The pandemic has exacerbated the state of people suffering from mental disorders. It has also become a challenge for those who have never experienced these problems before. People lost their loved ones, found themselves without a job, or experienced fear and despair. As a result, many have fallen into depression and suffered from stress. Before the pandemic, one in ten American adults complained of anxiety and depression. With the spread of COVID-19, every fourth reported these disorders. However, due to coronavirus, mental health services have been limited no matter they are critically needed. The situation began to improve with the advent of mental health apps. Let’s have a look at how technologies support people during the pandemic.
Mental health issues during the pandemic
At the end of 2020, the World Health Organization conducted a survey of 130 countries on the state of mental health care. In 93% of countries, the pandemic disrupted or suspended mental health services despite the increased demand.
For example, the WHO recorded interruptions in the provision of care for children, the elderly, and mothers with postpartum depression in 60% of countries. Consultations and supportive care were limited in 67% of cases. 35% of the survey participants reported failures in delivering emergency care for people with seizures or withdrawal symptoms. About a quarter of countries reported a suspension of mental health services in schools and at workplaces.
KFF, a healthcare organization, stated such common problems of US residents as insomnia (36%), unhealthy diet (32%), alcohol and drug abuse (12%), and exacerbation of chronic diseases (12%).
To help people in need, many countries have invested in the development of mental health apps, telemedicine platforms, smart chatbots, and other software solutions.
How mental health apps support people
Mental health apps quickly respond to requests from patients with mental disorders. In turn, such platforms remotely connect them with doctors via smartphones, tablets, or computers. People receive psychological support and treatment anywhere in the world where there is an Internet connection. As a result, increasing demand makes businessmen invest in mental health and healthcare software development.
Mobile mental health apps
Mobile platforms help patients to find a psychiatrist, sign up for a consultation with a specialist, and undergo remote therapy. People perform tasks and send text, audio, or video files to the doctor for evaluation.
Mood, medication, sleep and nutrition, physical activities are recorded in such an application. Thus, the doctor can evaluate the state of the patient and the treatment progress.
Based on mental health issues, platforms offer treatment options such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), coping strategies for ADHD/ADD, and bipolar disorder. Separate applications can be used for a particular diagnosis. For example, Sanvello helps to combat anxiety, Shine helps to deal with bipolar disorder, What’s Up is for fighting depression, and so on.
To cope with anxiety, people are turning to meditation apps. Subsequently, these programs offer audio lessons and exercises that help to relax, take a rest and improve sleep quality. Users can turn on in-app relaxing sounds and music helping to fall asleep faster. A person chooses a schedule convenient for classes. Doctors advise such platforms to patients who have recovered from anorexia, bulimia, OCD, and other mental disorders.
Such software supports people suffering from PTSD. It is especially helpful for those who do not want to interact with support groups or who lack the opportunity to be treated in their region of residence. The application has built-in tools that help people alleviate the symptoms of the disease. People try to manage their emotions and behaviour and take care of themselves.
The platform tracks symptoms and treatment progress and allows patients to sign up for a virtual consultation with a psychiatrist. In times of stress or panic, a user can turn on soothing melodies or landscapes to overcome the attack.
Digital diaries serve as a replacement for their paper counterparts. People write down their thoughts and feelings, determine mood, record negative emotions, and work them through. On the other hand, an application allows a person to control their condition, manage their thinking and improve their quality of life.
Mental health chatbots
Smart chatbots offer conversational therapy for patients. In a conversation with a virtual assistant, users share experiences, emotions, and work through negative thoughts. Virtual interlocutors are available 24/7, so they facilitate the course of the disease and help people to reformulate negative thoughts into positive ones.
Mental health apps are becoming faithful assistants in difficult situations. They guarantee anonymity, offer personalized therapy, and help to connect patients with doctors in regions where there are no psychiatrists. Although these platforms cannot replace traditional treatment modes, remote care software substantially enhance them. People who are embarrassed to turn to doctors with their psychological disorders are more likely to trust an app. The spread of mental health mobile platforms will help people around the world to find support.
Therefore, to create mental health software, it is worth enlisting the support of a healthcare software development company. Such an IT partner knows how to keep patient data confidential. Programmers and medical consultants will consider functionality and convenient UI/UX design. They will create a platform and improve its functions at the request of patients.