There is no proof that 85% of the depression apps currently recommended by the NHS for patients to manage their condition actually work, say experts in the journal Evidence Based Mental Health.

But the seal of approval from one of the world’s leading healthcare systems may falsely reassure patients, many of whom are increasingly opting to fund their own treatment in the face of overstretched mental health services and the associated lengthy waits, they warn.

Until such time as evidence is forthcoming on the clinical effectiveness of these apps, and they have been properly evaluated, they should be removed from the NHS apps library, say Simon Leigh and Steve Flatt, of, respectively, the Management School at the University of Liverpool, and Liverpool Psychological Therapies Unit Community Interest Company.

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