14 Nov Top 5 digital platforms for therapy
Technology is definitely transforming the way to perform mental health treatments. A notable advantage is its accessibility to a wider audience, thanks to the popularization of devices such as mobiles and tablets, which give access to complex treatment sessions from anywhere in the world.
This also translates into lowering the cost of therapy, which democratizes health treatments, making them less dependent on the income level of individuals. On the other hand, the proliferation and development of online therapies, based on Apps or RV, are also born to try to minimize the figures of mental health problems published by the World Health Organization (WHO), which concludes that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some time in your life.
The institutional support for the development of new technologies with this technology is also definitive and beneficial since it is estimated that in Spain the cost of mental health problems is 3% and 4% of the Gross National Product (1).
The digital services that are transforming the way of doing therapy
We analyze 5 platforms or development paths highlighted within the technology-based therapies.
‘Kooth’ is an online mental health support service for children and young people. This App gets rid of the traditional barriers of mental health networks: it has no waiting lists or cost and is completely anonymous. Launched in 2004, currently, more than 1,500 UK children and young people connect every day. Another similar is ‘BoosterBuddy’, a free application designed to help teenagers improve their mental health. Guide users through a series of daily missions designed to establish and maintain positive habits, verifying how they feel each day, keeping a record of appointments and medications, or following self-care routines.
Apps to control anxiety
‘Wysa’ is an app that supports users in times of stress, anxiety, sleep problems or loss of loved ones with techniques backed by research such as CBT, DBT, yoga, and meditation. It also offers self-assessment, tips, and exercises.
Artificial intelligence to predict disorders
Every year, between 7% and 26% of the population of developed countries experience depression, of which only between 13% and 49% receive minimally adequate treatment (2). AI allows to offer premature diagnoses of this disorder. A recent Forbes article publishes an interesting application of AI through the “World Welfare Project” (WWBP) platform, which analyzes social networks with an artificial intelligence algorithm to select linguistic clues that can predict depression. (3)
Virtual reality is transforming psychological therapy. At Psious, we offer a solution for psychologists that facilitates the application of RV in clinical practice. An all-in-one tool that combines state-of-the-art VR glasses, biofeedback sensors to monitor patient reactions, and the platform with more than 70 controlled environments to each clinical case.
In development: “behavioral biomarkers”
Depressed patients do not pronounce the vowels in the same way as people who are not depressed. Their smiles are also smaller. Similarly, people with psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, raise their eyebrows often by looking away. Applications that detect mental illnesses through facial expressions, voice or language, an interesting and delicate way of self-diagnosis and monitoring of mental disorders are currently under development. We will be attentive to them.
Online services still settling in, must check the qualifications of developers and experts in a demanding manner and, in spite of profiling as valuable tools, they should not replace face-to-face therapy with a trained professional.
1 VVAA. (2005) Invertir en salud mental. Departamento de Salud Mental y Abuso de Sustancias, Organización Mundial de la Salud, 8, 8-9.
2 Demyttenaere K, et al., WHO World Mental Health Survey Consortium (2004) Prevalence, severity, and unmet need for treatment of mental disorders in the world health organization world mental health surveys. JAMA 291:2581–2590
3 Johannes Eichstaedt (2019), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2.
You may also be interested in: