Can Mobile Apps Fill the Gap for Therapy?
Using a mobile app to help with health and wellness has become a common practice. Many people rely on health apps to treat various medical conditions, check symptoms, or take preventative measures. Those with mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, depression, or sleep problems use health apps as part of their mental health treatment plan.
Even as mental health apps become increasingly prevalent, the question of whether or not these apps can replace one-on-one therapy remains. This guide for mobile mental health app users will show us the benefits and concerns for those using these apps.
Can Mental Health Apps Reduce the Need for Therapy?
Mental health apps offer an efficient way for users to seek help for conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse disorders, sleep disorders, and more. These apps may also provide an excellent opportunity to enhance quality and increase access to the mental health services of a hospital, clinic, or organization.
By using mental health apps, patients can reach out to their doctors to get much-needed assistance, especially when it’s impossible to get in-person appointments. But despite this great benefit, there is a question as to whether mental health apps can replace actual consultations or therapies.
Mental Health Apps Can Complement One-on-One Therapies
During the coronavirus pandemic, it was clear that health professionals had to develop ways they could connect with their patients. They had to create an efficient, practical, and safe way to continue their treatments even during the lockdown.
Because necessity is the mother of invention, there has been an increase in mental health apps that provide timely information about an individual’s mental health. These apps help patients connect with their doctors and continue prescribed treatments at home. Patients can continue to access expert treatments for various mental health conditions.
The apps can complement a patient’s ongoing treatment, as a specialist can use them to monitor a patient’s condition closely. Mental health professionals ask patients to note their progress through the app, and their doctors use this information to monitor and evaluate their current status.
Aside from health-status monitoring, these apps may also offer online one-on-one consultation or counseling. Patients can book a virtual consultation from the app and talk to their doctors or therapists about their condition. While these virtual sessions may be safer and more practical than in-person visits, they may not be suitable for treating all mental health conditions or for every individual.
Other features of some mental health apps include online prescription refills and medication orders. Pandemic lockdowns made it hard for patients to visit their therapists and challenging for them to refill their medications. Health apps can take the place of some of the face-to-face office visits that doctors and pharmacies require for renewing prescriptions.
They can also help locate dispensaries or drug stores that have the necessary medications in stock. Through some apps, users can order their prescriptions and other medications and pick them up at a convenient time.
Mental Health Apps Offer Better Control of Symptoms
Users who download mental health apps are looking to control their symptoms better. Good quality apps offer users ways to monitor their symptoms. During sign-up, the apps ask users to list their symptoms, and after every treatment, they ask the users to log in their current symptoms and any changes. Users can easily view and track their symptoms plus monitor their progress through the app.
Privacy and Security Issues with Some Apps
Sometimes Mobile Apps May Not Be Enough
Mobile apps may help users manage their symptoms, connect with their doctors, and help with medication orders, but these apps may not always be enough. Some patients and some conditions may be better suited to face-to-face counseling. Video chat may work for some or even occasionally for most, but many prefer and need personal interaction.
Finally, there is a possible delay in patients securing treatment for their conditions. Patients may attempt to self-diagnose or deny the seriousness of their situation; they may decide to forgo treatment. This practice is problematic and dangerous for patients who experience severe mental health issues.
Although mobile apps designed for mental health are convenient and practical, they can never replace an actual therapist or clinician. If patients are experiencing severe symptoms, they need to see a trusted professional to help them manage their conditions.
Choosing The Right Mental Health Mobile App
According to Digital Authority Partners, nothing can replace a health professional when diagnosing and treating medical and mental health conditions. However, mobile health apps can improve patients’ lives by helping them control their symptoms.
Chronic conditions may be prevented or managed through intelligent lifestyle changes and treatment strategies. The key is to use the right mental health app that fits your situation. There are thousands of mobile apps for mental health, making it challenging to find the one for your needs.
When looking for a mental health app, remember the following:
- Choose apps created by experts with treatments based on actual evidence.
- Choose usable, efficient, effective, and safe to use apps (Consult your therapist or doctor).
- Use apps that are transparent about their security features (See the app’s about section or contact a representative regarding the app’s security features).
- Use apps that doctors or therapists recommend (Ask your doctor for recommendations).
- Choose apps that work best for your mental health issues (Apps are designed for specific conditions and demographics).
- Choose apps with the features you need (Symptom checkers, online consultation links, medication orders, and mental health updates).
Mobile health apps are indeed helpful, efficient, and practical. Apps allow users to stay ahead of mental health updates/news, monitor their symptoms, and connect with professionals. These apps can also help patients remain in complete control of their conditions.
But despite all these great features, health apps cannot replace the expertise of an actual mental health expert, especially during medical emergencies. Patients still need the help of an expert to deliver face-to-face therapies or personal treatments. Still, an app can help build the relationship between patient and therapist and improve the overall treatment and health of the patient.
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.