According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15% of adults aged 60 and above suffer from a mental disorder across the globe. Dementia and depression among the elderly have emerged as public health issues. A recent report released by New York city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reveals that at least one in five adults in the city suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and other psychological disorders. With ever increasing demand for efficient and robust mental healthcare services, the global mental health software market is expected to flourish in the near future.
Adoption of Mental Health Software Applications for Smartphones to Increase
The mental healthcare sector is one of the most neglected fields across nations. It is surprising that when the number of patients suffering from mental disorders rises at an alarming rate, the mental healthcare sector faces budget shortfalls across the globe. Technology might fill the shortfall and emerge as an effective medium to deliver mental healthcare services.
Researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia have pointed out the problems faced by mental health patients under Community Treatment Orders (CTO). A perceived lack of empathy and understanding among some of the mental health workers restrict the patients from opening up. As mental health service delivery is complex and challenging, the workers need high level skills. Nowadays, patients are increasingly relying on technology to communicate about their mental health. Mental health software applications are gaining acceptance from hospitals and clinics, social workers, psychiatrists, counsellors, psychologists, nurse practitioners, and group therapists.
With the rapidly growing usage of smartphones, apps are being developed to monitor mental health. According to physicians at Harvard University, smartphones might prove as a dependable source of data for treating patients suffering from depression. The mental health software apps, coupled with electronic health records (EHRs), can provide significant information about a patient’s mental well-being. Presently, cloud-based mental health software applications are being preferred over on-premise applications. In fact, the cloud-based mental health software segment is expected to expand at a CAGR of 24.2% during the period between 2015 and 2021.
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Traditional Therapies Being Converted to Software Applications
Some of the traditional and effective but time-consuming mental disorder treatments are transformed into software applications. For example, the traditional cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been made into game-based CBT or e-CBT that is effective for depression and anxiety disorders. Game-based or computerized mental health software is also effective for the treatment of impulse disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.
The usage of mental health software therefore, is expected to increase by many manifolds in the near future. Researchers are working on apps that can analyze an individual’s behaviour on social media platforms to consider his or her mental state. In the coming years, it would be interesting to see the growth of the global mental health software market with the advancements in technology.