How to Develop a Feature-rich Mental Health Solution

“How to Develop a Feature-rich Mental Health Solution”

The problem of mental health is on the front burner now more than ever. The statistics are chilling. In the United States alone:

Source: National Alliance on Mental Health

Knowing how challenging finding the right therapist can be – both psychologically and financially – it’s important to find the right tools for managing your mental stability in critical situations. And a mobile application, if designed and used properly, can prevent mental health issues and mitigate their negative effects.

In this article, we discuss medical mobile applications for dealing with issues of mental health. You can check out the list of features we think would work great for these apps and look through a list of solutions already available on the market.

Things to include in a great mental health app

There are no secrets to making a mental health tool. The advice is all the same: eat well, sleep well, exercise more, stick to a routine, try to analyze your thoughts, and so on and so forth.

Here are some practices that can help people manage their mental health, along with corresponding app features.

Following a schedule

Routines keep our minds in check. There’s nothing better than a step-by-step guide on what to do, especially when everything else seems unmanageable.

A calendar, a checklist, a set of reminders – these features can help users keep their lives in order. As a bonus, you can add a reward system for completing a certain number of tasks. This way users will feel motivated to do a little more the next day, and even more the day after, keeping up their progress and continuing to improve along the way.

Getting a good night’s rest

Quality sleep is crucial. People who get enough rest at night tend to be more stable and resilient in handling the complexities of life.

A sleep tracker or a sleep analysis feature can help those attempting to work on their sleeping habits. Designed for manual input or synced with a sleep analyzing device, these features provide users with insights about their sleep patterns and help maintain stability and productivity throughout the day.

Keeping triggers in check

Specific events can trigger negative reactions in people experiencing mental health issues. It’s important to know what those triggers are and recognize them beforehand to protect yourself from the negative consequences.

A feature for marking down triggering situations can help users analyze them and devise a set of appropriate responses. Users can then discuss these situations with a therapist and figure out the best ways of dealing with them.

Taking medicine on time

Some people have to take medicine at specific times throughout the day. A set of reminders with alerts can help them stay on top of that.

Incorporating relaxation into the daily routine

Mindfulness is a great way to improve everyday life. Breathing techniques, guided and unguided meditation, prayers, positive affirmations – these are just a few of the features you might incorporate into your solution.

Writing it all down

Journaling helps people sort out their thoughts and understand what’s going on inside. As not everyone is comfortable with physically writing down their thoughts and feelings, a journalingfeature could be a portable and secure solution.

Finding a like-minded community

Dealing with stuff is easier when there are other people around you who are also dealing with it.

Incorporate a community feature into your application – offer text or video chats, let people share progress and set goals, and so on. This can help users know that they’re not alone and can help to pull them through hard times.

Examples of successful mental health mobile applications

Depending on their severity, mental disorders require professional psychological or psychiatric assistance. Mobile applications can be helpful in addition to an existing line of treatment, but cannot and should not be used as a standalone solution.

Coping with bipolar disorder

Image credit: Christian Sampson

iMoodJournal

Price: $1.99

iMoodJournal is a personal journal that lets users record their moods, symptoms, sleep patterns, activity levels, and medication intake. This lets people follow their behavior patterns on summary charts, see what might have caused any distress, and work to resolve such situations in the future.

Stigma

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Stigma uses word cloud technology to recognize words that people use the most when describing their feelings. This helps people reflect on changes in their moods and attitudes. There’s also a social networking aspect to Stigma, which allows messaging, sharing journal notes, and receiving feedback and support from others.

T2 Mood Tracker

T2 Mood Tracker sorts moods into six categories: anxiety, depression, head injury, stress, post-traumatic stress, and general well-being. Once users start registering how they feel, the app organizes that information in charts and graphs to represent changes in their condition. Users can also write notes to themselves marking changes that might have happened in their lives (major life events, changes in medications, and so on).

