In the digital age, you can count on an app for everything. From banking and shopping to gardening and cooking, people can just download these apps on their mobile devices to make their lives easier. It is also worth noting that there was a significant increase in app downloads during the coronavirus pandemic.
In California, one of the most badly hit by Covid-19, residents download more mental health mobile apps than any other application. People look for support for depression, burnout, ADHD, and many others in mental health apps.
Currently, there are tens of thousands of mental health apps on the Google Play Store and Apple Store. How do Californians choose the best from all these apps available on the market?
How Do Californians Select the Right Mental Health App to Use?
Pranjal Bora of Digital Authority Partners said that patients use search engines such as Google and various social media platforms to get answers for their medical conditions. However, most cannot find the right solutions to their issues. This is why many prefer to use health apps to get verified and reliable health information.
Mental Health Apps with In-person Therapy
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Californians preferred to visit their psychiatrists for consultations and therapies. They also attended face-to-face group meetings to further help them cope with their mental health issues.
Nowadays, patients need to follow strict health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. Health apps such as mental health apps help patients deal with their mental health issues through remote consultations.
Patients can also use these apps for in-patient consultations. Information stored in the app about their conditions can help doctors diagnose and treat mental health issues.
Mental Health Apps Backed by Research
People prefer to use health apps developed based on thorough research. Research does not verify some apps sold on app stores. Some apps are also more effective and more popular than others because these are products of years of research.
Like studies regarding cognitive behavioral therapy for treating anxiety and depression, this treatment will help patients with their thought patterns. These studies show that cognitive therapy works best when used with online applications compared to performing these therapies with a licensed therapist.
Studies also reveal that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way patients seek mental health treatments. Most are willing to forego in-person consultations and would rather use online consultations.
Mental Health Apps That Work—Not Just Offer a Distraction
There are thousands of mental health apps available on app stores, but most of these apps do not offer the right treatment. Instead, they only provide distractions, not helping users cope with their issues.
Mental health apps that offer games, music, and videos are just apps that provide distractions. You might feel okay right after using the app, but your symptoms will remain. Patients prefer apps that offer concrete and practical solutions to their mental health issues.
Mental Health Apps with High Ratings or Rankings
Apps with high rankings are reputable, reliable, and updated. So users prefer them over those with low rankings. But experts warn users against this technique of selecting mental health apps.
According to John Torous, MD from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s digital psychiatry division, mental health apps must be evaluated before use. Apps are mostly ranked according to marketing, aesthetics, and other metrics, not about safety, medical evidence, and evidence.
Health app users must not just rely on app ratings and rankings. They should take time to evaluate an app, its features, and content as research and medical evidence should back these factors.
Mental Health Apps for All-around Use
Mental health app users want apps that can provide the most features. If an app is available through a paid subscription, it has to offer all-around features such as the following:
- Updated information about mental health and wellness from professionals and experts in the industry
- A symptom-checking tool or feature for easy diagnosis
- A progress tracker for easy reporting upon consultation
- Daily reminders to help users cope better
- A customization feature to meet users’ goals
- Activities to boost mood, reduce anxiety, and improve stress levels
Mental Health Apps for Easy Doctor Consultations
Californians want mental health apps that can help them reach their preferred psychiatrists and consultants right away. Aside from providing the abovementioned features, mental health apps must help patients book consultations, whether personal, via phone call, or via video call.
In line with these criteria, mental health apps must provide easy payment options for consultations. A good app must accept credit-card payments, online payments, and health-card transactions. Also, mental health apps must be affiliated with pharmacies or dispensaries to allow users easy access to medications.
Mental Health Apps for Medical Marijuana Users
California was the first state to legalize the use of medical cannabis in 1996. Today, the government allows the use of medical and recreational cannabis in the state. Hospitals have used medical marijuana to treat various medical and mental conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, and ADHD.
Californians prefer mental health apps that can help them use medical marijuana safely. The app must have complete and updated information on various medical cannabis products, especially dosages, expected side effects, and interactions with other drugs.
Growing cannabis is also regulated in the state, so apps must provide growing information and tips. Meanwhile, apps should offer easy access to a local directory of dispensaries. Californians prefer apps that can show them where to purchase their preferred strain from their locale.
Californians prefer mental health apps that can provide the most benefits. They want apps that can monitor their conditions, prepare them for treatment, and provide access to remote booking and consultations.
They need mental health apps developed from thorough research and backed by experts and professionals. Finally, they want apps to help them naturally manage their mental health conditions through medical cannabis and other natural treatments. When used together with the guidance of a professional, mental health apps can significantly improve mental health and overall wellness.