Why create a mental health app?

I decided to write this article on why I became interested in creating my own mental health app and my journey on what it entails to have a successful app including the concept of mobile app deep linking. As a mental health therapist for the past 15 years, I have mastered and trained with some of the best clinicians in behavioral health.
I always look for additional  ways to educate my clients in order to create change  by using  different mediums such as art therapy, music or sandtray therapy . Then one day a few years ago,  I came across an app that teaches how to decrease anxiety, or “self-help anxiety management”. I thought that it was an amazing idea and started to use it right away.  I then realized that this app has its drawbacks.
I had difficulty accessing  the coping skill without going first to the homepage then finding the link to the coping skill then clicking on it.  It was time consuming and frustrating; especially when the internet is down or working really slow.

Understanding Deep Links

I was venting to my 14 years old daughter about this issue, she responded that this app is missing deep app linking.  I suddenly became aware of my lack of knowledge and old age.   You may be wondering what is deep linking and why does it matter? The best way I can explain it that it provides the ability for any type of user to  share a link directly to the product bypassing its homepage.

Problems related to not having deep links

Let’s say you have a website that provides all of your basic information but also offer specific therapeutic skills, your client or user could click on the skill and it will directly lead them to that exact spot of your website.For some reason, I identified mobile app deep linking with the image of Spiral Jetty, one singular link can take you deep into the center of the Jetty. Here is a great article to read for additional information; deep linking article.

Limitations with deep links

Another issue arose such as only being able to use this app on an I phone or provide IOS app deep linking.  Thus, I could not suggest this app for clients who had an android phone or only have android app deep linking capabilities. I began searching for additional apps or tools to provide to my clients. It became confusing and frustrating to search for various apps that allow both deep linking android app and app deep linking IOS. I  quickly realized that these apps had issues and was not always easy to use; which again can cause frustrations for my clients.

An idea was formed

I decided to create my own app by soliciting my 14 years old daughter as my partner in order to create both google app deep linking and deep linking website to app. I already had my own website about my practice. Why is this a brilliant idea? It sets me apart from other mental health therapists by creating a competitive advantage. As you may know ,we tend to work with very impatient clients who want results right away, if you direct them to your website and they cannot find your skill immediately, it will cause more pain for them  and  you may possibly lose this client due to their frustration and impatience.  
Another possibility is that they will become distrustful of you and will most likely not use the skill. The reality is that the majority of clients hate doing homework or actually make the necessary changes in their lives.  In order to simplify this process and increase the likelihood of clients using the counseling tools,  I would highly recommend creating a self-help app that connects to your website and ensuring that you have the ability to have deep linking mobile app set up. More importantly, there is an increased number of people who are getting more comfortable in using apps. It is essential now to have therapy apps established with your business website.  It is also getting easier and more effective to use apps, thanks to Google.

In 2012, Google + was able to create a platform that led IOS and Android apps to be able to share and open each other deep links.  This tool will then allow any type of user to share links to their friends without worrying if they have the IOS or Android apps.  Here is another great article on google platform and deep linking. This is great news for anyone interested in creating their own mental health therapy apps. Here are some examples of popular interest amongst our clients and apps users based on a recent survey delivered at my outpatient clinic: online therapy free, therapy online, meditation apps for anxiety, mental health facts, mental illness or online advice.

As mental health therapists in private practice, you must set yourself apart from the thousands of other therapists. By creating your own app that is linked with your website, it does set you apart and again gives you that competitive edge. Before embarking on the creation of your own app, ensure that your mobile app deep links are working effectively! Just think of the Spiral jetty! Or your app will miserably fail.