Tackling obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Image credit: Christian Sampson

nOCD

Price: Free

The nOCD mobile application helps to mitigate negative effects of obsessive compulsive disorder by combining two approaches: mindfulness and exposure and response prevention (ERP). Patients can quickly receive clinically-supported guidance, take weekly tests to assess changes in their disorder, and receive motivational support from the app.

Worry Watch

Price: $2.99

Worry Watch helps users figure out their anxiety triggers, mark mood trends, reflect on episodes from the past, and incorporate this information into their professional treatment. Worry Watch serves as a personal diary, providing a place to track and analyze moods and worries.

Live OCD Free

Price: $29.99

Live OCD Free guides patients through exposure and response prevention (ERP) treatment, allows them to create practical goals, and provides a number of tools to deal with an OCD episode.

Addressing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Image credit: public domain

PTSD Coach

PTSD Coach was created by the VA’s National Center for PTSD. The application offers PTSD self-assessment, positive self-talk, anger management, and support. Users can customize tools based on their preferences and integrate their contacts, photos, and music playlists to create a safe and stable environment for when they might need one.

Breathe2Relax

Price: Free

Breathe2Relax is an application developed by the US National Center for Telehealth and Technology. It works for people suffering from PTSD by helping them breathe and reminding them that they’re okay. It’s a great immediate solution in response to a sudden PTSD episode.

Managing schizophrenia

Image credit: Christian Sampson

UCSF PRIME

Price: Free

UCSF PRIME is a mobile application developed at the University of California in San Francisco. It aims to create a community of young adults with schizophrenia. It also offers users an ability to set and track “challenge goals” – things they want to accomplish and improve about themselves.

Combating eating disorders

Image credit: Christian Sampson

Recovery Record

Price: Free

Recovery Record helps people recover from eating disorders and perceive their bodies in a more positive way. The app lets users keep records of what they eat and answer questions to assess their mood and track their recovery over time.

Rise Up + Recover

Price: Free

Rise Up + Recover offers users the ability to keep track of their meals and the feelings they have when eating. An important feature is that users can print out their progress as a PDF file and show it to a professional if they wish.

Lifesum

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Lifesum is an application for establishing and following a healthy lifestyle regimen. Users can set goals to eat healthier, exercise more, walk more, and so on. It can be life changing for those with a distorted self-image, showing them that there are more ways of being healthy and beautiful than they might think.

Overcoming addictions

Image credit: Christian Sampson

Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Price: $5.99

Twenty-Four Hours a Day is based on a book by Richard Walker. It offers 366 meditations from the book to help people take their minds off addictions and shift to a more constructive mindset.

Quit That!

Price: Free

Quit That! is an iOS application for tracking and stopping habits. Users can track harmful behaviors, see for how long they’ve managed to stay away from them, and follow their progress.

12 Steps AA Companion

Price: $2.99

12 Steps AA companion is the official Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) mobile application. It includes a digital version of The Big Book, which is used in AA groups around the world. The app lets users read the book, highlight text, adjust fonts, and search by topic. There are also morning and evening prayers, the ability to take and share notes from AA meetings, and contact information of local and national AA support groups. The app’s icon was specifically designed to be discrete and protect user anonymity.

Squirrel Recovery

Price: Free

Squirrel Recovery is a mobile application for people recovering from heroin addiction. It uses social support and positive reinforcement to help people stay on the path to recovery. It lets users set up a support system of contacts and then sends notifications to those contacts reminding them to check up on the person who’s recovering. There’s also a panic button that can be used to immediately notify all support contacts that the user is experiencing cravings. For achieving certain milestones, users receive coins and encouraging motivational quotes.

