With this lockdown due to COVID-19, the potential risk of mental health problems has increased. With this, an increase in the usage of mental health apps has also been noticed. Though these apps address your mental health problem and suggest a suitable treatment, their efficiency remains questionable.
Do these mental health apps really work?
To analyze the efficiency of these apps, a 2017 study compared the good as well as bad aspects of using mental health apps. Experts found that such technology is appealing as it offers convenience, anonymity, and 24-hour consistent support at a lower cost. However, such technology also faces several challenges that include inconsistency in engagement and poor regulation of privacy.
You might like: 5 Quick Mental Health Tips for Elderly People during Quarantine
Accuracy and Usage
To be as effective as the traditional method, these apps must be evidence-based and developed carefully. A 2019 study published in Nature Digital Medicine found that a majority of the apps they studied does not provide evidence to support their products. Apart from accuracy, usage has also been a challenge for such apps.
Moreover, a 2018 study published in JMIR Mental Health found that though there is growth in the usage of smartphones, the use of mental health apps remains low.
Experts suggest that people can rely on a few of these apps as they have the potential to intervene efficiently. Furthermore, they advise users to seek proper evidence before making decisions.
- It is advised to read the user agreement to avoid collection, storage, and sharing of your data.
- Search for apps that claim randomized controlled trial (RCT) research. Beware of false claims.
- Make sure that the app is viable and easy to use.
You might like: COVID-19 Quarantine: 6R’s Formula to fight Mental Health Issues
No doubt, such apps emerge as a feasible tool for people who are uncomfortable in sharing their mental states or in places where there is a lack of mental care centers. However, they will not be able to replace therapy as apps that are not evidence-based are risky. If you are still unsure, enlisted are certain insights to help you out:
Good and Bad Aspects of Mental Health Apps
The nation and its people are craving mental peace in these unprecedented times. Peace is loved by all and most importantly the inside serenity is after all that is needed. Technology has made our lives packed with comfort and also has been of great help during these crucial times.
When concerning mental peace, during a lockdown, two practices come up the sleeve, one is meditation, and the other is using mental health apps.
Technology has rolled its way into our personal lives by laying enormous choices by its encyclopaediac apps. Still, an individual must go through the pros and cons of using mental health apps for a safe & better experience.
- You can use it at your own comfort level by slouching on the couch without getting distracted by others. This has also become the first choice over the traditional method.
- An app can be budget-friendly and offer great discounts, which can be not so common on the visit to a center. Some even offer the first consultation free, so that you can be sure of your investment in a worthy place.
- It provides 24-hour service, which is a good initiative in achieving healthy mental health. Moreover, for others, who neglected their mental health, can also build a routine of tracking their thoughts and mindset.
- These applications can hide in the smartphone without fear of getting noticed.
- The suggestions in these apps are programming-based on each categorical symptoms, which makes it reliable to use.
- Specialized staff isn’t sometimes taken as essential. This might also happen that the apps are run under officials with no scientific knowledge. An initiative like this can only be advantageous if the proper ethical staff is employed.
- The biggest concern on the digital platform is privacy. These kinds of apps are information sensitive, which if misused can harm the patient emotionally. And hence, the app you choose to browse must assure high safety standards.
- The apps tend to focus on one condition at a time. Due to the programming, the structure can be too streamline and can often neglect the other zones. It’s always brilliant to opt for apps, which provides you with a call or chat corner.
- No precise treatment rather it just focuses on symptoms and lays the medication based on it. And hence, it is essential to check the ratings given by other people regarding the treatment beforehand.
Some app examples you can opt for are Headspace, Calm, and Heartfulness, which comprise of high standards when it comes to trust and is fully equipped with privacy tools.