Apps, News

ORCHA reports rise in searches for apps to help with anger, fear and anxiety

A new report by ORCHA – the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps – which explores trends in mental health app usage during the pandemic, has found a surge in searches to find apps related to anger, fear and anxiety.

Entitled ‘Digital & Mental Health Recovery Action Plans’, the publication provides insight into the country’s national mood during lockdown by showing that app searches for key mental health issues rose significantly. The report reveal an increase in searches for terms such as anger (324%), anxiety (328%) and fear (221%), while searches for depression rose by 156%, OCD increased by 422% and stress rose by 113%.

The app review service also found that those reaching out for digital support also looked for relaxation apps (437% increase in searches) and mindfulness apps (2,483% increase).

Lockdown also saw a 6,500% increase in doctors searching for apps to recommend and prescribe.

Founding CEO of ORCHA, Liz Ashall-Payne, said: “It’s essential we recognise the massive leap forward in the use of mental health apps by citizens during the pandemic, and increasing evidence of their popularity and efficacy.

“We’re seeing, increasingly, that mental health apps are particularly useful to those who are uncomfortable with a perceived stigma about receiving support. Young men and boys and key workers are two target areas needing extra support.

“Our biggest worry is that despite the incredible progress in digital mental health aids, the majority of apps would still fail our ORCHA review process. Overall, only a third (32%) of apps score above our baseline of acceptability, which is 65%.”

However, ORCHA’s report flags that only a small percentage of apps for particular mental health conditions are considered clinically safe and secure from a data perspective, including just 14% of OCD, 20% of apps for bi-polar support, and 26% of apps relating to schizophrenia.

The new report arrives during Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, which is being hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and aims to provide an opportunity for people to discuss mental health concerns openly and find or provide help an advice.