The Potential Downsides of Mental Health Apps

Mobile apps provide users with the opportunity to obtain desired information 24/7. The prevalence of using electronic technology among the general population gave rise to thousands of apps encompassing hundreds of topics that include health and mental health. There are approximately 165,000 apps concerning health and mental health that are easily obtained free of charge or for a nominal fee. The apps claim to help people living with anything from addiction, anxiety or depression to schizophrenia. However, in terms of mental health issues, the apps may have some shortcomings to consider.


No Regulation

Medical specialists may combine efforts with engineers to design and create apps for mental health. However, presently there are no regulating agencies to ensure the information offered concerning mood, medications or other treatments is necessarily sound. Few apps have undergone medical scrutiny.


Of all the available mental health apps, 14 designed for bipolar or major depressive disorder have been officially reviewed by mental health professionals. Seven apps for psychosis were reviewed. The evaluations revealed that the programs offered little in terms of effectiveness and were not necessarily deemed as being safe.


Thus, there is no way for users to know whether the recommendations or therapies provided are safe or effective. Dissatisfaction with a mental health app might also dissuade someone from seeking one-on-one professional help.


Privacy Issues

Mental health apps may require users to submit personal information concerning symptoms, habits, medications or other data. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires that health information remains private and inaccessible to anyone except the patient and their health care provider. Unless the app provides some form of security measure, personal information might be obtained, used and abused by other people. Before installing an app, potential users must ensure that the program is biometrically authenticated, password protected or both. All data should also be encrypted in the event that the mobile device becomes lost or stolen.


Lack of Customization

Two people diagnosed with depression may differ greatly in terms of the severity of their symptoms and treatment needs. Mental health apps must also be flexible enough to accommodate patients who span the spectrum of specific mental health issues. Unfortunately, many apps do not fulfill the need to be diverse in terms of information. Thus, once again, they are rendered ineffective.

Herrick Lipton is the CEO of New Horizon Counseling Center in New York and is also an advocate for mental health. For more information about Herrick or to get in touch with New Horizon Counseling Center for resources, please visit or call 718-845-2620.

Best Apps for Meditation and Mental Health

Best Apps to help you relax title (1)

Some of the latest apps are specifically designed to help people manage their mental health. Some of these apps offer great advice and management techniques and even include meditation and other mind-body exercise tips that can help people achieve greater mental clarity. Here are a few of the best apps for meditation and mental health.


Anyone who is new to the art of meditation and wants to learn the most effective techniques will greatly benefit from this app. Through a series of 10-minute daily exercises, users are able to establish habits that help them incorporate meditation into their everyday lives. The app’s settings include reminders and allow people to choose meditation exercises that focus on themes like performance and overall health.


Although this app is designed especially for teens and other young people, anyone can benefit from the features available that help manage anxiety. This app teaches the user how to face anxiety head-on, making it easier to conquer certain obstacles. Tools cover topics such as social anxiety, panic, worry, and tips on how to deal with conflict. Users learn ways to ride out intense emotions and how to overcome anxiety that holds them back in life.

Relax Melodies

Since getting enough sleep is crucial for good mental health, this app is particularly beneficial for anyone who struggles with insomnia. The app includes many different music selections that can elicit feelings of relaxation and tranquility and make it easier to fall asleep faster. Additional calming sounds are included, which can be useful for activities like meditation and yoga.

PTSD Coach

Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect people from all walks of life, and this program helps users screen and track many of the symptoms. Reliable information and treatments are also included in order to make it easier to handle stress symptoms. More than 100,000 people, many of whom are military personnel, have downloaded this app and found its features to be highly useful.

Simply Being

Developed by Meditation Oasis, this app is another example of a great program for meditation. A soothing voice guide takes users through a series of meditation sessions that range from five minutes to a half an hour in duration. The app also includes music and has helped many people reduce their stress levels and improve their sleep.

DBSA Wellness Tracker

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offers this app to enable people to keep track of their overall moods. Users can also learn more about mood disorder symptoms and medications along with their side effects. A monthly report is provided to notify everyone of their monthly mental health trends, and this information can be given to mental health specialists to devise more effective treatment plans.


While these apps are not substitutes for professional counseling, these are great tools to have to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and take control of your stress, sleep schedule, and overall mental health.

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