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Using Mobile Apps to Support Behavioral Health and Wellness

In April 2022, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and NRI hosted a webinar to highlight ways in which mobile apps can be used to support behavioral health and wellness. Featuring Lance Washington, NRI; Garth Falkins, Care Resources PACE; and John Torous, M.D., M.B.I., of the Division of Digital Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the discussion included timely and relevant information for people working in the fields of addiction and substance use. Between 10,000 and 20,000 mobile apps are available for behavioral health and wellness, as Lance Washington reported. With so many apps available in app stores, identifying appropriate mobile apps to support behavioral health outcomes can be a challenge. In this discussion, the presenters highlight the value of MindApps, a tool can be used by providers or organizations to search apps to make recommendations for individuals receiving services.

image of MindApps

MindApps uses nine search criteria, such as whether the app meets HIPAA privacy policies or if the app focuses on support for substance use, that can help professionals identify appropriate digital tools.

Barriers to accessing behavioral health services can include the costs, travel times to appointments, and poor relationships with providers, as noted by Washington. Mobile apps have the potential to bridge gaps in care. However, while many apps make claims about the benefits they offer related to behavioral health, Dr. Torous notes that only 2% of those apps can back up those claims, emphasizing the importance of accessing and utilizing mobile apps with evidence and clinical foundation supporting their use.

Source: Washington, L., Falkins, G., & Torous, J. (2022, April 5). Use of mobile apps & technology to promote behavioral health and wellness [Webinar].

Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies.