NHS Launches Mental Health App Library


In England, the NHS launches a new mental health-focused app store aimed at improving access to mental health services and therapies for UK citizens. Called the Mental Health Apps Library, the site provides the UK public with a curated list of clinically-vetted, NHS-endorsed mental health apps that healthcare leaders hope will help improve outcomes for the country’s mental health population.

The new site is being hosted by NHS Choices, the UK’s largest health-related website. NHS Choices is a publically-funded website that provides patient-friendly information about diseases, treatment options, and local NHS resources that are available. The site also captures reviews for local doctors and hospitals and facilitates appointment scheduling. The site generates 40 million views per month, of which 9.7 million are visiting pages related to depression, 9.4 million are visiting pages related to anxiety, and six million are visiting pages related to stress. In total, the NHS estimates that 15 percent of the UK’s general public are suffering from mental health disorders.

In response to the perceived need to support its active mental health community of visitors, the NHS has conducted a review of the mental health apps currently available on Apple, Android, Windows, and Blackberry app stores, and chosen the best for the Mental Health App Store. Some big names in mental healthcare are missing, such as Ginger.io which provides passive surveillance of mental health patients by monitoring smartphone activity, but the library does include 23 apps that collectively provides support for depression, anxiety, fears, and general emotional wellbeing.

The new app store is the first finished product from a larger effort being undertaken by the UK’s National Information Board. Announced in November 2014, the NIB has been tasked with consolidating disease-specific health app libraries for a broad range of diseases, and helping connect UK citizens with the support tools. NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information Tim Kelsey explains, “We must embrace modern technology to help us lead healthier lives, and if we want – to take more control when are ill. Our ambition is to make the NHS a digital pioneer for our patients and citizens.”

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