Where to Begin with Mental Health App Development?

Sergey Avdeychik

Sergey Avdeychik

Director of Healthcare Technologies at Andersen

Aug 5, 2022
8 minutes to read

Today, people are more vulnerable to mental health issues than ever. Our lives have been affected by the pandemic and the recent war that has entailed economic uncertainty and posed an unprecedented challenge to society. All this encourages people to seek psychological help and turn to technology that supplements and enhances the work of therapists. In this piece, Andersen’s healthcare software development experts are sharing insights on mental health app development to consider when creating a solution.

Statistics and market overview

Studies on how the pandemic has affected the mental health of adults show that about four in ten US residents are experiencing different forms of mental health issues. At the same time, the global use of mobile apps is increasing exponentially, and advanced technology is becoming more affordable. This means the majority of healthcare workers consider mHealth solutions as effective tools for providing better patient care, while more and more people are becoming aware of the advantages that digital solutions can offer.

Currently, the global mHealth apps market amounts to $43.5 billion, growing by 11.8% annually. Via such apps, users monitor their vital signs, collect and transfer health data, get statistics and reports, seamlessly interact with healthcare providers, and more. All this improves quality of life, reduces expenses on healthcare, and streamlines the work of medical staff.

U.S. mHealth Apps Market

The most popular types of mental health apps

The majority of mental health apps belong to one of the following categories depending on the problem they solve.

Apps for anxiety and depression management

These solutions normally include features for assessing the current mental state of users, tracking their mood, and educating them on the ways to cope with related conditions. The apps can be integrated with tools for meditation and sleep trackers and can enable patients to talk to an AI-powered chatbot or a therapist.

Apps to deal with addictions

These solutions can supplement regular sessions with a specialist or help with the self-control of one’s addictive behavior. The apps include features for progress tracking and analytics. They can also have embedded gamification elements, e.g. the collection of coins or other bonuses.

Solutions for coping with food addiction also fall into this category. Their main features include calorie and weight trackers, meal calendars, and educational materials on healthy nutrition.

Apps for self-improvement

Such apps are meant for people who want to change their behavior patterns and thus improve the quality of their lives. They include functionalities for setting goals, scheduling exercises, and having coaching sessions, as well as integration with educational platforms.

How can you benefit from creating a mental health app?

Let’s consider who benefits from using mHealth solutions.

App users

Apps improve users’ well-being in the following ways:

  • Getting help becomes more affordable and available to a greater number of people;
  • Those who hesitate or are not sure whether they should see a therapist can start by using an app first;
  • Users can remain anonymous when getting insights on sensitive topics;
  • Apps provide convenient access to services round-the-clock and from any place.

Healthcare facilities

Dedicated software solutions enhance the performance of clinics in the following ways:

  • Mental health apps are a valuable supplement to live therapeutic sessions, as they allow for in-depth analytics of patients’ conditions;
  • Such solutions streamline and automate day-to-day operations: booking appointments, making reports, sending and storing test results, etc.
  • They collect statistics on different mental health conditions, allowing healthcare facilities to use them in research and thus improve their services.

Custom software development companies

As governments pay special attention to the healthcare industry, mental health app developers get the opportunity to:

  • Enhance their image by helping people cope with socially significant disorders;
  • Enlarge their expertise in delivering best-in-class healthcare software in accordance with the latest technologies and industry trends.

What features does an outstanding solution include?

If you are wondering how to develop a mental health app that will win an audience and bring you profit, consider embedding it with key useful functionalities. Users who are seeking to receive help for their mental conditions need the features described below:

Profile creation and signing up

In this step, users need to specify their personal and health information, fill out questionnaires, attach test results and doctors’ opinions, and choose a subscription plan when applicable. Since transferring and storing sensitive information is involved, multi-factor authentication must be ensured, including login with biometrics.

Condition monitoring

This feature can take the form of questionnaires, a diary for making notes, tools for collecting vital signs an