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American’s Top 5 Mental Health-Related New Year’s Resolutions for 2023: Can Apps Help Us Keep Them?

  • January 04, 2023
  • Healthy living for mental well-being, Patients and Families

Some 40% of American adults are stressed about their mental health. Nearly three in 10 expect to make New Year’s resolutions related to their mental health, according to a national poll from APA conducted in early December. Half of young adults (aged 18-34) are planning to do so. Among adults of all ages, nearly three in ten (29%) expect to make a mental health-related resolution.

Among adults who say they will make a resolution focused on mental health, the top resolutions are:

  1. Exercise more – 65%.
  2. Meditate – 45%.
  3. See a therapist – 38%.
  4. Focus on spirituality – 37%.
  5. Take a break from social media – 32%.

Other mental health-related measures mentioned for New Year’s resolutions include journaling (28%) using a mental health app (23%), and seeing a psychiatrist (21%)

These results are from the Healthy Minds Monthly Poll by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) fielded in early December among 2,212 adults.

Can An App Help to Sustain a Mental Health Improvement Plan?

An estimated 10,000 mental health apps are available today, and it can be quite a challenge to find one that will work for you. Mental health apps offer a range of uses and services, such as connection with a clinician for virtual therapy; guides for relaxation and meditation; tracking mood, symptoms or medication; help with journaling, mindfulness, physical health exercises, and deep breathing; peer support; chatbot interaction; and biofeedback.

A new free online resource, MIND (M-Health Index and Navigation Database), can help sort through the vast array of mental health apps. The resource, from a collaborative research group at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center*, is designed to “equip users with the information necessary to make a decision based on the app characteristics that matter most to them.”

The site does not assign a score to each of the apps, rather, the database enables the user to select and sort on a number of aspects including mental health conditions supported, features (such as mood tracking, therapy, meditation, peer support, journaling, and more), cost, uses (self-help, reference or both), and others. The site also has a search feature or users take a short quiz to help navigate through the choices.

Each app entry in the database is informed by the answers to 105 objective questions. Examples of the questions include:

  • Who is the app developer?
  • How much does the app cost?
  • What features does the app have?
  • Is there a privacy policy?
  • What kind of user data does the app collect and is that data shared?
  • Is the app evidence-based?
  • Is the app able to share data with external parties, like family and providers?

The developers of the MIND website also note a few cautions when looking to use mental health apps.

 

  • Apps may offer incorrect or misleading information and they are generally not regulated.
  • Many claims made by apps have not been evaluated and there are still many unknowns about the use of technology-based interventions.
  • Some apps may not securely protect the personal information that they collect, and some may sell personal data without clearly disclosing it to users.

*The database and website were developed by the Division of Digital Psychiatry, a collaborative research group at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliate in Boston.

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