Mental health app development has gained a lot of traction in recent years as more people recognize the importance and value of mental health services. The entire conversation surrounding mental health treatment and mental illness has radically shifted in the last decade.
Furthermore, the isolation and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic created a greater demand for accessible and flexible mental health services.
Mental health app development helped meet a real consumer need and has expanded care access for many patients. As a result, the mental health app market has gained a lot of momentum.
App development is a complex and involved process. It doesn’t matter if you are building a gaming app, MedTech app, banking app, etc.
The app development process is mostly the same. Explore our blog to learn more about the app development process and steps.
This post will look at mental health app development through a different lens. If you want to build a mental health application, what features must you include?
Certain features will be more important than others, depending on the type of mental health application you want to create.
The mental health industry is helping more people than ever before tackle the mental health issues that have been holding them back. So let’s look closer at the key features that should be included in mental health mobile apps.
Top Features of Mental Health Apps
Mental health solutions come in many shapes and sizes. For example, there are mental health applications that help people track mental health, connect patients with therapists and offer therapy sessions, and offer meditation courses and other mental health support.
The features most important in a meditation app might not be the same features that are most important for a mental wellness app that connects patients with therapists or another mental health professional or helps treat mental health disorders.
Some mental wellness apps will target specific mental disorders like eating disorders and panic attacks. Other mental health app ideas will be more general self-improvement apps that take a broader approach to mental illness and mental health therapy.
It is important to have a clear understanding of what your mental health solution will do before mental health app developers begin building your mental health mobile app.
This will help you prioritize which of the following features are most important to your mental health application and its target audience:
- Registration/profile creation
- Appointment scheduling
Every mental health app should include a user profile feature. Most mobile applications allow users to create profiles.
With mental health applications, user profiles are vital to providing a personal experience tailored to the mental health needs of each user.
Part of profile creation is the registration process. Therefore, it is important to strike a balance between simplicity and thoroughness in the registration process.
You want to collect important user information but don’t want the registration process to be so long or involved that it drives users away from the application.
Only ask for the information that is necessary during registration. If there is other information that would be helpful to collect, try to collect this information later after registration has been completed.
Once a user is registered on your mental health app, they should be able to customize their profile to meet their current mental health needs.
For example, they should be able to input the conditions they would like help with, medications they currently take, etc.
During the profile customization process, you can gather additional information from your users you didn’t get during the registration process.
If your application will connect people with therapists, life coaches, meditation teachers, etc., then your mental health application should include scheduling features.
Any scheduling feature included in your mental health application should integrate with native platform calendars on iOS and Android. This will improve the User Experience and ensure patients and providers keep appointments.
Appointment scheduling must work for the people scheduling appointments and the professionals taking appointments. A robust scheduling feature should also track session length to give mental health professionals more insight into their schedules.
Notifications help remind users of appointments, goals, etc., and they also help general mental health apps drive engagement. Mental health is a constant journey and practice. A notification could be as simple as reminding a user to breathe deeply, a small motivational quote, or a reminder of an upcoming appointment with a therapist.
In addition, notifications can be utilized to promote new features or service offerings within the mental health app. Therefore, there is a balance that your mental health app must find when it comes to notifications.
Too many notifications will annoy users, even if the notifications are reminders about an appointment and not something more promotional.
Your mental health app should never over-notify users. Over notification will annoy users and could potentially drive them away from your mental health app altogether.
Most mental health apps benefit from including mental health tracking features. So whether you are building a mindfulness app, therapy app, etc., self-monitoring is an important facet of mental health.
Self-tracking features can help people monitor stress levels, emotional states, and other important mental health metrics and see how they change over time. Closely tracking mental states, mood patterns, and triggers can be especially helpful when meeting with a therapist or working on being more mindful.
Not only is this beneficial to users, but it is also beneficial to healthcare providers. For example, a cognitive behavior therapy practitioner can gain insight from client self-monitoring and offer better cognitive skills training thanks to more mental health data.
If your mental health app will have self-tracking features and gather other metrics, it will need to have a dashboard. Dashboards enable users to view their data in one place and visualize it in helpful charts and graphs.
Dashboards should be visually appealing, easy to read, and easy to use.
Overcomplicating the dashboard feature might confuse some users and make them disengage from your application’s benefits.
Mental health apps can include community features that allow like-minded people or people dealing with similar issues to communicate and share their stories. Support is one of the most critical aspects of mental health.
Enabling your users to connect and build support groups and communities can be a helpful feature that distinguishes your mental health app from the competition.
You don’t have to model your features after social media apps, but a connection can be very powerful for people seeking to better understand themselves and their mental health.
If your mental health app will connect users with therapists and other mental health specialists, it should include communication features.
Communication features include voice and video call integration, messaging, and chatbot assistance. The key facet of communication features to consider is reliability.
No matter what type of communication features you include in your mental health app, they must work seamlessly and reliably. For example, if your app connects users with therapists over video calls, the calls cannot drop or lag.
Building a Good Mental Health App
App developers must walk a fine line when building a mental healthcare app. For instance, mental health app design should not be approached in the same manner as a regular app.
Mental health illnesses are serious. Creating an application with too many gimmicks or in-app purchases will likely turn users away from the app.
Developers and designers must build an aesthetically pleasing solution and easy to use without making light of the chronic illnesses and disorders the mental healthcare industry is treating.
Developers must conduct in-depth audience research to create a mental health application that resonates with users. When it comes to the health of our minds, there is a vast array of issues, from anger management to obsessive-compulsive disorder, that could be troubling us.
Don’t try to develop an application that will cover every disorder or be a one-size fits all solution. Instead, focus your efforts on one or a few key areas. Trying to please everyone with a mental wellness application will be difficult and perhaps even impossible.
Trying to be too broad will likely hurt your application more than it will help it. Instead, pick an area you think offers your organization the best opportunity and build an application that meets those needs.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Mental Health App?
App development costs vary based on every project. Therefore, it is impossible to give you an accurate cost estimate without knowing the intimate, technical details of the application.
Costs will be affected by the platform you choose for your application. For example, on average, native application development costs more because it is specialized for a single platform. In addition, if you want to reach users on Android and iOS with a native application, you will have to develop two apps, which of course, will cost more.
Features such as payment processing will also affect cost. Apps that don’t have to process payments and navigate all of the complexities associated with security related to digital payments are often less expensive to develop.
If you want to develop a mental health app, there are a lot of opportunities for your organization. However, you need to ensure that you include basic features that users enjoy and find helpful. The last thing you want to do is offend or drive users away.
In addition, in many cases, healthcare apps will have to account for HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and other health-related data protection regulations.
If you want to learn more about MedTech app development and mental health apps, reach out to an experienced app development partner like Koombea. An experienced partner can help guide your company through the complexities of development and help you make the right technical decisions.