With this app, finding support for mental help would be as convenient as searching for a nearby restaurant. The apps provide exercises to reduce self-criticism, de-stress and worrying, methods to make your life seems more meaningful, strategies for a sound sleep, and mantras to accentuate your strengths.
Most apps crafted for mental health usually offer a single strategy to feel better or offer too many features that make it complex to navigate. Users may get overwhelmed or bored any may stop using the apps after couple of weeks.
But this was not the case with IntelliCare app, as the participants took active participation and used the apps as many as four times a day, or on average 195 times for almost eight weeks. They spent an average of one minute using each app, with longer times for apps comprising relaxation videos.
The 96 out of total 100 participants who completed the study stated that they experienced almost 50 percent reduction in the severity of anxiety and depression symptoms. The short-term study associated reductions are comparable to results expected in the clinical practice using psychotherapy or with what that is seen utilizing antidepressant medication.
“We introduced such apps so they fit easily into regular lifestyle of people and could be utilized as simple as apps to identify a restaurant or directions,” says head author of the study David Mohr, lecturer of preventive medicine and director of the Centre for Behavioural Intervention Technologies at the North-western University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“Few of the participants kept using the app after the study because they felt that the app helped them feel better,” confirms Mohr. “There were numerous apps to try during the research, so there was a sense of novelty.”
Participants had access to the 13 IntelliCare apps from Google Play and obtained eight weeks of coaching for the use of IntelliCare. Coaching comprises an initial phone call linked with two or more text messages per week over the eight weeks. In the research, 100 participants were enrolled and 96 of them completed the study.
“Employing digital tools for mental well-being is emerging as an essential part of our future,” says Mohr. “Such apps are designed to help millions of people who want to avail support but cannot go or feel shy going to a therapist’s office.” Almost 25% of Americans have major symptoms related to anxiety and depression each year, but only 15% of them get the adequate treatment. The Intellicare algorithm suggests novel apps each week to keep the experience fresh, offering novel opportunities for learning skills and avoid user boredom
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