Utilization of mobile mental health services among syrian refugees and other vulnerable arab populations—a systematic review

Category Systematic review
JournalInt. J. Environ. Res. Public Health
Year 2020
The global refugee crisis is at its most critical state in history; Syria alone has produced 12 million internally displaced persons, with another 5 million refugees seeking protection across the globe. Faced with the heavy burden of mental distress carried by a massive refugee influx, many host nations lack the service capacity to respond adequately. While mobile mental health (mMHealth) applications and platforms have the potential to augment screenings and interventions for vulnerable populations, an insufficient gender and cultural adaptation of technology may drastically hamper its uptake in Arab refugees. Reporting only papers originating from Middle Eastern and/or Arab nations or refugee host nations, this systematic review evaluates the available literature published between 2000 and 2019 on the usage acceptability of mMHealth in Syrian refugees and other vulnerable Arab populations. We conducted a systematic review in PubMed, PsychInfo, Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines to identify studies that addressed mMHealth implementation in these populations; of a total of 607 articles identified, only 10 (1.6%) available, unique articles met our search criteria. These studies discussed the feasibility and efficacy of mMHealth applications and the barriers to their uptake. The few existing studies show positive impacts of mMHealth on the access to services and on treatment outcomes but also reveal a paucity of literature on mMHealth for vulnerable Arab populations. These findings indicate a critical need for research on the barriers to mMHealth uptake, to bolster service capacity in the Arab Region and in the refugee diaspora of other, non-Arab host countries.
Epistemonikos ID: 2169b67e7eb4a4cb2157086eb5378334c8192039
First added on: Feb 28, 2020