Mental health apps need to think outside of the box and target individuals and families in addition to employers, according to GlobalData Financial Services.
Mental health has become a more open and widely discussed topic over the last few years. In response to this, many apps have emerged which help people track, manage, and improve their emotional health.
Many have been created by experts in psychological science, helping to bring developed therapies of cognitive behavior therapy to the masses.
Happify is an app which seeks to help users overcome stress and negative thoughts, and to build resilience by taking part in activities and games.
Each user receives a happiness score that they can track. It also has a blog of happy news, inspirational stories, and advice.
Find Circles is an app which connects a small group of people at a similar lifestage and who face similar challenges, for instance being a new mum or those at university. Users in each circle receive daily tips, and can talk via the app. They also take part in activities as a group, such as reflecting on a podcast.
Mental health apps
Joyable gives each user a trained coach who they can talk to by phone, text, or email. Users can also take part in five-minute activities such as thinking about their values, or reflecting on their thoughts.
These apps have the opportunity to make a real difference to individuals’ lives. However, the large majority of mental health solutions are only targeting employers as a way to gain customers. This is very short sighted.
It is true that targeting employers will likely result in a higher number of users with less marketing budget. However, it means that an individual who is looking for a solution often will not be able to access a service.
This is similarly true in insurance. In the UK, Aviva, Munich Re, and AXA all have wellbeing apps, but again they are only offered through employer, group policies.
It is time for mental health solutions to think outside of the employer-shaped box. Insurers could extend their services to individual protection policies, for example. Or if targeting individuals is still too narrow, how about targeting families? A solution could mimic Netflix, with a subscription comprising multiple users with their own personalized platforms.
The platform for teenagers and young adults could surround exam stress, starting a new school/university, or the impact of social media on body image. For parents it could include work-life balance, money management, or looking after their children and elderly parents at the same time.
In addition to targeting issues faced by individuals, it could also have the scope to improve wider family dynamics. Similar to Find Circles, propositions could provide tasks that the whole family can get involved in. It could also act as a means to help families discuss and deal with difficult topics or events that may impact family dynamics, such as divorce or the arrival of a new baby.
Mental health impacts everybody and solutions should be available to all – not just employees.
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