Apps for Mental Health

I’m excited to share some of our recent work with you regarding evaluating smartphone applications for mental health.

Our article published in this month’s edition of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking examines a group of popular mental health apps and characterizes them, based on their app store descriptions. We looked at what the purpose of these apps seemed to be for: were they for symptom relief or just education, for example? Also we wanted to know did they seem to cover the bases regarding what types of mental health information would be important for mental health app consumers – like letting consumers know whether the app is evidence based or whether it protects their privacy. Like others in the field, we think it is important for clinicians to talk to their patients about what apps they might be using for their mental health. And to sit down together to look into whether the app is actually helpful or not.

This article on fastcompany.com talks about the multiple stakeholders involved in developing mental health apps and how their views on the best approach may differ. This is why sometimes the individual may need to do some more work on their end before knowing whether an app will be useful to them.

On sova and wisesova, each Friday we post about online resources. Recently we highlighted myhealthapps.net. This is a site which uses patient reviews to help others decide whether to try out an app or not.  We also asked our online communities on sova to try out apps and let others know if they found them useful.

Of course, there is much more to ask about and learn on this topic, and we hope our recent article is a conversation-starter!

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