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While approximately 20% of US adults experienced mental illness in 2020, only 46% received treatment (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, 2021). Barriers to accessing behavioral care are decreasing with telehealth, while the need for treatment is increasing. Mental health therapy apps can help clinicians bridge the gap, but only if clinicians know how to effectively use apps in their clinical practices and beyond to increase access to behavioral health information, support, and interventions worldwide. 

Therapy App Issues of Concern

A clinician’s ability to select and incorporate therapy apps into treatment plans needs to be improved because most therapists obtained their basic education before apps existed. Since then, finding accurate and helpful information has been challenging. Detailed, evidence-based information about mental health apps has been lacking.

Need for Regulatory Oversite

The problem of prescribing or suggesting healthcare apps is compounded by regular technology updates and how they may influence the use of apps by clients and patients. The magnitude of the healthcare app industry’s rapid growth issue has incurred regulatory oversite, involving efforts such as the 2017 pilot effort embodied in the publication of the Federal Drug Administration’s “Pre-Cert Pilot Program.” This program is only one of the agency’s attempts to develop regulations that allow enough flexibility while providing the safeguards needed to regulate the exploding healthcare app industry, especially those involving therapy apps.

Meanwhile, there is an urgent need for clinicians to understand the use of mental health apps, including therapy apps. For example, recommending healthcare apps requires knowledge of an app’s stability over time. Most recently, this need prompted a research team to study these issues.

Recent Study of Therapy App Issues…

From Telebehavioral Health Institute – Read More

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