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How are Emerging Devices Helping in Diagnosing and Treating Mental Health Issues?

Written by Purvi Bhasin, Senior Research Associate - BIS Research

Mental health is one of the vital components of a person’s overall wellbeing. However, the lack of awareness, associated social stigma, and ignorance of mental health in government health-related programs has led to a limited diagnosis of the disorders. With a high degree of technology penetration in the past years, mental health diagnosis has witnessed a considerable change and challenged the afore-mentioned barriers. For instance, the presence of mental health mobile applications has advanced self-monitoring among the application users and mental health patients. The apps offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) activities, meditation therapy modules, and mood monitoring features. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the spotlight to global mental health concerns and propelled the adoption of teletherapy among other mental health mobile platforms.

The latest market study by BIS Research, titled Global Emerging Mental Health Devices and Platforms Market focuses on the mobile platforms and technology integrated therapy devices used for diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of mental health conditions. The report offers an in-depth analysis of the COVID-19 impact on the market, key technology trends, regulatory landscape, competitive landscape, regional markets, and growth opportunities.

During the report development, the analysts collaborated with various stakeholders to gain insights regarding technology integration and its impact on mental health. The following is an excerpt from the conversation between BIS Research and Justin Woods, a mental health teleconsultant.

Q: How can telemedicine help in improving mental health treatment?

A: Telemedicine continues to provide increased access to patients in rural areas without any mental health providers and urban areas where all of the providers are booked out multiple months in advance. Telemedicine broadens a patient’s access to a number of providers.

Q: What are the major advantages of using telepsychiatry services?

A: The major advantage is lower overhead by not having a physical office building for the provider. There are also advantages to the patient of finding better-priced care than what may be locally available.

Q. How can mobile applications improve mental health diagnosis?

A: They can provide access to the physicians/therapists who make the diagnosis. They also make it much easier to collect the assessments (PHQ9, GAD7, ASRS, and MDQ, etc.) used in making psychiatric diagnoses.

Another discussion with Subhrangshu Datta, Co-Founder and CEO for U.S.-based Companion Mx, offers insights into the evolution of the market and the potential of novel technologies. Following is an excerpt from the conversation:

Q: What is your opinion on the presence of a large number of companies in the market? How will the market evolve in the future?

A: The market will continue to evolve in the future. The shift in the U.S. mental healthcare, the rising awareness, growing attention on mental health, and improvement in reimbursement scenario will help in evolution. Also, the increasing prevalence of mental health disorders cannot be ignored. For example, mental health-related issues are the second largest cause of complications after cardiac problems in the world. Moreover, the changes in society and family structure have led to a minimal support system that further causes mental health disorders. Considering all this, the demand for treatment will grow, leading to high adoption of digital health solutions.

Q: Considering the market is unregulated, how can the user ensure the quality of insights being offered by the platforms?

A: In present times, it is impossible to find the best mental health application considering the pre-existing pool of apps. For example, Calm and Headspace help with meditation. Then there are specialized solutions for therapy and detection. In the future, the task would not be daunting since market consolidation is anticipated that would lead to the presence of only a fraction of the companies

Q: Voice biomarkers for mental health are one of the key disruptions in the market? What is their accuracy, and how are they different from pre-existing methods?

A: Conventionally, for mental health, diagnosis is based on surveys such as PHQ9 since there are no established biomarkers. The psychiatrist determines the mental state of the user, such as depression, based on the responses. The operator bias and chances of human errors are high in this method.

The voice-biomarkers are trying to include objectiveness in the diagnosis of mental health. The voice-biomarkers are standardized against scientific protocols for diagnosis. However, the key challenge in developing voice-biomarkers is the lack of established biomarkers for mental health.

More such discussions were conducted on global emerging mental health devices and platforms market; summarized as follows:

To summarize, the rising prevalence of mental health disorders and the high adoption rate of digital technologies in healthcare would advance the emerging mental health devices and platforms market. Also, the focus on mental health at the workplace will increase the adoption of mental health mobile platforms. However, the selection criteria for mental health mobile platforms must be known due to more than 10,000+ such applications.

*All answers have been reproduced with permission from the respondents.

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