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Help-seeking, Mental illness, Mobile phone intervention, Psychiatric outpatients, Text messaging



  1. Kodama, Toyohiko PhD
  2. Tamura, Yuko MS
  3. Komori, Teruhisa PhD, MD
  4. Kataoka, Mika PhD
  5. Igura, Kazumasa PhD
  6. Hashimoto, Takeshi PhD, MD


Mental illness often affects and is affected by other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and AIDS/HIV infection, and people living with mental illness require additional common services and resource mobilization efforts. Therefore, we developed a mobile phone intervention and conducted a randomized controlled trial with 45 psychiatric outpatients with mental illnesses. Data from 39 individuals (intervention group: 20, control group: 19; mean [SD] age, 44.64 [14.12] years) were included in the analyses. The intervention involved the promotion of help-seeking behaviors by sending text messages, including information about social welfare services, for 3 months. After the intervention period, no significant differences were found in the proportion of help-seeking behaviors between the intervention and control groups. However, concerning the reason for not using social services, the proportion of participants who answered "I do not know how to use it" in the intervention group was significantly lower compared to the control group. More than 80% of participants in the intervention group reported that the text messaging service was helpful and useful, and they wanted more messages and information. This was the first randomized controlled trial to promote psychiatric patients' help-seeking behavior using text messaging. Moreover, the text messaging intervention was found to be cost-effective.