This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Priya Prakash. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Will Mental Health Apps Replace One-To-One Therapy Sessions?

More from Priya Prakash

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.

man silhouette
Representative Image.

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.

woman using phone
Representative Image. (Source: flickr)

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.


  • Everyone has access to smartphones and when you can’t afford therapy or can’t manage to go outside during the pandemic but are struggling to handle your mental illness alone, you can seek help by just downloading an app.
  • These apps are reasonably priced or most often free.
  • These apps also allow for privacy and confidentiality and can be safe for individuals.


  • Most of the apps have a set of questions, Patient Health Questionnaire(PHQ-9), that are common for everyone and don’t make effective remarks on everyone’s condition.
  • Most of the apps are not used after downloading on a regular basis.
  • These apps have a lack of proven effectiveness.

What Experts Say

Representative Image.

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.

You must be to comment.

More from Priya Prakash

Similar Posts

By Olipriya

By Rachana Priyadarshini

By Promit Jalal

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below