Human Mediation Leads to Higher Compliance in Digital Mental Health: Field Evidence from India
16 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2023 Last revised: 24 Sep 2023
Date Written: September 15, 2023
Addressing the treatment gap for mental health issues around the globe and the "hidden" pandemic aggravated by COVID, digital mental health apps attempt to provide help at a low cost, conveniently, and privately. Yet discussions abound on their adoption. We partner with one of the largest mental health apps in India to consider how users react to automating some of the routine processes to allow operating at scale. In a field study, a prompt to complete a psychological assessment was delivered to users either by a system or by a human mediator. Highlighting that the prompt was delivered by a human mediator increased its take-up by 22%. It further translated into higher completion rates and engagement with the results. Our results highlight the fact that apart from the technical feasibility of automation, behavioral responses of users need to be taken into account when deciding what processes should be automated.
Funding Declaration: None to declare.
Conflict of Interests: None to declare.
Ethics Approval: Ethic approvals of IIMA IRB 2021-26 and MPG 2021-20. The project is pre-registered at AEARCTR-0009202.
Keywords: mental health, digital app, user-interface design, algorithm vs human display
JEL Classification: C9, I1, O3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation