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Digital Interventions to Support Population Mental Health in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Rapid Review

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Gillian Strudwick, Sanjeev Sockalingam, Iman Kassam, Lydia Sequeira, Sarah Bonato, Alaa Youssef, Rohan Mehta, Nadia Green, Branka Agic, Sophie Soklaridis, Danielle Impey, David Wiljer, Allison Crawford

Topic areas

Virtual care

Study Design:

This is a rapid review study using the Cochrane Rapid Review methodology.

Study Sample:

The academic search included four databases (i.e., Embase, PsycInfo, Medline, and Web of Science), and the gray search included eight smartphone libraries (i.e., Practical Apps, Alberta Health Services App Library, Scarborough Health Network Mental Health App Library,, King’s Western University Library, Health Navigator New Zealand, NHS App Library, and One Mind Psyberguide), and a Google search. The study ultimately included 70 articles from the academic search, and 145 from the gray search.

Research Questions:

The study aimed to determine “what digital interventions could be used to support the mental health of the Canadian general population during the COVID-19 pandemic?”. The objectives included identifying which populations may be impacted by digital interventions, what barriers and facilitators exist when using digital interventions, and the effect of digital interventions for specific populations.

Preliminary Findings:

Digital mental health interventions provide opportunities for care to be delivered remotely. “However, additional preventative measures are needed to both sustain mental wellness and to address psychological distress before severe impacts ensue. Population-based interventions are increasingly needed as a way of reducing and preventing the potential mental health impacts experienced by Canadians as a result of job loss, social isolation, changes to everyday life, both now and into the foreseeable future...This rapid review demonstrates that there has been progress toward the development and adaption of digital interventions to support mental health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, much more work needs to be done to assess the impact of these technologies.” (Strudwick et al., 2021).

Contact Information for Updates:

Gillian Strudwick:

Related publications

  • Strudwick, G., Sockalingam, S., Kassam, I., Sequeira, L., Bonato, S., Youssef, A., ... & Crawford, A. (2021). Digital interventions to support population mental health in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic: rapid review. JMIR mental health, 8(3), e26550.

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