AA Speakers

Price: $0.99

AA Speakers is a mobile application that allows users to listen to addiction recovery speakers, workshops, and audio books. It includes more than 300 different speakers, an audio recording of The Big Book, The Joe and Charlie Big Book Study, and The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.

recoveryBox

Price: $1.99

recoveryBox allows users to track their daily lives on a calendar, color coding it in red, yellow, and green. Green represents positive activities that help with recovery, red refers to negative behaviors that do the opposite, and yellow indicates warning signs. Color coding helps users understand which particular behaviors further their progress and which hold it back. Users can set goals, receive green lights for reaching them, and then share success with their friends and loved ones.

Tackling depression

Image credit: Christian Sampson

Talkspace

Price: Free

Talkspace is a mobile application that makes therapy portable and affordable. For $49 per week, users can discuss their issues with a licensed therapist as often as they need. There’s also an option for couples therapy for the same price.

Happify

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Happify is a mood training application that helps users achieve a better state of mind. With different games, activities, and prompts, users can train themselves to overcome the darkness in their minds and cultivate a more positive view on life.

MoodTools

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

MoodTools helps people recover from clinical depression. Users can take a depression assessment test, track their recovery over time, write down thoughts and feelings, and create a suicide prevention plan.

What’s Up

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

What’s Up helps people cope with depression, stress, and anxiety by implementing cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance commitment therapy methods. The app includes a positive and negative habits tracker that identifies what helps users recover and what is counterproductive. What’s Up offers different activities to pull users out of negative thinking patterns and help them think about the good parts of life.

MoodKit

Price: $4.99

MoodKit offers more than 200 activities that implement cognitive behavioral therapy to improve the user’s mood. It teaches people to change the way they think, develop self-awareness, and cultivate healthier attitudes toward life. Users can also reflect on their day by journaling, noting their thoughts, and documenting how they’ve overcome the day’s obstacles.

Relieving stress & anxiety

Image credit: Christian Sampson

MindShift

Price: Free

MindShift was developed specifically for teenagers and young adults suffering from stress and anxiety. It helps users change the way they see anxiety, shifting their minds to a calmer, better place. It encourages people to take charge of their lives, face challenges upfront, and turn away from the intensity of their negative feelings.

Self-help for Anxiety Management

Price: Free

Self-help for Anxiety Management is meant for people who want to deal with their anxiety in ways other than meditation. The app teaches users 25 different self-help techniques and lets them create their own 24-hour anxiety kit for tracking anxious thoughts and behaviors. There’s also an online community where people can communicate and support each other confidentially.

CBT Thought Record Diary

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

CBT Thought Record Diary lets users document their thoughts and negative emotions, evaluate them, identify the negative aspects, and see the world in a better light. This application helps people change their approach to anxiety gradually and work to improve their thinking for the future.

Pacifica

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Pacifica uses meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy to help people overcome stress and anxiety. It also offers an option for tracking mental and physical health, setting daily goals, and writing a thought diary.

7 Cups

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

7 Cups is an online chat where users can talk to trained active listeners, tell them about whatever is bothering them, and not be alone when trying to understand the complexities of life.

Achieving mindfulness through meditation

Image credit: public domain

Headspace

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Headspace offers various types of meditation – both guided and unguided – to help users understand themselves better and tackle life’s obstacles more easily. It’s subscription-based but offers ten free sessions for the trial period.

Calm

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Calm helps users achieve a calm and mindful state of being. With beautiful backgrounds and a wide variety of meditations, Calm takes users away from the complexity of life and gives them a place to find peace of mind.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Stop, Breathe & Think offers guided and unguided meditations based on a user’s mood. First, it asks the user to choose several words to describe their mood, then presents a number of meditations that best fit that mood. Whether someone is experiencing sadness, despair, frustration, or anything else, Stop, Breathe & Think has a meditation for it.

Developing a mental health mobile application

The market for mobile applications focused on issues of mental health is actively growing and developing. Although there are many applications available already, some of them cater to only one mobile operating system.

If you would like to develop a mobile application that helps people address their mental health problems, contact our sales department to start today.

Interested in learning more about mHealth mobile applications? Check out our post about doctor-on-demand mobile apps.