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Global Mental Health Mobile Technology Program


This program supports research on the development, testing, implementation, effectiveness, and costs of mobile technologies that are appropriate for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It supports highly-innovative mobile technology research for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of mental disorders. This program is interested in research that tests generalizable principles or approaches in the use of technology in LMICs, encourages research on known challenges with uptake and sustainability of mobile technology-based approaches, and addresses ethical considerations associated with the use of mobile technologies for research and clinical purposes. NIMH encourages applicants to use existing hardware/software and data from existing commercial and open source digital health applications and online platforms, where appropriate. This program also supports strategies aimed at building and/or strengthening research capacity for leveraging mobile technology to address the global mental health burden. Collaborative research partnerships with technology developers, engineers, health systems specialists, data scientists, end-users and key stakeholders are highly encouraged. Researchers are encouraged to review Opportunities and Challenges of Developing Information Technologies on Behavioral and Social Science Clinical Research, a report that summarizes the state of the science, research priorities, and potential research pathways.

The goal of this program is to substantially improve mental health outcomes in LMICs through innovative mobile technologies that improve the detection, assessment, prevention, and treatment of mental illnesses, and that improve the delivery, management, and scalability of mental health care.

Areas of Emphasis:

  • Studies that develop, test, and optimize the efficacy or effectiveness of mobile technologies designed to improve screening, assessment, treatment uptake and/or management of mental illness.
  • Studies that develop, test, and optimize the efficacy or effectiveness of new or emerging mobile technologies, platforms, systems, and analytics (e.g. machine learning algorithms, reinforcement learning algorithms, artificial intelligence) in order to improve diagnosis, treatment, response and adherence.
  • Research projects that develop and/or test the effectiveness of models for supporting providers, community health workers, non-specialists and/or health systems in using mobile technologies to enhance the monitoring, delivery, or quality of mental health care.
  • Studies that develop and test the promotion and monitoring of skill acquisition among providers in order to enhance or sustain therapeutic benefit.
  • Studies that enhance data capture, real-time assessment, and prediction in at-risk and psychiatric populations, including but not limited to those with suicidal thoughts and behavior.
  • Research projects that develop and/or test models and interventions to measure engagement in the mobile technology, implement strategies to increase engagement if needed, and/or determine which if any components of the mobile technology lead to behavior change.
  • Research projects that investigate the costs – including cost utility, cost-benefit, cost effectiveness, and budget impact – and human resource impact of innovative digital technology interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders in low-resource settings.


Pim Brouwers, PhD
5601 Fishers Lane, Room 9E21/MSC 9831