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Mental Health Apps: How Safe Are They?

Mental health awareness has never been higher. Anxiety, despair, and substance addiction are finally being taken seriously, and individuals are seeking assistance. For example, during the epidemic, about 30% of Americans saw a therapist. Unfortunately, not everyone can provide the services of a private therapist.

As a result, self-help applications that appear to provide affordable mental health care are on the rise. But, unfortunately, even though many of these apps are based on actual psychological theories and procedures, they always lack cybersecurity.

Many of the rules that relate to the health industry do not apply to mental health apps. For example, they might not guarantee that patients’ data will be kept safe and confidential.

Apps for Mental Health as a Treatment Option

We’ve witnessed a substantial increase in telemedicine over the last few years (or remote healthcare). Virtual consultations with healthcare specialists are simple to book. They can get digital prescriptions or call for assistance. In addition, they may usually use online tools to deal with mental health problems.

Young adults are progressively turning to social media as an alternative to therapy, whether through therapist-created films or specific social media communities. As a result, health experts wonder if people can rely on an app to help them overcome their mental challenges.

We should expect a rise in mental health app users as these apps grow smarter thanks to AI and natural language processing developments. While they aren’t always the ideal alternative to face-to-face therapy, they are the most cost-effective, which is why they’re becoming more popular.

Data Gathered via Mental Health Apps

Some mental health apps may not be affiliated with any medical facilities. As a result, they are profit-driven businesses. Offering subscriptions or charging for virtual consultations is one method to do this. In more extreme cases, apps may sell their users’ personal information to third parties. For example, according to The Washington Post, a study revealed smoking and depression applications selling data to Google and Facebook.

Depending on their strategy, different mental health applications collect different types of data about their users. For example, apps that connect users with qualified therapists are typically required to adhere to local and federal regulations governing doctor-patient confidentiality. As a result, they collect information such as your name, email address, IP address, and so on, while your medical information is kept private.

It’s crucial to realize that most mental health applications operate in the same way as any other app (unless otherwise specified). They acquire your data indiscriminately, share it with third parties, and utilize it for marketing purposes. So, if you want to be safe and take your cybersecurity to the next level while using these apps, you’ll need to take a few precautions.

How to Make Mental Health Apps More Secure

Mental health apps are like any other photo editor, calorie counter, or mobile game available on the Apple App Store. As a result, you’ll want to take the same precautions when downloading them.

Use only Dependable Apps.

Never download programs from unknown developers or dubious sources. Instead, go to your device’s official app store and read user reviews to see if the app is trustworthy.

It’s also an excellent idea to see what people are saying about the mental health app you’re considering at a few review sites. You should only download an app after you’re confident it’s trustworthy.

In case if any app gives you the red signals. Then, you can immediately seek assistance from AI professionals; to locate experts, you can use various techniques to interact with your AI assistants.

For example, GetEmail.io is a free email search tool that, thanks to its refined algorithms, performs wonders and saves you time and effort. Because GetEmail.io readily recognizes professional email addresses!

Undoubtedly! Isn’t it incredible how quickly professional email addresses can be generated?

That is why I use it to communicate with other health AI experts, and it has never disappointed me.

Before you download, read the Privacy Statement.

The majority of privacy policies are lengthy documents with much technical jargon. However, it would help if you still went over them.

They’ll provide you more information on how your personal information is collected, stored, and shared. The finest mental health apps will usually state that they adhere to HIPAA and other relevant standards, which means that your health records will be kept confidential.

Use a VPN at all times.

Keep your VPN running at all times to improve the security of your apps. Whether you’re using your home’s secure Wi-Fi or the Starbucks network, an app like Atlas VPN will keep your connection private.

It will hide your IP address and never reveal your actual location. It will also keep you more anonymous online by shielding your connection from prying eyes. It’s an essential tool for assuring your mobile health app’s security. As a result, a VPN helps protect the confidentiality of your conversations.

Examine the App’s Permissions.

Finally, before you begin using an app, you should review its permissions. Many apps will ask for permissions that aren’t required for them to work.

If you’re using an app that links you with qualified therapists through video, having access to your camera and microphone is acceptable. If you’re utilizing guided meditation applications, though, it’s not necessary.

If you wish to strengthen your private data security, switch off all permissions related to the app.

Last Thoughts

When used correctly, mental health applications can be an excellent substitute for face-to-face counseling. However, it’s critical to maintain their safety by implementing cybersecurity safeguards that protect your privacy.

Stick to face-to-face consultations if you’re scared to attempt them. But the pandemic has demonstrated that you never know when you won’t be able to live your everyday life. As a result, consider mental health applications as a possibility and use them with caution.

Originally posted 2021-07-01 18:22:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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