Design Elements of a Next-Generation Mental Health Well-Being App

Providing information about mental health facilities in which adolescents attend a wellness retreat where they can talk to a teen therapist is an important feature of a next-generation mobile app.

psychotherapy image depicting freedom from mental stressWhen designing this kind of app, a user experience designer will likely incorporate highly advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), and increased connectivity to the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing. Additionally, design features must include personalization and gamification elements.

The Post-Pandemic State of Teen Mental Health in the U.S.

The aftermath of the 2020 pandemic has made giving attention to the mental health of teens increasingly important. Families have to deal with a busy life while working, experiencing difficulty in bringing their teen to attend a therapy session. Still, in order to help a troubled kid overcome depression and emotional struggles, parents consider sending a troubled kid to a wellness retreat.

Poor mental health among adolescents became more pronounced after the pandemic, affecting more adolescent females who reported feelings of sadness and hopelessness. A statistical survey conducted by the government in 2021 revealed that 30 percent of the female respondents admitted to have seriously considered committing suicide; while 14% of their male counterpart made similar admissions.
According to the CDC, more than 106,600 deaths resulting from drug overdose took place in 2021, which were driven by the proliferation and availability of opioid substances, including the ubiquitous illicit drug fentanyl.

While there are existing mental health apps that have significant potential in helping people with mental health issues, app developers must conduct in-depth research. The design features must be relevant to current trends and methods of improving the mental well being of teen users any time they need help.

Personalization and Gamification : Best Design Features to Consider

When contemplating on the best design features to incorporate in a mental health app for teens, seasoned app developers recommend focusing on two major aspects: personal;ization and gamification.

fingerprint personalization dataPersonalization in building and designing an app focuses on the needs of a specific app user. This denotes that a mental health app to be effective does not offer a “one-size fits all” solution. so to speak. In order to achieve personalization of design, there must be an onboarding process involving the gathering of information by answering questions. Answers will enable the app’s AI to determine a user’s goal, current feelings and how often he or she wants to communicate. Through personalization, the app will connect parents to the right provider equipped with relevant expertise and experience on teen counselling.

Gamification – Incorporating gaming elements in the user interface help increase user engagement and retention. Adding gaming elements work towards achieving progress in defusing tension caused by anxiety and depression. Although gamification can boost motivation to improve a teen’s outlook in life, mental health app developers use gamification with moderation. Balance must be maintained in using the gaming experience as a behavioral diffuser and in promoting a user’s desire for gaming entertainment. Although adding games in a mental health app can be part of a solution, adding more games than what is necessary will not help solve a teen’s mental health problem.