AIM: Recently, the availability and usefulness of mobile self-help mental health applications have increased, but few applications deal with COVID-19-related psychological problems . This study explored the intervention efficacy of a mobile application on addressing psychological problems related to COVID-19 .
METHODS: A longitudinal control trial involving 129 Chinese participants with depression symptoms was conducted through the mobile application``Care for Your Mental Health and Sleep during COVID-19"( CMSC) based on WeChat . Participants were divided into two groups: mobile internet cognitive behavioral therapy (MiCBT) and wait-list . The primary outcome was improvement in depression symptoms . Secondary outcomes included improvement in anxiety and insomnia . The MiCBT group received three self-help CBT intervention sessions in one week via CMSC .
RESULTS: The MiCBT group showed significant improvement in depression and insomnia (allP <0.05) compared with the wait-list group . Although both groups showed significant improvement in anxiety at the intervention's end, compared with the wait-list group, the MiCBT group had no significant advantage . Correlation analysis showed that improvement in depression and anxiety had a significant positive association with education level . Changes in insomnia were significantly negatively correlated with anxiety of COVID-19 at the baseline . CMSC was considered helpful (n=68 , 81.9 %) and enjoyable (n=54 , 65.9 %) in relieving depression and insomnia during the COVID-19 outbreak .
CONCLUSIONS: CMSC is verified to be effective and convenient for improving COVID-19-related depression and insomnia symptoms . A large study with sufficient evidence is required to determine its continuous effect on reducing mental health problems during the pandemic.