Feeling down? There’s an app for that.
Anxious. There’s an app for that too.
Sleepless nights got you moaning and groaning? Guess what?!
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!
But is it what you think?
The world of online education, gaming, and social media engagement has been a melting pot for mental health experts to harness and utilize to further their research, engage with more patients, and spread their knowledge. A vast majority of mental health applications are downloaded and used by the consumer, who hopes that their ten minutes of meditation or conversation with an online chat bot can help them better understand what they are going through, and how to deal with it.
Mental health is seen as one of the fastest growing industries for in the digital world. With over 1,000,000 apps, online courses, and ebooks readily available, every service and asset claims to have the hidden key to harnessing and controlling your mood and emotions. Taking into account the global pandemic happening as we speak, hundreds if not millions of users will be downloading and uploading content and applications in hopes of seeking a little bit a peace throughout these uncertain times.
The downside that has the potential to really cause harm in this sector of digital media is that apps fail, systems can overload, and websites can crash. So what happens when we are in the midst of listening to a podcast and easing our minds, or having a conversation with our therapist as we are going through an anxiety attack? The numerous end products that are being released daily can have very severe consequences if not taken seriously, and not regularly updated.
We haven’t really looked into the countess mental health apps in depth enough to really see if they have had negative consequences. Of course, one likes to think that all that are created will only see positive outcomes, but in reality, there a positives and negatives to every app and every service. That is not to be read from a pessimistic standpoint, but take this for example:
When someone talks to a therapist, they might not like that therapist. When someone tries meditating for the first time, they might not like it. There are multiple ways that an app can fail to the consumer, and keeping the consumer in mind, their reaction might not be what we had programmed the app to be used for. But that is how these things go.
Applications, much like mental health, are trial and error. To say that this app will help you sleep better or this one will calm you down is a very overused word for promotion. If we are to really help those struggling with mental illnesses, we should focus less on what “will” work, and focus more on what could work for the individual. Give the people more options than just soothing words or ten minutes of waterfall sounds. Give them the ability to explore their options at the touch of a button, utilize what they feel to help them find the best way to help themselves, and above all, don’t make promises.
Apps and social media platforms and services are just a couple ways that could help you get through your mental health journey. Just make sure that you explore all the options before putting all your eggs into one basket.