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Mental health apps can increase access to treatment

The film “Code Therapy” is a brief (15-minute) award-winning documentary that describes digital tools, such as mental health apps and access to mental health treatment.

The acclaimed documentary was screened at festivals in England, Ireland, India and the United States.

The film was awarded “Best Documentary” at the 2016 Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival.

In the documentary, interviews with several mental health experts describe different types of evidence-based treatments for depression and anxiety, including cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT).


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Mental health apps can help to bridge gaps in and barriers to mental health treatment

The documentary begins by identifying many gaps in mental health treatment. The experts also discuss barriers to accessing mental health care.

This excellent film describes the benefits of telehealth tools, such as websites, mental health apps, and wearables, that are designed to improve mental health.


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For example, mental health apps are described as self-help tools that can increase the use of evidence-based techniques for coping with depression and anxiety.

First, mental health apps can represent a bridge to direct care with a qualified mental health professional.

Also, mental health apps provide access to evidenced-based techniques (e.g., for relieving anxiety and depression symptoms) between sessions.

Even better, very motivated people (and/or those that have less severe problems) can benefit greatly from using mental health apps in lieu of formalized treatment.




Mental health apps (and other health-related apps) as an excellent use of digital technology

In a recent post on this website, we discussed the extensive amount of (well-founded) criticism regarding the overuse of our cellphones.

We acknowledged the endless steam of apps that distract us, and drain our time.

Yet, we also realized that there are hundreds – if not thousands – of apps that are designed to improve our general sense of well-being, including our emotional, physical, mental and even spiritual health.


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In that previous post, we also discussed how fitness apps can provide a great way to turn any room into a home-based gym.

In another previous post, we were provided with a carefully curated list of apps that improve mood and overall health.


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When used correctly, these apps are designed to help us to reduce stress, relieve depression, cope with anxiety, and learn how to meditate.

Making the use of our cellphones like having a therapist, a personal trainer, and spiritual guru in our pockets!

Sounds pretty awesome!


mental health apps

“Code Therapy” is an excellent film about mental health technology.
– Denise Dixon, PhD

The film “Code Therapy” is free to view online.

The complete film is included in the frame below, for your viewing pleasure.



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What do you think about this post, and the film? What are your thoughts about access to mental health care? While not a complete solution, do you believe that digital technology (like mental health apps) can help us to overcome some of the barriers to mental (and physical) health care?

Really looking forward to reading and responding to your comments!

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  1. Ryan Biddulph

    Technology is such a gift to augment a well-rounded approach to self-care Denise. I dig how these days one can seek professional help then can add in an app or program to drill the point home. Beautiful. We live in blessed times where people all over the globe can access apps for growth and healing.

    • Denise Dixon, Ph.D.

      Yes, of course I agree whole-heartedly, Ryan. Some folks in my (and other) profession(s) may feel threatened by including technology in mental, physical, and even spiritual health care. I view technological advances as I view other “modern” inventions, such as harnessing electricity; trains, planes and automobiles; and refrigeration. All served to make the world more easily accessible and comfortable. Yes, critics will harp on the downsides, but we prefer to see light and love and freedom, AmIright? 🙂 Thanks for such a pithy comment!

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