Columbia Psychiatry Marks Mental Health Month; With Technology, Help is Just a Click Away

May 8, 2015

5 Ways Technology Can Complement Mental Health Services

May 11, 2015 – (New York, NY) – If you’ve thought of it, chances are there’s already an app out there--apps to help manage stress and support good mental health included. Barbara Stanley, PhD, Director of the Suicide Intervention Center at New York State Psychiatric Institute and Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, helped develop Safety Plan, an app to help suicidal individuals avert suicidal crises. Child and adolescent experts also see potential in harnessing technology like social media and texting to help teens suffering from mental health problems.

Jazmin Reyes-Portillo, PhD, is a child and adolescent clinical psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center, who studies health information technology to improve the treatment and prevention of youth depression and suicide. Here are her picks for 7 ways technology can be helpful in recognizing and treating mental health problems:

  1. Improve youth mental health literacy
  2. Reduce stigma associated with seeking mental health services.
  3. Promote increased help seeking
  4. Improve access to treatment and/or self-help tools for those with limited financial resources or living in rural areas with few providers
  5. Help to support youth retention in and adherence to treatment
  6. Reduce cost associated with treatment and/or self-help tools
  7. Reduce amount of time spent on treatment wait-lists.

Of course, technology alone can’t adequately treat serious mental illness. As always, cautions Dr. Reyes-Portillo, consulting with a health professional is the optimal first step in getting treatment.

See Dr. Reyes-Portillo’s recommendations for helpful apps in addition to Safety Plan: Optimism, eCBT, eCBT Calm, What’sMYM3, Mood Kit, Relief Link, Sleep Cycle.

To learn more about treatment and research options at Columbia Psychiatry, go to To participate in a research study, call 212-305-6001. And, hear from the experts themselves about treatment and research going on now and ways to get help by logging on to


Contact:  Dacia Morris,   (646) 774-8724,




Departmental News, Media Alert