Aspects to consider when developing a mental health app

Kevin Nguyen
Nov 4 · 4 min read

Besides physical health apps, mental health apps are born in the high rate of mental illness. Technology now can be utilized to communicate with patients and help them control their mental health effectively. Here are some tips for mental health app development.

What is a mental health app?

A mental health app is designed to help people get over their mental illness such as depression, anxiety or increase focus, happiness and calm. Mental health apps are for people who can’t afford traditional therapy or can’t adapt in-office treatment for some reason.

Things to consider when developing a mental health app

Define a type of mental health app and its target audience

Like physical health apps, there are various types of mental health apps that serve different groups of users.

- Mental disorder apps: these apps help users to handle various disorders like depression, schizophrenia. Since mental illness is a sensitive and serious problem, mental disorder apps are just considered as supporters for traditional therapy so these apps must have doctors on board. That’s the reason why some apps provide specialized support 24/7, open chat with doctors and offer some tips, mood training programs. Another function is sharing. These apps support connections among users and build communities.

- Mental self-improved apps: these apps help people to find balance in busy and pressure life by monitoring their mood swings, cultivating positive thinking and breaking bad habits. Some of them allow users to connect with in-app psychologists to handle mental problems.

- Mood tracking apps: these apps help users to control their mood swings which lead to mental illnesses. The core value of them is to collect the user’s mood in a period, make analysis and give out therapy. There are various ways for users to define their feelings and emotions. Some of these apps let users choose an emoticon that shows their current mood best. Others allow users to pick up adjectives that describe their emotions. Also, these apps allow users to set a period to make more accurate therapies.

- Meditation apps: these apps provide some pressure-management and relaxation tips advised by mental health professionals. People can find some breathing lessons, audio relaxation or meditation sessions which are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) in these apps.

On the other hand, you can find some apps which include all of the above things.

What does a mental health app need?

Let check these suggestions if you plan to build a mentor heath app by outsourcing dedicated software development team or using in-house team

Self-monitoring

This function lets users track their mental health condition such as feelings, moods, and thoughts and record them. This data plays an important part for doctors to give out treatments. Also, self-monitoring is a must-have feature of a mental health app.

Push notifications

This function will remind users to practice mental treatments such as jogging or hobby that are designed for their mental problems. Mental illness needs time to recover so it is necessary to add notification features to the app. However, don’t abuse it for any purpose except treatment to avoid annoyance and stress for users.

Messaging and chats

This function is mostly used in mental disorder apps to connect users and doctors. Through apps, doctors reply to their patients in a fixed number of times per day. You should provide different communication methods such as voice, text or live video to allow users to choose their comfortable channels.

Dashboard for mental health professionals

Mental health professionals should have private dashboards for their owns to manage patients’ information and record their treatment process. This data is collected by customizable surveys and securely sent to doctors’ dashboard. Doctors will use it to analyze users’ health condition and give out suitable treatment.

Sharing

This function allows users to share their experiences or treatment process on social media channels for families, doctors or even other users who have the same mental problem. Some apps can support users to export data and send them to email.

Support communities

Mental illness needs sharing and understanding. Patients need to find support from someone who suffers from the same situation and wills to listen to them. App developers can create a space for users to discuss and share about psychological problems to others. This not only makes the treatment process more effective but also gain customer’s brand loyalty. To activate this feature, apps can allow users to open forums or create a group chat for discussion.

Mental health is a serious issue so the development process of mobile app must be more careful than physical health app. Before developing, you should discuss with doctors about the side effect of this app to avoid unexpected consequences related to users’ health.

Kevin Nguyen

Written by

Software Development — Mobile App Development — Website Solution Development

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