According to an American app market intelligence, last year, there was a 29 per cent rise in the consumers of first-time downloads of top 20 mental wellness app. Studies suggest that app stores are a host to 20,000 mental health apps. Now, if the app makers wish to survive this cut-throat competition, they not only ought to cater to the demands of the consumer but also create an ecosystem that is favourable for all.
Experts claim that in the coming days, the mobile health industry is expected to reach a market size of $60 billion.
In this article, we will discuss how to convert your idea into an app, crucial features that make a mental health app get millions of downloads, regulatory guidelines for mobile mental health providers, cost development and a lot more.
How to build the foundation of an app?
From the moment the idea of an app pops up in your head till it is uploaded on the app store, there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into it. While research and collaborating with therapist plays a great role in making the foundation of your mental app strong, we have pointed out a few more points that one should consider.
- Define your target audience
According to World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent study, around 264 million adults around the globe have anxiety. Out of which, 179 million are female (63 per cent) and approximately 37 per cent are male. Owing to our fast-paced life, the prevalence of mental disorders has increased by a whopping 55 per cent. The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is surely taking a toll on people’s mental health. Now, the first question that should pop into the app designer’s mind is ‘who am I making this app for?’. In addition to this, the app maker also must cater to a broad range of genders. And for the app to grow, addressing the demographic is truly vital.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old are affected by the disorder. And as you grow older this per cent grows on increasing. So, age, gender and location form the basis of finding your target audience.
- Find your niche
There are several mental health disorders. Depending on your purpose and functionality you should decide on the categories that you wish to focus on. A generic app won’t fetch a large audience, however, if you are clear of the type that you want to focus on, it will be easy to attract a certain set of audience. Your app’s foundation depends on the recce you do. So, usually, a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behaviour, and relationships with others can fairly describe a mental disorder.
Do your homework by following several mental health associations, understand the stats and research the various types of mental illness thoroughly before deciding your niche. Collaborating with a therapist or professional doctors will be a boon as they will guide you in the right direction. Before starting your work on the app, we recommend you visit the sites American Psychiatric Association App Evaluation Model and WHO. These portals will help you access things on several key criteria. The three major categories that one should consider is Mental disorder apps, Mental self-improvement apps, and General mental health apps.
- Mental disorder apps
These are one of the most reliable types of apps. They focus on a few of the most common mental disorder such as depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. Further, these apps provide help by connecting the patient to a professional doctor or therapist. Moreover, it gives them a chance to connect with other individuals who are going through the same issue which increases connectivity.
- Mental self-improvement apps
As the name suggests, these apps attend to people who have a clean prescription of not having any sort of a mental disorder. However, not suffering from any mental health issues does mean you don’t have any problems. These people are the ones who are experiencing debilitating mental issues.
- General mental health apps
These apps are for the general public whether or not they suffer from a mental illness. The connectivity is immense. The guidance provided by the on-call therapists or doctor is life-changing.
- Value proposition
What you offer and deliver is what you get in return. A genuine app will survive any storm and the consumers ashore will rely on the value proposition offered by the founders. Define your approach and offer an end-to-end solution. Your value proposition must provide:
- Affordable rate
- Quality process and flexibility
- 24-hour support and guidance
- CTB-based tips
Add these features to fetch millions of downloads
So, you are in this for the long run. Once you have selected your audience, done with your research and spent enough time with the therapist understanding the mental illness segment – now you must figure out how to make the app more appealing. Once the consumer trusts your app, you are sure to go places. What tops the list though is the safety and security option. Assure your clients that their data is secure with the app. In addition to the trust factor, there are a plethora of facets that will make your app worthwhile.
- The appearance
While you are hoping to keep the look of the app creative, do not forget to keep it simple at the same time. Mind the colours that form the palette of the app. Bright colours are a complete no-no. Currently, nude, and pastel colour will make for a great pleasant look. Do not cluster the app, as people are viewing it on their phone. Make space as much as possible. Plot a grid and stick to it. Also, consider the different mobile sizes and operating systems.
