There was once a point in time where if you were suffering from any mental health challenge, the only way to get support was through an in-person consultation with a therapist or other healthcare provider. But as technology has evolved, so has our approach to treating mental health. Now, people around the world have a new alternative to get the help they need with the touch of a button or a quick download of a smartphone app – no office visit required. And as we know, with great change comes new consumer expectations and new brands we can learn from on how to build the best digital mental health experiences. Let’s take a look. 

Don’t just say what you can do; prove it

Mental health apps have been making bold claims over the years regarding what they can do for their users. Unfortunately, some often come across as too good to be true. Consumers today don’t want to be inundated with “fluff”, they need proof that your app or program is backed by science and can actually help them accomplish their goals.

Brand Example: Headspace. Recognized as one of the leading apps for themed meditations to help reduce stress and promote restful sleep, Headspace is a popular choice among therapists. One of the most notable benefits of the app is the scientific rigor behind its practices. They provide clinically validated research on their product, have an in-house science department and are currently in-process on more than 65 research studies to validate their approach to meditation.

Give them a reason to keep coming back

Being able to easily access a mental health program or app doesn’t always guarantee adherence with it. In fact, getting users to come back after their first visit happens to be one of the greatest challenges health and wellness brands in the digital space tend to face. That’s why incorporating activities and interactive touchpoints is even more important to keep engagement high and worthwhile.

Brand Example: Happify. It’s never easy to help people break old patterns and form new habits, but Happify is one mental health app that knows how to keep their users on track. Incorporating engaging mini-games and activities dedicated to promoting positive well-being and interactive tools such as a “happiness score”, the app finds small, intuitive ways to help users stay on track of their progress and keep them coming back for more.

Ease their minds with proper privacy practices

When you think about the kind of data that gets shared, there’s a lot of personal and sensitive information being captured in mental health apps – the kind of info you wouldn’t want just anybody to know about. That’s why it’s imperative for digital brands to have clear and concise privacy policies that protects its users and keeps them aware of what data collection they may be opting in to.

Brand Example: WEconnect. Understanding the privacy policies of most digital apps is no easy feat; there’s a ton of technical jargon and pages of content to read through. But thanks to MIND (M-Health Index and Navigation Database), it’s now easier for consumers to make more informed app choices based on important criteria such as privacy, features and scientific evidence. One of their top-rated apps is WEconnect, a digital program designed to guide and empower users’ personal growth and recovery from substance addiction. Unlike most other apps, WEconnect is HIPAA-compliant, has a clear privacy policy in place and allows users to delete their own data and opt out of data collection for more control over what’s being shared.

About the Author:

Khye Tucker is an Innovation Strategist in Columbus, OH. With a passion for writing and a background in communications, Khye strives to bring brand stories to life through a fresh perspective, innovative thinking and creative storytelling.