How Effective Are Mental Health Apps?

Posted on November 2, 2015

Mental health apps have grown in popularity at a time when psychological services have faced an increased demand and decreased resources. Many patients, faced with waiting lists, have turned to alternative sources of support -- such as apps.

Reliance on apps for mental healthcare however, can be a double edged sword. A recent study published in the journal Evidence Based Mental Health has shown that such apps, even those endorsed by the National Health Service (NHS), are clinically unproven and potentially ineffective.

Simon Leigh, co-author of the study conducted by a team at the University of Liverpool, warns that "if you go through the process of downloading and using an app and there are no benefits, it can compound your anxiety about your mental health problems."

Leigh adds that "apps can be beneficial, but we need to ensure that with wider usage we also invest in further research to ensure that they're robust." However, "The rate at which apps come out is always going to outweigh the rate at which they can be evaluated."

There are, perhaps, no quick fixes to a complex mental health issues such as depression; recovery would require more than just daily 10 minute meditations based on a particular app.
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Category(s):Health Psychology, Self-Care / Self Compassion

Source material from WIRED


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