Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Clinical Doctorate

College or School




Program or Major

Doctor of Nursing Practice

First Advisor

Pamela Kallmerten


BACKGROUND: The COVID pandemic has disrupted mental health services leading to an increased need for mental health support. Nearly half of all adults in the United States have reported worry and stress leading to a rise in feelings of anxiety. Currently, there is a mental health workforce shortage, impacting the available treatment services. Mobile Health (mHealth) applications can help bridge the gap in the availability of these services and potentially improve health outcomes through education, social support, self-managed care, and patient-provider communication.

PURPOSE: The purpose is to optimize mental health care and access to services by leveraging the use of mHealth applications.

METHODS: The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) guided this quality improvement project using technology to support mental health. A college representative sent a Qualtrics© survey to adult participants who were students, employees, or staff on the campus. In addition, all participants had regular access to a smartphone and no previous experience with the Sanvello© digital application. The participants self-enrolled in the project by providing consent, demographic information, and responses to the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) instrument. After completing the GAD-7, participants received download and use instructions for the Sanvello© smartphone application. Following the use of the smartphone application, participants were surveyed for their perceptions on the use of mHealth for mental health care.

RESULTS: Pre-intervention findings included an aggregate GAD-7 median score of 18.96 indicating high levels of anxiety, a gap in the resources for those with anxiety, worry, and stress symptoms, and that participants reported receptivity to education as well as preventative and early treatment. 50 participated in the pre-intervention survey and received instructions on the use of the Sanvello© app. Post intervention survey participants (n=32) reported they used the free version of the application. Most indicated that they used the application less than once a week, with 50% of participants indicating they felt the mHealth application improved access to mental health care services. Following the intervention, an aggregate GAD-7 score of 15.52 was noted. Qualitative thematic analysis noted four dominant themes: ease of use, time, technical functionality, and engagement in the use of the application.

CONCLUSION: Providing care through technological tools such as mHealth applications can reform how we support access to mental health services while delivering evidence-based care. This use of technology permits greater flexibility for patients and mental health care providers while optimizing access to mental health services.