Mobile Health and Mental Health: The future is Now!

mobile health

This post presents a summary of a research paper published in 2017 that investigates the importance of the design of mHealth solutions to effectively communicate key health and mental health messages.

We’ll cover:

  • Apps and smartphones
  • Apps vs. the Health Literacy of the Consumer
  • All of Me mMental Health Solution

In recent times, we are seeing an increase in mobile health solutions to support and train mental health.

Health services, and in particular mental health services, are overloaded and you often have to wait weeks for a counseling appointment.

This is a global issue.

So much so that mobile health or mHealth applications have evolved in the past two decades to become a major health communication channel for delivering health care, promoting good health and tracking health behaviors.

Therefore, of significant importance, are the design and delivery methods developed by mobile health developers.

User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) have never been more critical to assist in the effective delivery of mental health messaging and training content.

Apps and Smart Phones

Mobile health applications have become popular in the past decade, supported by the huge take up of mobile phone adoption.

In the US and Australia, it’s estimated that 95% of adults have and use a mobile phone.

mHealth applications have become a recognized delivery method for health and mental health communication and training as recently noted in the KPMG report and recommended as a mainstream support service by the Australian Regulator, Safe Work Australia.

Mobile health applications play an important role in supplementing and extending traditional delivery channels of mental health support, e.g. face-to-face counseling services, printed materials, presentations and lectures, and TV, radio, and movies.

Examples of mHealth include:

  1. Provision of ‘virtual’ treatment to patients via who can’t easily access health care.
  2. Internet-based and telephone services that provide health information via text messages or phone calls.
  3. Websites that publish information on mHealth and mMental Health.
  4. Wearable devices, e.g. fitness trackers.
  5. Apps that are downloaded to smart phones to provide health information and support, often linked to other resources and services available on the internet.

The list of health and mental health services via apps is growing and this delivery method is gaining significant global support mostly due to the 24/7 connectivity and immediate delivery of information.

In addition, as technology improves, delivery methods of mobile health is accommodating consumers needs delivering information and support, via text, audio, images, video, games, artificial intelligence, etc.

Apps vs. the Health Literacy of the Consumer

Technology is rapidly improving and there are so many new features on our phones and so many apps available that it’s hard to keep up.

Designers can get carried away with the tech, but fail to consider the end consumers capacity to interpret the health message and interact successfully with the mobile health application.

This is known as health literacy which is defined as

The ability to accurately interpret and use relevant health information and resources to achieve their health goals.

When we’re ill, or our mental health is declining, we find it hard to absorb information, therefore it is imperative that mobile health developers design and use simple message systems that are easy to understand.

Developers must consider:

  • Design that includes visuals such as images, animation and audio to convey key messages.
  • Delivering key content via storytelling.Building in predictive analytics and
  • Using artificial intelligence to learn about consumer habits to adapt and improve the delivery of critical messaging to consumers.

mMental Health Solution

Tap into Safety offers mobile mental health training delivered online and via smart devices, anywhere, anytime on relevant workplace topics that impact mental health.

The solution is the next step in managing workplace mental health and is using the design recommendations presented in this article:

  • Design that includes visuals such as images, animation and audio to convey key messages.
  • Delivering key content via storytelling.
  • Building in predictive analytics.

mobile health

For businesses investing in workplace mental health,  the solution helps by intervening early to support worker mental health better by providing relevant and interactive workplace wellbeing training.

The solution offers ‘one click away’ from help to reach out for support (on average only 5% access their Employment Assistance Provider when 20% have an issue right now – stigma plays a huge role here).

Clients have experienced a 100% increase in help-seeking activities when using the solutuion, as part of their wellbeing programme.

By encouraging help-seeking early, we reduce the escalation of serious stress claims. This supports employees to reach out and tell us when they are not well or not feeling as good as they should.

Finally, the psychometric measurement tool (animated, gamified DASS-21) is a world first in its use across organisations, that together with our filters, enables them to pinpoint groups of staff in mental health decline so that they can target and tailor their wellbeing education programmes to support improvement.

This not only saves them money; their programmes are now more effective.

Try a free demo.

 

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