Mental health app downloads soar during lockdown, but do they really help?

midian182

Posts: 5,854   +48
Staff member

As reported by CNBC, nearly half of US citizens said the pandemic was harming their mental wellbeing back in April. With shelter-in-place rules prohibiting in-person therapy sessions, many turned to their smartphones for help, rather than opt for a virtual session with a therapist.

Mobile app analytics company Sensor Tower reports that first-time downloads of the top 20 mental wellness apps in the US reached 4 million in April, an increase of 29 percent from the 3.1. million in January. Looking at the same period last year, first-time download numbers for these apps fell 30 percent.

In most years, “these apps experience a strong January due to New Year’s resolutions but decrease in subsequent months,” Sensor Tower co-founder Alex Malafeev told CNBC. “This wasn’t the case in 2020 due to Covid-19.”

It’s not just the US where mental wellness apps have seen a boost in popularity since the start of the pandemic. In the UK, the apps have been downloaded more than 1 million times since lockdown measures were implemented. The 15 most popular apps saw downloads increase by a third, from 489,100 to 637,100 between February and March, reaching over 700,000 last month.

Part of the reason behind the apps’ rise is the easing of restrictions related to teletherapy, which include the FDA relaxing its vetting process for apps coming onto the stores. Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in apps that offer questionable treatment methods, contain incorrect information, or share users’ private information.

While the apps may help some people, it seems most can’t match a real therapy session. Dr. Stephen Schueller, whose Psyberguide website ranks therapy apps based on user experience, data privacy, and scientific backing, says only three percent of these apps out of the tens of thousands on the store are evidence-based.

“Finding an effective therapy app can be like finding a needle in a haystack,” he said.

Image credit: evrymmnt via Shutterstock

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,203   +5,588
You have to really wonder and worry about a society that creates it's own mental issues, then complains about what they have created......
 
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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,022   +2,835
I wonder what the data will show long after the quarantines are over.

How many suicides were there?
How many bankruptcies?
Foreclosures?
Resultant evictions?
How many more people in credit debt?

We already know there were over 30 million people underemployed before Coronavirus hit. Now there are 40 million who've filed unemployment.

These are not easy times for anyone.

The Democrats have been dealt the ultimate trump cards for demanding Healthcare reform simply because 40 million people out of work don't have it, have the ability to vote and the pandemic has exposed just how vulnerable America is to a pandemic and its ripple effects.

I have a theory which probably can't be proven, but I actually think people who were mentally ill, weren't as negatively effected as people who weren't. The mentally ill who suffered in silence, alone as everyone around them went about their daily lives were probably more prepared to deal with this situation mentally because they themselves were ignored, pessimistic and depressed when suddenly, everyone around them was brought down a peg.

Misery loves company right?

People were so bored that they reached out to and contacted people who they normally wouldn't have or overlooked and forgot about.

It is the "normal" "healthy" minds that were broken down by this pandemic.

Again: just my theory.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,902   +2,271
Human beings are not meant to sit in boxes all day, virtual communication does not stimulate the brain in the same way face to face communication does. Depression and anxiety have shot through he roof, suicides and domestic violence have increased, and people are becoming restless.

We are supposed to be....surprised by this? Many of us were calling this out way back when the lockdowns first started.
 

CBTex

Posts: 78   +128
These shutdowns are the most short sited policies ever enacted on such a wide scale. No consideration was given to negative effects to mental health, education, physical exercise, or destruction of small businesses.

But, but, but 100,000 dead in 3 months! Big freaking deal. About 240,000 people die every month in the USA. Most of the people dieing didn't have much time left for this world. 1,000 children shouldn't get lower quality education so great grandma Florence can get two more years of life in a nursing home.
 
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ShagnWagn

Posts: 1,297   +1,081
1,000 children shouldn't get lower quality education so great grandma Florence can get two more years of life in a nursing home.
I agree with your post except for this as it's a bit over-the-top insensitive. "Florence" should be able to choose to isolate herself or accept the risk and live as normal. She could also choose to take precautions as asking her visiting family to wear masks/disinfect before seeing her.
 

CBTex

Posts: 78   +128
I agree with your post except for this as it's a bit over-the-top insensitive. "Florence" should be able to choose to isolate herself or accept the risk and live as normal. She could also choose to take precautions as asking her visiting family to wear masks/disinfect before seeing her.
Fair enough comment. My statement might have been slightly hyperbolic.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,065   +4,867
To go back to the topic, A great many of the people you contact for therapy, are in therapy themselves. That bodes ill, and an uphill battle, for some crap you download with your phone, to supposedly make you sane.

Besides, it's usually your HMO that decides when you've had enough "therapy".

How does that make you feel? :rolleyes:
 
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