Digital Dialogues: The Frontier of Adolescent Therapy in the Age of Texting

Published 30 January 2024

Varun Karnik

Medical student | Clinical researcher | Non-profit co-founder

LinkedIn: Varun Karnik

This review by DHCRC emerging leader Varun Karnik looks at how effective and user-friendly phone-based text therapy is for young people’s mental health. The issue is the rising number of young people struggling with mental health problems and the many young people who don’t seek help due to stigma and a lack of understanding about mental health. Text therapy, which uses messaging on phones, could be a solution. It’s a way to offer support that feels more comfortable and direct to young people.

Focussing on individuals aged 12 to 24, the search for relevant studies involved detailed criteria and was limited to the most recent five years to ensure the information was up-to-date. After reviewing 771 studies, only 7 were found to meet all the requirements. These studies were considered reliable and demonstrated that text therapy could significantly reduce symptoms like sadness and worry.

The findings suggest that text therapy has significant potential to help young people dealing with mental health issues and that it is an approach that young people find both easy to use and beneficial. Our hope is that these insights lead to improved text therapy options and more research in what is a promising area.

Read Varun’s full research paper here

Varun Karnik

Emerging leaders in digital health