Digital tools such as Smartphones have the potential to increase access to mental health support including self-management interventions for individuals with psychosis, and ultimately to improve outcomes. Self-management strategies, including relapse prevention and crisis planning and setting personal recovery goals, are intended to assist people with long-term conditions to take an active role in their recovery, with evidence for a range of benefits. However, their implementation is inconsistent, and access and uptake need to be improved. The current study explores the acceptability of a Smartphone app (My Journey 3) that has been developed to facilitate supported self-management in Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services.
Semi-structured one-to-one interviews were conducted with twenty-one EIP service users who had access to My Journey 3 as part of a feasibility trial, and with thirteen EIP service clinicians who were supporting service users with the app. Interviews focused on the acceptability and usability of My Journey 3. Data was coded to themes based on the Acceptability of Healthcare Interventions framework.
Many service user participants found My Journey 3 to be acceptable. The symptom and medication trackers in particular were described as helpful. A smaller number of service users disliked the intervention. Individual-level factors that appeared to influence acceptability and engagement included recovery stage and symptom severity. Clinicians tended to report that My Journey 3 was a potentially positive addition to service users’ care, but they often felt unable to provide support due to competing demands in their work, which in turn may have impacted acceptability and usage of the app.
Our findings suggest that the app is perceived as having potential to improve users’ capacity to self-manage and work towards recovery goals, but barriers prevented many clinicians providing consistent and effective support as intended. Further evaluation of supported self-management apps in psychosis is warranted but needs to address implementation challenges from the start.