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HomeApp Assessment

Review Our Mental Health App Assessment Framework

Review our Assessment Framework for Mental Health Apps — a national framework containing key standards for safe, quality, and effective mental health apps in Canada.

We created the framework in collaboration with stakeholders across the country and with the support of Health Canada and ORCHA (Organisation for the Review of Health and Care Apps).

What our national app standards do

These national standards are meant to improve the quality of apps for people living in Canada. Before its publication, access to safe, secure, and effective mental health apps was largely undefined in Canada.

Assessment Framework Benefits and Uses

Users can become familiar with the standards for mental health apps, as developed through evidence-informed research, in-depth consultations with stakeholders (including those with lived and living experience), and public consultation.

App developers, designers, and owners can use it to assess (and potentially develop) their apps and improve their safety, quality, and effectiveness.

Jurisdictions, individuals, or organizations who curate, recommend, host, use, or categorize apps according to their usability and effectiveness can incorporate the standards into their work.

Researchers and policy makers can use the standards for future developments in evidence-based e-mental health care.

Suggestions on how to start

Step 1

Go to the Assessment Framework Structure page to get a visual sense of the eight domains.

Step 2

Read the information at the top of each numbered section to familiarize yourself with the standards.

Step 3

Review each criterion starting with the App Overview.

Step 4

Hover over words with an icon to see the meaning of key terms.

Step 5

Download the PDF copy here. For more information on app libraries or using our Mental Health App Assessment Framework content in other contexts, email us at access@mentalhealthcommission.ca.

Blue-haired app developer working.

Additional background

  • We developed the Standards with input from Canadian and international stakeholders, including app developers/designers/owners, providers, those with lived and living experience accessing mental health apps, policy and research leaders, and health executives.
  • We used ORCHA’s baseline set of standards as foundational standards. To ensure the Canadian context was reflected, the standards were edited, adjusted, and updated based on stakeholder feedback. We then added two new standards, also based on feedback from stakeholders in Canada:
    1. Cultural Safety, Social Responsibility, and Equity and
    2. Enhanced Data Sovereignty.

Further Opportunities

  • We are currently collaborating with provinces, territories, and individual organizations interested in investing in mental health app libraries for their regions. These customizable app libraries allow these stakeholders to assess mental health apps with the framework and highlight them for residents and clients in the form of an app library.
  • While our assessment framework was developed for mental health apps in Canada, once validated, its content may be applicable to other health apps or jurisdictions.*

*For more information on app libraries or using our Mental Health App Assessment Framework content in other contexts, email us at access@mentalhealthcommission.ca.

Future National Directions

  • While our goal is to develop a national mental health app library that would allow the public and mental health practitioners access to information on the safety, quality, and effectiveness of mental health apps, additional funding is required for this work. In the meantime, we invite app developers, designers, and owners to assess their apps against the framework’s criteria. We believe that doing so will help app owners and developers improve their apps.
  • Until national mental health app libraries are developed, we are unable to present national accreditation as an option. Still, our aim is to work toward the voluntary accreditation of mental health apps against the assessment framework. If this is realized, apps that undergo such assessment and meet accreditation thresholds will receive an accreditation designation in the future.
  • We will work to develop a process for individual apps interested in being assessed with the Assessment Framework to submit for a review with the MHCC and ORCHA. Stay tuned for news on this development!
  • The scoring approach is currently under development.

As part of our commitment to e-mental health, we offer a growing range of evidence-informed resources. Visit our website to learn more.