- Follow a UX approach
Keeping in mind your target audience, stick to a user-friendly approach. Meet the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) needs and expectations.
To manage their stress, people usually like to self-monitor their daily checks. The app should contain tabs that monitor – mood, sleep cycle, food habits, thoughts, feelings, and symptoms.
- We care about you
Do you know that being empathic is one of the most appreciated values? And considering the times that we are living in; users will appreciate notification and reminders that will motivate them. It is difficult to keep a track of all the things and that is when the reminders will come in handy. Notification of a motivational quote every morning will get them going for the rest of the day.
- Tiggers and self-care
Consumers should be given a tab to monitor their triggers. Once the triggers are analyzed, appropriate self-care tips should be provided.
- Music to your ears
Incorporating a tab of soulful music will do wonders for the app. It will be a one-stop mental health app. It is clinically proven that music therapy can reduce anxiety and depression. It increases their self-esteem and verbalization, motivates them while keeping them emotionally safe.
- Success stories and community
Knowing that someone who has gone through the same ordeal and has overcome it will motivate the patients to hold their fort even stronger. People seek positive communication, support, and acceptance. Being a part of a community makes them feel included.
- Meditation for all
Meditating daily reduces the stress that causes most mental illness. Provide videos of simple, easy, and guided meditation.
This seems like a far-fetched idea but provided the services of a GPS tracker will surely help the patient’s family. For instance, suppose a patient who is suffering from a severe mental illness has gone out for a walk or anything, and unfortunately due to the triggers, they are unable to find their way home. In such cases, the family can easily track them and get them home safely.
- Matching clients with the therapist
When the client enters the apps for the first time, make sure to ask them all the necessary questions. After analyzing them efficiently, prepare an algorithm that matches clients with righteous therapists.
Any sort of feedback will help your app grow. Include a feedback section wherein the clients can pen their suggestions.
Guidelines and Regulations
Client data is of utmost importance. It must be stored as per the guidelines provided by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy standards. Also, to avoid criminal law and civil penalties, make sure that the mental health services are provided by a professional and licensed therapist. Encrypting app data is crucial. Provide verified passcodes and usernames. Biometric authentication will add to the security of the app. Here are a few other regulations to adhere to.
- FDA and FTC guidelines: Before claiming on what your app is going to offer, go through all the rules and regulation set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Apps that target just the symptoms with taking into consideration the diagnose are exempt from FDA oversight. FTC takes strict action against consumer frauds.
- HIPAA compliance: Healthcare app developers need to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) depending on the data that they are procuring from the clients. To figure if your app falls under HIPAA, answers the following questions:
- What is the magnitude of the data collected?
- Who is using the app?
- Will the app be used by a covered entity (doctor, hospital, or health plan)?
Costing of the app
The cost of building an app depends on pre-build, development, post-development, licensing, features you decide to add, marketing, and the number of hours spent in making the app. If the coding and development are done in-house, then the organization will take care of the rest. However, if you are looking to hire someone to develop the app, the location of the hired developer will largely determine their hourly rates. As per a survey done by a leading web development and digital marketing company, here are the country wise hourly cost for building an app.
Country Chargers (per hour)
US and Canada $50 to $250
India $10 to $80
Australia $50 to $150
Eastern Europe $20 To $150
Western Europe And The UK $35 To $170
Let’s work together!
One needs to understand the sector that they are venturing into. As mentioned, mental health is one of the most burning topics these days. Hence, measurable, and careful steps should be taken to design the app that will change the lives of many. Factors like trust, information backed by clinical research, privacy and resulted-oriented solutions are what your target audience is looking for in the app. The look of the app will depend on the perspective audience and classes of mental health apps that you wish to focus on. And most importantly, the features that will form the look of the app will be decided by the problems that your target audience face.
We are sure that your vision to create a mental health app is a million-dollar idea. With this, you have achieved one of the most aspects of starting a business. We suggest you partner with us and we will take care of the rest. Now take a seat back and relax while we build an app that will touch the lives of many and get you the highest number of download hits!
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