Mental Health Apps: Advantages and Disadvantages

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Having mental illness can prevent the person from seeking professional mental help because up until now, mental illness is still being stigmatized by many.

It’s good to know that there are now mental health apps that can be downloaded in smartphones or tablets for free or with payment should you wish to avail their full service.

Before going further, the purpose of this article is to present you the advantages (and disadvantages) of using mental health apps as an alternative therapeutic management for mental health issues. The author does not promote any specific mobile application, rather encourage the readers to try for themselves and evaluate accordingly if the application is of great help to them.

What are mental health apps?

There are numerous mobile applications that we download in our mobile phones to make our life easier – from grocery lists, to finance and budgeting, finding your way in traffic, and many others. To those who have mental health issues like depression, anxiety or related disorders, there are now apps that we can utilize to monitor symptoms and manage it right in our fingertips. These mental health apps are available both in android and ios systems so anybody can search any mental health apps that will suit their needs.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America have published on their website some useful mental health apps that have been evaluated and reviewed by their members. The list includes Headspace, TalkLife, BetterHelp, and What’s Up? If you are interested in using these applications, download them and try to check if they suit your needs.

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Advantages of mental health apps
One good thing that we can think of in using mental health apps personally is the cost. Most of these are free as a trial version. If you like it, you can pay for the whole thing to access other services. Come to think of it, it’s very expensive nowadays to seek medical evaluation with a psychologist or psychiatrist. But with an app in your phone, you will receive some form of therapy without spending money or at a lower cost if you will buy the whole app.

It’s also available 24/7 and in any place, you go. As long as you have your mobile phone or tablet with you, there’s no problem with this element.

The apps provide services like information about your condition, activities or therapies that can provide immediate help, coping strategies, support groups, online therapists, and a diary to record your progress and daily experiences.

Disadvantages of mental health apps
Sad to say, there are some apps that are faux or can provide pieces of advice that are not coming from medical professionals. The Scientific American has issued this warning stating,

be wary of apps designed by software companies that fail to include insight from a medical professional (such as many of the hypnosis apps out there), as well as apps claiming to use audio tones to induce certain mental states, such as decreased anxiety (there is no scientific validity to these claims).

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Final word

In order to determine if the app that you are using is relevant and supervised by medical professionals, read some of the comments and reviews from previous users. Some apps are connected to their parent website. That is also one way to detect if it is legit.