While some modern technology may have a negative affect our mental health, other technologies show promise for improving mental health. The mobile app industry along with virtual reality may prove to be a crucial component for the future of mental health. Many patients are able to take advantage of technology that allows them to schedule appointments, look up health information, and monitor symptoms, leading to a strong provider-client relationship. Some community providers offer access to software such as the shared-decision making tool developed by SAMHSA that people can use in preparation for psychiatric appointments.

With workforce shortages and financial constraints limiting access to trained mental health professionals, software developers are attempting to develop technology to extend or replace traditional diagnosis and treatment. The number of mobile apps is booming, and some developers are even working to deliver treatments by virtual reality.

Mobile Apps

As smart phones and tablets become more sophisticated, people are relying on a growing variety of mobile apps. Apps using evidence-based practices have the ability to transform the patient-provider relationship. Health care providers are using apps to access clinically validated resources such as screening tools, make treatment decisions, and conduct referrals. For example, SAMHSA’s Suicide Safe app offers educational materials and includes a treatment locator.


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