The COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for the accelerated adoption of virtual health. With rising demands for remote healthcare, it’s no surprise that Deloitte predicts that global spending on mobile mental health applications will reach the US $500 million in 2022, a 20% increase from last year. In this article, we assess the current state of the mental health market and discuss how companies can capitalize on the growing demands for mental health apps.
In a nutshell, mental health remains one of the most overlooked yet persistent healthcare issues worldwide. WHO (World Health Organization) reports that nearly 1 billion people suffer from a mental health condition. Moreover, the pandemic outbreak has only exacerbated the mental health crisis, causing more people to experience anxiety, depression, and stress. For example, in the US alone, 43% of adults report that their mental health has been seriously affected by the pandemic, according to APA (American Psychiatric Association).
Most importantly, healthcare institutions are struggling to meet the demands for mental health treatment. While the cost of mental care is relatively low, many people in need can’t access it. Nearly one-fifth of the US population cites high healthcare costs as the most important issue for the US healthcare system. During the pandemic, only 31% of US adults were able to get professional help in mental healthcare.
Mental health now catching up with the most serious and outstanding healthcare problems among the public
To give an even broader perspective, two of the most widespread mental disorders, anxiety, and depression, cost the global economy $1 trillion each year, according to WHO. In a macroeconomic sense, an ongoing mental health crisis can lower consumer spending and employee productivity overall.
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While the aforementioned statistics are rather daunting, the latest technological advancements coupled with the increasing accessibility of smartphones can reduce the burden of mental health problems. According to a study published in JMIR mHealth, mobile apps for anxiety and depression can have clear clinical advantages. From guided meditations to telemedicine apps to AI-powered virtual assistants, there is an emerging opportunity for mental healthcare to go mobile and make an impact.
Currently, there are multiple types of apps with different approaches to mental health management. Some apps help consumers to treat their mental condition on their own, while others provide remote access to support from certified mental health professionals. In general, the market is ripe for new apps that help people practice mindfulness, get rid of bad habits, or meditate.
Health apps market dynamics further prove the point:
It’s also worth noting that in countries where cultural stigma around mental health is prevalent or mental healthcare services are hard to access, mobile mental health apps are in especially high demand. For example, 65% of Chinese citizens have used mobile health apps during 2020, with over 40% paying for the services.
Most-used approaches to tackle mental health service provision, by share of surveyed countries. Telemedicine is by far the most popular globally, followed closely by helplines.
Moreover, according to a recent Deloitte research, more than half of people from minority ethnic groups say that they are willing to use virtual visits instead of in-person ones to get a provider who looks like them and has a similar cultural background.
In-person mental health services can no longer provide adequate service due to rising prices, travel restrictions, and health concerns. According to a Deloitte report, one in two clinical leaders said that the pandemic has caused significant shifts in their health system’s virtual health strategy. It’s up to telehealth providers to take lead and provide easily accessible mental health services to consumers all over the world.
The growing market for mental healthcare apps indicates that there is a considerable gap between supply and demand. Now is the time for healthcare providers and app developers to join forces and bridge this gap. Importantly, mental health app development is not only a lucrative business opportunity but also a matter of improving global well-being and access to treatment.
Looking for a reliable mental health app development partner – contact us! We will dive deep into the nuances of mental health app development in our next blog post.