In this new age of medicine, everything is being heavily digitized. It makes more sense to look up solutions on the internet instead of actually going through the process of seeing doctors offline. And it makes more sense in the case of mental health consultation. People who suffer from mental health issues tend to turn for help to sources that involve less human interaction. This may be because it takes time to open up to a stranger, that too in person.
As technology advances, more and more apps are being created to serve patients who are struggling with mental health disorders. The patients are looking for mental health software, similar to these apps that help them cope with their mental well-being. However, not all apps end up being the most effective. Therefore this blog is going to cover the top features that an on-demand mental health app should include. But before we dive into the top features, let’s talk about what exactly is mental health and the issues related to it.
What is Mental Health?
It is the ability to cope with life’s stress and to overcome the negative thoughts caused by tough circumstances. Its development takes place at every stage of an individual’s life. A person’s well-being is reflected in their decisions and life choices. Their emotional, psychological and social wellness all contribute to their mental health.
What are Mental Health Issues?
Mental health issues affect your thought process, frame of mind, and behavior. Depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors are some of the issues on the list. According to Singlecare.com, mental health issues and substance use disorders affect 13% of the world’s population. This figure could rise as people around the world seek refuge and adjust to a new normal in the midst of the global pandemic.
Now that we know the meaning of mental health and the issues related to it, let’s talk about what features should be used in mental health app development.
Top Features for a Mental Health App:
1. Texting, audio & video messaging
The app should include texting, audio & video messaging features. This will help the patients in getting online mental health consultation from the therapists. They can access any feature based on their level of comfort. If they aren’t comfortable talking over audio or a video call, they may communicate with their therapists via the chat option. This flexibility encourages them to share their problems.
2. Availability of therapists at all times
Online mental health consultation should be available for any patient who is in urgent need of it. A mental health app should allow them to connect with a therapist at any hour of the day. This feature will help the patient put their mind at ease. The app can include a feature that notifies a therapist every time a patient needs them. It will work even if they are offline. Therapists who sign up to provide services may cover all hours of the day. For this, they may follow a slot system where each therapist has to be available for the said hours.
3. Sessions and webinars on mental health
The app should allow the patients to attend weekly sessions and webinars. The agenda can be related to the importance of mental health and how to fight the issues related to it. These sessions should be accessible by all the patients. They can also be provided certificates after completing each session or webinar. This way they can treat it like a milestone that they have achieved while fighting their issues.
4. Easy to use User-Interface (UI)
A mental health patient needs a platform that is easy to understand and easy to access. If the user interface is too difficult to use, the patient may give up taking help from the app altogether. The design of the app should be human-centered and shouldn’t include any complexities. Anybody using the app should be able to navigate through it without facing any inconvenience. An easy-to-use interface will encourage patients to use the app on a regular basis.
5. Calming templates
The user interface (UI) & user experience (UX) design of an app should include colors and visuals. The UI should bring peace to the patients’ minds. They can include templates with pastel shades that seem to give a calming effect. This will motivate patients to take help from the mental health software. Bold and vibrant visuals may frustrate the patients. It may even drive away the opportunity of helping them in the first place.
6. Daily reminders with positive messages
Even if the patient is not using the app, they should receive daily reminders that evoke positivity in them. It will prevent them from feeling any kind of anxiety or depression. These messages can appear as notifications on the mobile of the patient. Since people with mental health issues tend to overthink this feature may make them think in the right direction. Eventually, it might even stop them from thinking anything negative altogether.
7. Daily progress tracker
Everybody likes to know if they are improving. Therefore, a mental health app should include a daily progress tracker. It should be visible to both the patient and their therapist. This tracker will collect data on all the tasks and sessions the patient has been attending. Then it will create a statistical chart or graphical representation. The graph will indicate the progress of the patient on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.
8. Activities that improve mental health
Sometimes just talking to a therapist may turn out to be very monotonous for the patients. They need to take part in activities that prevent them from throwing themselves into anxiety or overthinking. Whenever they aren’t feeling well and don’t want to talk to a therapist, they need to take part in activities like meditation, art & craft, dancing, etc. This will help them put negative thoughts away and focus on the good vibrations that these activities generate in them.
9. In app rewards to motivate the patients
To ensure that the patients are consistent in their progress and use the various features of your mental health app in order to improve themselves, they should receive some in-app rewards on achieving certain milestones so that they get encouragement. It can be either discount coupons or vouchers which motivate them to move ahead in their progress. The rewards may also include free sessions that will further help them in gaining something worth their while.
10. Option to join support groups
People struggling with similar issues come together to form a support group. These support groups encourage people to share their mental health journey in a non-judgmental environment. Everybody shares their own story and opens up to other individuals like themselves. This helps them overcome their hesitancy to share about their struggles. It also encourages them to explore coping strategies to fight their issues.
11. Encryption of patient’s data
A patient’s data is confidential and should be encrypted at all stages. Anybody who gets access to the patient’s data may use it for the wrong reasons. They may misuse their personal information. This can emotionally and mentally traumatize the patient. To avoid this, it is important that the patient’s data is concealed. It should only be accessible by the patient or their therapist. HIPAA or GDPR compliance shall be used to protect the patient’s data.
The above features are of utmost importance when it comes to mental health app development. If you want to create an app that is helpful to mental health patients, Panther is the right platform for you.
We specialize in providing on-demand consultation applications. In this engagement model, we become your technology partner, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of building a team to run and maintain the platform. Panther is a highly customizable product and you can modify it at your convenience. Our technology experts have built a user-friendly interface that allows you to create a consultation marketplace according to your requirements. Book a consultation call with us, and we will guide you through the process.
How to Develop the Best Mental Health App in 2022