There is a huge demand for mental health care and support in the UK.
It is estimated that in the past week, 1 in 6 people experienced a common mental health problem.
This has invariably led people to turn to technology to actively alleviate symptoms, or simply provide support and information.
Given the often complex and personal nature of mental health, any apps or platforms designed as a means of support face a number of challenges, especially in regard to accessibility, functionality and confidentiality.
So, what are your core considerations for trying to build a mental health app or platform?
Who is this digital solution for? Perhaps an obvious question, and one that is necessary for all app and platform development but given just how varied and complex mental health can be, this needs to be a primary consideration.
Mental health apps can be for any demographic and any condition. They can be tailored to the various behavioural and physical conditions which arise from mental health, or they can be created with a specific mental illness in mind, providing support, information & treatment.
Active Treatment or Support?
What does your digital solution offer? There are thousands of apps and platforms designed to support and alleviate mental health and they come in a variety of forms which provide active support, information, or even contact with a specialist.
Is the app designed to enhance self-awareness, or improve mood? Will it require a function which allows users to monitor and document their emotions? Does it need to incorporate notifications and reminders? Is the app for active recovery, or to help provide comfort in times of crisis? All of these need to be considered in regard to the functionality of the app or platform.
Privacy & Confidentiality
A sense of safety and privacy is integral to the design of any mental health app or platform. It is possible the app will need to contain personal information, and this will need to be stored in line with GDPR standards and HIPAA standards if it is available in the US.
Also, if the app does require personal information, be it in the form of diagnosis or personal contacts, how will this be encrypted and stored in a safe and effective manner?