Mental health apps are becoming increasingly popular.
By 2030, it is estimated that the market for these applications will be worth $17.5 billion — growing at a 15.9% annual rate over the next seven years as more people seek to manage their mental illnesses through technology.
App developers are creating new apps to help people manage their mental health.
They allow you to track symptoms, manage treatment plans, and even connect with other users who have similar conditions or experiences.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which was officially declared in March 2020, has forced many people to stay at home and take a break from work. People have changed the way they interact with technology, including their phones.
With the huge popularity of mental health apps, there has been an increase in competition for existing users. This article will address how to choose the right app for your needs.
Do Mental Health Apps Actually Work?
There is a wide range of mental health apps available today, with each one targeting a specific condition or problem.
Some apps are more general in nature like Calm or Headspace, while others are tailored specifically towards disorders like PTSD or OCD.
There are also telehealth services like Talkspace and BetterHelp that connect users to therapists for text or video therapy sessions.
Many such apps aren’t regulated like other health-related products. In most cases, no one is checking to make sure that the information provided by the apps is true.
Because they’re not intended to treat or diagnose a medical condition, mental health apps are not subject to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation.
Studies indicate that mental health apps like Headspace can help manage symptoms associated with certain mental illnesses, such as anxiety.
Some people find that text-based interventions and crisis lines are more effective than face-to-face methods at helping them quit smoking or deal with suicidal thoughts.
People who use mental health apps may already be self-motivated enough to improve their mental health without an app’s assistance.
They could also be getting better at hiding symptoms from others around them if they think doing so will help them avoid the stigma associated with seeking treatment options offered by insurance companies and traditional therapy.
Mental Apps vs. Traditional Therapy
Mental apps can’t replace traditional psychotherapy, but they are a useful first step in helping you achieve better mental health.
If you feel that your mental health problems are affecting your ability to go to work, school, or take care of yourself — it’s time for action.
Apps such as Headspace and Calm offer guided meditation courses that may help ease your mind but not replace traditional treatments.
Keep in mind the following before you start using a mental health app:
- you may have to wait for assistance, or it will require months to see some results;
- apps can be useful in conjunction with therapy or medication, not instead of them;
- severe depression or anxiety requires professional treatment.
Mental health professionals typically have at least a master’s degree and must complete many years of training before they are licensed.
That’s why traditional therapy might be a better solution for a complex problem.
How to Choose Your App: First Steps
There are many different types of mental health apps, and you may want to try a few of them before finding one that works for you. Most mental wellness apps are not subject to government oversight, so you need to carefully choose yours.
Here are some first steps for picking your app:
- check whether the FDA has approved it;
- read reviews and ratings by other users;
- look for research that shows how effective the app is in helping people with similar problems or symptoms;
- check whether your app’s claims are supported by credible research;
- search for mentions of the product by reputable doctors or therapists;
- check what users say about it on online forums like Reddit.
Checklist for Choosing a Mental Health App
Here are some things to think about when choosing an app for mental health:
- How much does it cost?
- What are the app’s goals?
- How many people have downloaded it?
- Is its user interface convenient enough?
- Does it have an easily accessible help menu that describes how to use the app?
- Does it offer privacy settings?
- Does the app offer any features beyond basic tracking and reminders like mood tracking, goal-setting tools, and community support groups?
You want something easy to navigate, so you can find what you need quickly when stress levels rise or fall unexpectedly.
Customization options are equally important for you to feel special. Happy Mind is among those apps that are particularly useful for finding the right balance between fun and functionality.
Future of Mental Health Apps
There is a growing demand for mental health apps that can help improve your well-being and provide access to qualified care. With this demand comes increased competition among developers who create these products, but also uncertainty about which ones work best.
Before downloading an app, make sure you check reviews or ask your doctor if they can recommend a good product.
Image by Emily Underwolrd from Unsplash
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