mHealth is an exciting field and, by all accounts, a transformative force. There are many possibilities, but of course, the field is still evolving. While technology can be a sophisticated means for treating and improving mental health, concerns like usability, effectiveness and privacy issues are always in the background. The many angles used to cover mHealth in the past few weeks have made this clear.
- Giving just a preview of the range of mobile tools available, Huffington Post recently discussed three apps: WhatsMyM3, a mood tester; CBTi, an app for insomnia; and Ginger.io, a sophisticated app that gathers data on the user’s activities to alert caregivers when their clients may be struggling.
- The debate over privacy is a major challenge facing the use of mental health mobile apps. How do we balance taking care of an individual while also protecting their personal information? Aljazeera America tackled this question by showcasing different mHealth apps and discussing not only what they do, but also how they treat sensitive information.
- Psychiatry Advisor did a round-up summarizing 10 mental health apps covering a wide range of issues. Apps featured include TalkSpace, which allows a person to chat with a therapist in real time, Equanimity, a meditation app; and Big White Wall, which connects users with mental illness so they can discuss their challenges and support one another.
- PR Newswire spotlighted Mobile Therapy, an app produced by developer SelfEcho. The app helps clinicians keep track of their clients’ progress by viewing their metrics. These measures consist of “data actively and passively using smartphone sensors.” If the app detects something unusual in the metrics, it alerts the clinician, who can then decide if an intervention is necessary.
- StartupSmart wrote about a health hackathon held by Outward Mobile. The contest produced several apps designed to improve mental health and alleviate stress. Winners included apps such as 3+Things, which helps people reflect on the things they’re grateful for, and Schmooze, which “uses artificial intelligence to lighten the mood by simulating a conversation – allowing people to work through their problems and emotions.”
- The Times of India took a critical approach to mobile mental health, having psychologists evaluate three apps for their strengths and weaknesses. Flaws detected in the apps included language that was too general and “textbook,” as well as a limited scope for helping people with complex problems.
- Another Huffington Post story provides a broad overview of mental health and its effect on physical health. Describing an app that can help diagnose PTSD, traumatic brain disorders and concussions in soldiers, the article details how similar tools could help doctors treat patients more effectively.