and enhancing social functioning, which includes social
skills training and cognitive strategies designed to help users evaluate and
challenge paranoid beliefs. Once installed and activated onto a
smartphone, the focused system offers resources, including written suggestions
and tips, audio tools, and embedded videos of trained clinicians and actors who
demonstrate self-management skills. “Voices make mistakes all the time. Try
this experiment to test your voices. Ask them to make a prediction about the
color of the next three cars that you see in the street. Write down the colors
and the order that the voice is saying. Now test it. Are the next three cars
exactly in the same order of colors that they mentioned? If they got it wrong,
think about it. What else could the voices be getting wrong? Their predictions
are not always right.” The FOCUS app can be programmed to
prompt individuals multiple times a day to engage in self-assessment
and receive targeted interventions. In addition, all content and resources are
available to the user on-demand, 24/7, and can be accessed as much as needed.

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