A woman is in a meditation pose sitting next to her smartphone. A woman is in a meditation pose sitting next to her smartphone.

How online therapy apps can help with stress

There is no doubt that the world we live in is vastly different than it was 2 years ago. The pandemic has changed how we do everyday tasks, including how we attend doctors’ appointments, exercise or take care of our mental health. These digital transformations and virtual health and well-being activities included a spike in digital therapy, more commonly known as online therapy.

Online therapy is a mental health service that takes place over the internet. Sessions can be arranged and completed through email, text, online chat, video or over the phone.1 People can now sit in the comfort of their home—from their bed, couch or wherever is convenient—and work with a counselor, therapist or psychiatrist. In some cases, you may not need an actual appointment, but you can text during office hours and get a response.

The difference between online therapy apps and mental health apps

There is a difference between online therapy apps and mental health apps. Online therapy apps typically provide guided sessions with a therapist, counselor or another type of licensed mental health professional. Mental health apps typically include self-paced activities that are based on research and therapy techniques, and are designed to be used between therapy sessions or office visits or after graduating from therapy.

While mental health apps are typically less expensive and focus on daily practice without a professional, a 2018 study from the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that they can still be helpful in improving both the monitoring and management of mental health conditions.2

What to look for in online therapy apps

There are many different types of online therapy apps. Finding the right one to fit your needs can be a daunting exercise. Consider what you are looking for and what they want from an online wellness app.

Additionally, online therapy apps come with monthly, quarterly or annual subscription costs or fees. Some apps may take insurance while others don’t. The costs of online therapy apps are more substantial than mental health apps because these apps are guided by mental health professionals.

Find out the total cost per month of online therapy apps. Cost drives how many sessions are included, whether those sessions are over the phone or via conference call and how many times the app allows for contact between the individual and the counselor outside of the agreed-on or set appointments.

Online therapy apps have different options. Those options may include the ability to videoconference 1 to 4 times a month, the ability for employees to text or chat with a therapist during specific hours of the weekday, weekend emergency sessions, time or chat limitations and therapist choices. When choosing an online therapy app that allows for sessions with a mental health professional, select one that allows a change in therapist, with zero questions asked, until a good fit with a mental health professional is identified.

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Go365 is not an insurance product and is not available with all Humana health plans. This is a general description of services which are subject to change. Product features may vary by client. Please refer to Customer Support for more information.

This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical or other professional advice or used in place of consulting a licensed professional. You should consult with an applicable licensed professional to determine what is right for you.

From time to time, Go365 may make available items and services from third-party vendors. While some services are provided at no additional cost to you, if you choose to use certain items and services, you may incur additional fees that are not covered by your wellness program. Similar items or services may be available at no or reduced cost under your wellness program or health coverage, if available. You should consult your wellness program or health coverage documents for more information. Third-party vendors may provide compensation to Humana. Humana does not endorse the items or services provided by third-party vendors.

Wellness coaches do not provide medical advice and should not be used in place of consulting a medical professional.

Sources:

1Kimberly Zapata, “In a Year When We’re Struggling With Our Mental Health More Than Ever, Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Online Therapy,” Parade, last accessed September 13, 2021, https://parade.com/1013285/kimberlyzapata/online-therapy/Opens in new window.

2Wang, K., Varma, D. S., & Prosperi, M, “A systematic review of the effectiveness of mobile apps for monitoring and management of mental health symptoms or disorders,” Journal of Psychiatric Research, last accessed September 13, 2021, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30347316/Opens in new window.

3Trina Histon, “How to pick a mental health app for your workforce wellness program,” Kaiser Permanente, last accessed September 13, 2021 https://business.kaiserpermanente.org/insights/mental-health-workplace/mental-health-apps-workforce-wellnessOpens in new window.