#mhTech Media Roundup

The most recent news around mental health apps shows that there is always room for improvement. This may mean coming up with innovative ways to treat mental health in poverty-stricken countries like Liberia. Or it could be re-thinking how we respond to 911 calls. There is one area where we agree. We must look at the ways we currently approach treatment and ask if those ways are the most effective. 

Featured in Forbes, Ashoka reported on My Mind, a mental health service catering to the foreign population in Ireland. My Mind allows people to speak with therapists, either online or in person. Founded in 2004, the service is offered in 15 different languages and caters to 3,100 people.

Re/code reported that David Ebersman, Facebook’s former CFO, is launching a new mental health startup called Lyra Health. Lyra Health will “coordinate care, match people with the right doctors and track outcomes.” Ebersman plans to enlist the help of insurance companies, providers and employers to shape the final product.

On the HFMA blog, Centerstone Research Institute CEO Tom Doub asks, “Why spend $3,000 on a $3 problem?” Dollars are needlessly wasted on emergency department visits, he says, when more effective solutions would suffice. For example, one Illinois County uses a patient navigator to redirect callers so they reach the resources they need, without causing financial strain on the emergency department.

Issues with access and the best course of treatment abound. Take Liberia, a poor country with decentralized health care. Individual therapy is too expensive and resource-intensive, Nathaniel Calhoun recently noted in Singularity Hub. Since group therapy has been shown to be successful, Calhoun is now developing an app that will help health workers lead group therapy sessions, tailored to the group’s specific “languages and socio-cultural contexts.”

iMedicalApps covered the concerns raised by doctors at a recent American Psychiatric Association meeting. These doctors found that some health apps aren’t doing what they claim to do. Studies have shown that certain apps designed to help people stop smoking or reduce their alcohol intake actually had the opposite effect. To stop this problem and ensure greater medical accuracy, more doctors need to be involved in the app development process.

Modern Healthcare reported on the introduction of the revised Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Proposed by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), the bill seeks to improve mental health care through various means. These include creating a new Health and Human Services position focused on behavioral health to promoting the use of technology to provide integrated care.

According to FBomb, peer support provided by mental health apps can be crucial for teenagers struggling with mental health. Technology like TalkLife helps them find the support they need, without the discomfort or stigma of seeking traditional counseling.

And finally, on the Centerstone Research blog, we recently discussed three ways apps can bring value to mental health care. The blog is just a preview of the knowledge we’ll be sharing when we release appImpact, a framework for determining what to consider when selecting, implementing and evaluating mobile technology in behavioral healthcare settings.