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Are mental health apps a good solution for anxiety, depression?

We use apps to monitor our weight, track our workouts, and even check sleep patterns -- but do they work when it comes to mental health? The answer isn't as simple as you may think.
We use apps to monitor our weight, track our workouts, and even check sleep patterns -- but do they work when it comes to mental health? The answer isn't as simple as you may think.

Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Depressed? You are not alone. Fifty-six million Americans are suffering from anxiety or depression.

“There are some very serious challenges going on in our society right now and it sort of makes sense that people would feel more anxious about it.” psychotherapist M. Clark Canine explained.

We use apps to monitor our weight, track our workouts and even check sleep patterns. But will they work on our mental health? Are they safe?

From learning coping skills to therapy, stress relief, meditation and more, there’s an app for that. But do they actually help?

“I think people that are relying on these apps are doing themselves a disservice,” Canine said. “If you break your arm and you take a bunch of pain pills, you’re going to feel better, but your arms not fixed.”

Apps could be spiking in popularity because they’re more affordable than therapy. But could you be risking your mental health in the long run to save a few bucks?

“That’s one of the challenges of some of the online services,” Canine said. “You’re not really sure that the person you’re going to meet is a person you’re going to work with well.”

But apps can be a step in the right direction.

“It’s a great start. That’s a great introduction,” Canine said. “But (you have) to take the next steps to actually take control of what’s happening and improve yourself and improve your life.”

Privacy is another reason people are choosing an app over in-person therapy. Many people are ashamed of the stigmas around having mental health issues, and apps provide the safety of participating in their mental health journey from their own home.

If you are battling depression or having suicidal thoughts, experts agree it’s better to talk to a person. You can get help right now by calling the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.