Appy day: could we fix our mental health on our phone?


The world’s mounting mental health crisis isn’t just about the vast numbers of people falling ill. It’s about the tiny number of people available to treat them.

Wherever you live, it’s highly probable that there simply are not nearly enough psychiatrists and psychotherapists. The overwhelming majority of countries have fewer than 200 psychiatrists for every million people.

The result is often long waiting times, eye-watering fees for private attention and/or the overprescription of antidepressants by family doctors with few other options.

Now, however, technology is seeking to fill the vacuum with a formidable dashboard of apps, chatbots, avatars and digital counsellors that promise everything from daily check-ins and mood tracking to cognitive behavioural therapy and preventive “mental health hygiene”. The big question is: are they any good?

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 27/03/19]