Youth receiving mental health treatment have better outcomes when homework, or between-session practice, is assigned by providers and completed by youth and caregivers between treatment sessions. Many providers struggle with assigning homework during treatment, and many families struggle with completing homework assignments.
In this project we will develop a mobile application, "PRACTICE," to help providers and patients with homework exercises during mental health treatment. After developing the app we will be asking providers and youth patients and their caregivers to test the app and provide us with feedback during a one-time, remote interview. Next we will be recruiting mental health providers and families to participate in a treatment trial where we will preliminarily evaluate the effectiveness of the app. This will include a typical course of best-practice treatment where some providers and families will be randomly assigned to receive treatment enhanced with the PRACTICE app. As a last part of this study, we will be interviewing providers, supervisors, and senior leaders at local community-based clinics to get their ideas on how best to implement the use of the PRACTICE app in community settings.
Many children and adolescents experience mental illness and need access to evidence-based treatment as well as innovative solutions to make such treatments effective and engaging. Clinical outcomes are better for cases in which homework is assigned by providers and completed by patients and families between treatment sessions. The proposed work seeks to gather information to build technology-based tools that are easy to use and engaging for youth, lead to increased homework adherence, and can reach a wide population of patients.