Dr. Levy's CBT Blog
Insights on Well-Being, Contentment, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
You’ve surely seen a number of mental health apps in your App Store or Google Play. With over 10,000 titles out there, it is nearly impossible to miss them. Indeed, VC investment in behavioral health apps has been growing continuously and the overall market for health and wellness apps is already estimated to be above $1.6B. Should you too be looking for a mental health app?
The short answer is it depends. Apps can be quite useful if you’re functioning at a high level, feeling good overall, and just looking for a boost in your mood, relaxation, or a change of pace at the end of the day. If, however, if you’re feeling overly stressed, depressed, anxious, or just not quite yourself, apps alone won’t do the trick. They should be used as an adjunct to psychotherapy with a trained professional.
Unfortunately, the behavioral app space is highly unregulated these days. Most apps are for-profit, and have little to no data to support their marketing claims other than their own internal research (or wishful thinking). There are no assurances that HIPAA regulations are observed within the apps. Before you invest your time and money in a new app, it is worth checking out some reputable directories that have already done some of the research for you. I suggest:
In CBT treatment, I often prescribe mindfulness-based apps such as Calm, Insight Timer, and Headspace as nice little boosters to fight anxiety and increase relaxation, but recognize that their benefits are limited if there are more substantial mental health issues at play. If that’s the case, your best bet is to work with a therapist to learn new skills to change old patterns and behaviors first. And then pick an app – or two or three - to support you post-treatment.
Dr. Daniele Levy is a licensed psychologist offering CBT via Teletherapy from Menlo Park, CA. Her background uniquely combines leading edge training in behavioral sciences with deep expertise coaching and mentoring working professionals in dynamic organizations.