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On World Mental Health Day, ORCHA reports that the use of mental health apps is still on the rise

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ORCHA’s researchers have been watching trends in the use of digital health for mental health support.

ORCHA is the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps. It is the world’s leading app review and distribution organisation and in the UK has created libraries of safe, top-quality apps in 70% of NHS regions.

Now, six months on from the launch of the government’s COVID-19 MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING RECOVERY ACTION PLAN, ORCHA reports that:

  • The use of mental health apps is STILL on the rise
  • The use of apps to support depression has increased by a further 86%
  • Use of apps to help with self-harm prevention has increased by 76%
  • More and more NHS Foundation Trusts are supplementing their mental health provision with mental health app libraries

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns saw a 200% increase in the use of mental health apps. But far from falling away to pre-pandemic levels, the use of mental health apps has continued to grow at an average rate of 55%.

Founding CEO of ORCHA, Liz Ashall-Payne, said

“High quality mental health apps have more than proved their worth during the pandemic and beyond. We’re working with some superb NHS trusts and CAMHS teams around the UK to create bespoke libraries of accredited mental health apps to support their clinicians, including trusts in South West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Surrey.”

ORCHA is also now working with partners Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, its charity CW+, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and West London NHS Trust to develop an app library that will form part of the youth-focussed Best for You programme, which is officially launching in November.

Liz added:

“Studies, including one in The Lancet*, have shown that e-therapy can actually be more effective than face-to-face therapy – and less costly. Clinicians are increasingly looking at patients holistically and including mental health support as part of wider care pathways supporting stroke recovery or weight management, for example. Health apps are a perfect way to provide this extra support.”

 

5 TOP FLIGHT MENTAL HEALTH APPS, RECOMMENDED BY ORCHA

 

Anxiety

7 Cups: Anxiety & Stress Chat

Founded by a licensed psychologist, 7 Cups is 100% CONFIDENTIAL and offers over 160,000 trained listeners and licensed therapists to choose from. Listeners provide support across 189 countries and in 140 languages. Each listener has a profile with reviews and a list of categories that they specialise in, ranging from panic attacks and bullying to eating disorders, surviving a breakup, and more.  An app user said, “I got undivided attention from someone who cared for the first time in a really, really long time.”  Another said, “Talking anonymously with a listener made me feel safe enough to really open up.”

ORCHA score: 79%

Available for iOS and Android

Free chat 24/7 or paid upgrades available for further features

 

Depression

Feeling Good: Positive Mindset.

This app uses relaxation, cognitive behavioural therapy and resilience building techniques from sport to help improve positive feelings, self-esteem and self-confidence. The main offering is a 12-track positive mental programme which is available as an in-app purchase. The programme has been used by the NHS in Edinburgh for the last 12 years to help those recovering from stress, anxiety and depression. One user said, “This is the best thing that ever came into my life. My mental health nurse recommended it to me.”

ORCHA score: 79%

Available for iOS and Android

Free with additional in app purchases

 

Teen mental health

MeeToo

MeeToo makes it easy to talk about difficult things and is for anyone aged 11+. Age banding means you chat with people who are a similar age to you, so you can get advice from people of a similar age. And every single post is checked by a moderator before it goes live, so there is no bullying, grooming or harassment. A user said, “MeeToo really turned my life around, no exaggeration! 2020 had been a really crap year for me, then my social worker and crisis worker introduced me to MeeToo. The atmosphere of this community is just amazing! The members are so sweet and the advice is really helpful.”

ORCHA score: 81%

Available for iOS and Android

Free

 

Sleep

Pzizz – Sleep, Nap, Focus

Pzizz helps you quickly quiet your mind, fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed. It uses “dreamscapes” — a mix of music, voiceovers and sound effects designed using the latest clinical research — to help you sleep better at night or take power naps during the day. Users said: “I love Pzizz… Best I’ve used by a mile” – J.K. Rowling, Author

“Give Pzizz a try! Love that app and it helps me fall asleep or nap on command.” – Daniel Weinard, Co-founder of Shopify

ORCHA score: 73%

Available for iOS and Android

Classic Pzizz is free. Pzizz Pro requites a subscription after a trial period

 

Self-harm and suicide

distrACT

This app provides easy, quick and discreet access to general health information and advice about self-harm and suicidal thoughts. It helps you understand urges to self-harm and encourages you to monitor and manage your symptoms. There’s advice and support information, including emergency contact numbers, how best to work with healthcare professionals and safer alternatives to self-harming. The app has been created by UK health professionals together with people with lived experience of self-harm and experts in self-harm and suicide prevention.

ORCHA score: 81%

Available for iOS and Android

Free

 

 

*The Lancet, July 2020 – EClinicalMedicine: A comparison of electronically-delivered and face to face CBT in depressive disorders

For more information on Best For You, visit cwplus.org.uk/best-for-you/

About ORCHA

Founded by NHS clinicians, ORCHA is the world’s leading digital health evaluation and distribution organisation. We provide services to national health bodies across three continents, including the NHS in 50% of UK regions, delivering national accreditation frameworks, bespoke Digital Health Libraries, and professional recommendation tools, specific to the needs of our clients. ORCHA’s unique Review Engine assesses digital health solutions against more than 350 measures across Clinical/Professional Assurance, Data & Privacy, and Usability & Accessibility, plus additional criteria depending on needs.

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