New apps could help those with mental illness

(KAIT) – Around one in four people will have a diagnosable mental illness in any given year, and half of the population will have one during their lifetime. It is not only costing people on an individual basis but also at their jobs. Productivity slides when one’s mental health suffers.It costs companies more than $100 billion in lost productivity and time combined according to Paul Gionfriddo, president of Mental Health America. Gionfriddo sees hope on the horizon, though, for employers and employees through something called Telemental Health.

“It can be much more effective at identifying people early and getting them into services, care, supports, and treatment at a time when they can mostly easily recover,” said Gionfriddo. Telemental health includes mobile apps like Ginger, Castlight, or Talkspace, which don’t diagnose mental illness, but can detect a pattern or risk. Then it can connect you to the help you need.

More companies are making sure employees are aware of the online options.

Eric Lucas, the founder of Oxygen Plan, helps deliver a stress number to the person using the app and then suggests ways to lower that number.

Mental health proponents think that feedback is important. Gionfriddo said research has shown the apps are as effective or comparably effective as face-to-face contact with a clinician, and in addition to that, it’s either about the same cost or less to use those apps.

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