PSYCHOLOGY & RELATIONSHIPS
As a Psychologist I could not step away from the phenomenon of mobile and smart technology as it grew over the last few years. I felt that I had to develop a platform that does not only cater to our hedonistic needs, but also offers a unique opportunity to assist with mental health and personal development. Our mental health is something extremely personal and immediate so what better platform to work on issues such as stress, depression or anxiety within our own comfort and pace than smartphones.
PROVEN STATISTICS IN MOBILE APPLICATIONS
The tendency towards mobile grows each day promising to leave web in its wake. Over 70% of the population in the western world own and use a smartphone daily, with 19% of the app downloads being around health in general. Various entrepreneurs who are apprehensive about mental wellbeing have already launched wildly successful apps such as Headspace (over 6 million active users) or Pacifica, but there is always a very important ingredient missing: scientific validation. Some medical platforms such as WebMD, Babylon Health and Doctors on Demand make sure you get primary care within minutes; psychologists have been a bit reluctant about entering the mobile space. If you think about it, it is very good to be conservative with mental treatment; a careless word or false information can do immense damage to the recipient and negativity is unfortunately one of the symptoms of mental illness.
I think there are far better ways of offering responsible, ethically sound and yet effective mobile mental support, evidence based platforms.
On my exciting journey with the app I developed, PsycApps, I learnt so much more about the people suffering from depression, their symptoms and how it affects every aspect of their lives than I did at university. Looking at other applications that treat psychological issues, such as Sleepio and Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM), it is clear that evidence based apps will become an integrated part of our everyday lives, guiding us through difficult emotional situations and helping us manage the seemingly unmanageable dark dog: depression.
For example, if you are stressed out from travelling to and from work, or the anxiety Brexit brought with it seems overwhelming, why not look at the app store, as it may offer a simple, private and evidence based solution to your problems? That is what we are trying to achieve at PsycApps: for you to be able to step off the plane where you went through your emotional health questionnaire that tracks your mood, do a few therapeutic exercises to soothe your frayed nerves and between ordering a car home and a restaurant on the way, book a session with a therapist before dinner. In that example, you have the best of all worlds: technology working hand in hand with humans.
To download PsycApps, visit the appstore. For more information about Silja Litvin’s work, visit: Psychologyandme.com