Feeling Anxious about Coronavirus? There’s an App for That.

March 27, 2020

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Stress and anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic is vastly increasing the use of digital mental health tools, including telemental health, crisis text lines, apps, and chatbots. Many psychotherapists are turning to platforms like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime to do video sessions with clients. Increases are also occurring with the Crisis Text Line, as well as apps like TalkSpace and BetterHelp where people send messages and receive responses from licensed therapists. Chatbots like Wysa, Woebot, and Tess that use artificial intelligence instead of people to provide responses in the form of relevant content are also showing large increases in usage. However, apps and chatbots do not provide the same help as mental health care from a therapist in person or via video. Users should also be aware that some of these tools may not be HIPAA-compliant and may collect and share their data. According to John Torous, director of psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, “[this is] not saying don’t use them; it’s saying be an informed consumer of health care, like you would for anything.” 

Spark Extra! Check out this list of resources to support mental health and coping with the coronavirus.