Can Smartphone Apps Provide Mental Health Support?
April 1, 2015 1 Comment
Smartphones as an extension in providing mental health support
Mental health problems are things that the world needs to address more seriously. Cases of such problems are increasing around the world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. Even first world countries like Japan aren’t safe from the high rate of suicide due to depression.
Mental health problems can be ruthless and while there are a lot of treatments for them now such as therapy and internal medicine, health authorities can still utilize more options for patients especially now that we’re living in the digital age.
More and more people rely on their smartphone everyday, and for good reason. With it, people can enjoy playing games, connect to their friends via social media, and even find instructions for doing things. According to the company that operates the entertainment hub Spin Genie, about 82% of its clients today use mobile devices to access services.
This is a huge number against the former heavyweights of computing devices namely desktops and laptops. It is because of the rising popularity of smartphones that mental care providers should be using the gadget that people hold most of the time. However, mobile technology remains as a huge untapped resource for the mental health support care industry.
While there are a lot of promising mental health apps that address problems such as depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), most of them aren’t backed up by clinical trials or controlled group experiments. Apps such as Stop Panic & Anxiety Self-Help and PTSD Coach may have been made under the supervision of experts but they lack features that can actually replace the professional care services. This is why users must be careful not to substitute professional help with readily-available apps.
What can be done right now is for mental care providers to use smartphone apps as an extension of personal or group therapies. When patients leave the doctor’s room or group, the smartphone’s connectivity feature will make them feel linked all the time to the person, or group of persons, that they’re getting help from. This kind of aid from a smartphone can help people get better quickly and find immediate help when they’re experiencing problems such as depression or anxiety attacks.