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February 2016

An Adjuvant Role for Mobile Health in Psychiatry

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  • 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(2):103-104. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2839

On October 29, 2014, a British mental health charity called Samaritans launched “Radar,” a mobile app to assist individuals in severe emotional distress.1 Aimed at users of the social media website Twitter, the app scanned a person’s network for member postings that indicated signs of depression or suicide and would alert the user to contact any potentially concerning member. Samaritans hoped this would turn social networks into “safety nets,” but to their surprise, the app generated uproar over questions of privacy and potential targeting of vulnerable individuals, and the app was shut down 9 days after launch.1

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