Adolescents are being recognized as a generation, worldwide, that require different policy approaches to improve their health and wellbeing, including the adoption of mobile based health interventions (e.g. mHealth). While mHealth interventions are growing in popularity, many researchers/policy-makers have neglected assessing potential (indirect) costs/negative consequences from their use. Evidence from the developed world shows strong associations between cell phone use and negative mental health outcomes, but such findings are minimal in developing world contexts. Using primary data from a large-scale, school-based survey of 17-19-year-old adolescents in southwestern Nepal, this report provides background information to motivate additional work investigating the presence of such a tension. Various summary statistics and preliminary analysis indicate that there are several key elements of adolescent life which deserve focus. Infrastructure in schools needs improvement to facilitate females remaining in school, despite menstruation pressures. More opportunities for socialization between adolescents should be facilitated, and may include opportunities for school-work study groups/support. Bullying continues to be an area which deserves attention and novel ideas to combat its spread. In conjunction, there is a need to improve the health curriculum in schools, so that adolescents are more aware of when/where to get support/treatment for mental health concerns, along with reducing the stigma/fear surrounding this topic. Any future mental health interventions should consider focusing on urban females, with consideration of privacy concerns. Additionally, policy makers will need to be aware of preliminary, positive associations between heavy phone use and depression/anxiety symptoms.
Yilmaz, Siobhan K. and Alok Bohara. "A Pilot Study on Adolescent Mobile Phone Use, Indirect Mental Health Costs and Cultural Context Considerations – REPORT." (2019). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nsc_research/78