During the pandemic, feelings of fear, insecurity, confusion, emotional isolation, anger, sadness, worry, numbness or frustration, changes in appetite, energy, desires and interests, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, difficulty sleeping or having nightmares were common symptoms among people.
These symptoms cause stress, anxiety and stigma, which trigger mental health conditions or exacerbate existing ones.
According to the World Health Organization survey, “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide.” Although 89% of nations suggested in the survey that mental health and psychosocial guide is part of their countrywide COVID-19 response, solely 17% of these countries have full additional funding for protecting these issues.
There was a sharp decline in clinical practices for mental health issues during the lockdown and self-isolation period. As a result, guiding and monitoring psychosocial needs and delivering support in one to one interaction between patients and the therapist at clinics was not possible.
The disaster — combined with years of mental health care finances cuts, rising demand for mental health care, and at present, scarcity of both therapists and one to one interaction, appeared to be a big tension. If treatment needs were delayed or undetected, there was a serious risk that pre-existing symptoms would worsen and that new cases of mental illness would emerge.
The disaster management — when the world was running digitally, digital sources for mental health support also came into the limelight as the medical technology industry turned its attention to the needs of people with mental illness and introduced new apps to support these individuals.
There are multiple apps that range in complexity and utility, depending on the individual’s condition. For example, some apps simply suggest deep breathing and relaxation techniques to help manage stress and anxiety, whereas other apps are mood tracking apps to help those suffering from depression and bipolar disorders.
Some apps provide sessions with professional support for those undergoing cognitive or dialectical behavioural therapy.
There are already approximately 10,000 intellectual health and health apps available for immediate download, supplying a wide range of services ranging from information to medication monitoring, coaching to telepsychiatry and symptom tracking to assist groups.
Some examples: InnerHour, an application with 4.5-star ratings on Google Playstore. Therapy-based self-care tool for depression, anxiety, stress and sleep concerns.
Wysa, an application with a 4.8-star rating with 1 million+ downloads. It is packed with daily spiritual meditation that improves mental health and is also a perfect way to bond over family meditation.
Speaking to Psycom, Sal Raichbach, PsyD, LCSW, said such apps have the ability to reach people who would in any other case no longer get hold of assist by disposing of the limitations to treatment. He added that the best mental health app “will also have mental fitness practitioners on board, prepared to answer questions, plus a 24/7 support hotline for greater severe cases”.
Another psychologist, Tanisha Ranger, has used a range of intellectual fitness apps with her sufferers and finds that they are useful in assisting her patients to continue to be connected. However, she argues that they ought not be used as a choice or alternative for usual treatment.
Speaking to Times Higher Education (THE), Professor of Clinical Psychology at King’s College London, Dame Til Wykes, said, “It’s comprehensible to desire to make use of digital technology; however, we ought to solely be the usage of matters that we recognise work. A lot of these apps are produced and launched without suited proof or peer-reviewed research of their effectiveness.”
Psychologist Jean Otto concurs, including that apps will now not replace usual therapy, even in the future.
Though evidence helps the use of smartphone-based apps as an automobile for intellectual health cure delivery, there stays a debate around whether these apps have established excessive efficiency.