Can You Trust Your Mental Health App with Your Data and Privacy?

Can You Trust Your Mental Health App with Your Data and Privacy?

It’s common to need to talk to someone who is trained to listen to you and help you solve your problem. What makes this convenient is the confidentiality and secrecy that exists in the room as you reveal your deepest and darkest secrets to another person and with the arrival of mental health apps, you would expect that your privacy be maintained but can you trust them with your data and privacy?

Some apps for guidance link you with professionals who are ready to help you with problems you may have ranging from depression, addiction, and a lot more. So you don’t necessarily have to visit the professionals in your locality as the apps put a bridge to the barrier of distance. It’s more convenient as those who find it difficult to open up in person can get help by having a conversation over the app.

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  1. Your Smartphone Can Tell If You Are Depressed
  2. Mental Health Apps Can Track You
  3. Reviews of Top Mental Health Apps
  4. Protecting Your Data

Your Smartphone Can Tell If You Are Depressed

Some mental health apps can provide near accurate results of your psychological state based on the way you type, scroll, and tap while using the app. It has proven useful as a smartphone is what everybody owns and so you can conveniently manage your situation before it gets out of hand.

Our smartphones and obsession with them can help improve treatment for some mental illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and others.

Once the data is collected, it gets encrypted and analyzed with the machine learning algorithm the software uses. Then your results are shared with you and the professional who is to attend to you, it makes patient care even easier.

Mental Health Apps Can Track You

In 2019, a study was conducted on top iOS and Android apps (36 in all) that were used to treat depression and smoking. It was discovered unfortunately that 32 of those apps were transmitting data to third-party services. While 12 made this clear in their privacy policy, the rest didn’t disclose this.

A different study increased the number to include 56 mental health apps and their handling of private data. It was discovered that the apps requested permissions they didn’t need, and encouraged their users to share information on online communities. Of the 56 apps, 25 didn’t have a privacy policy and so users had no clue how their data were being collected or being used.

Better Help is one of the most popular mental health apps, and it was analyzed too. They provide a plan that costs 40 USD per week for the user to text, call, or video a licensed counselor. According to them, the conversations between client and counselor are encrypted, but that’s about it. It tracks other data during the signup process and relays the same to third parties even though it keeps the owners anonymous.

Reviews of Top Mental Health Apps

1. Talkspace

Mental Health: Talkspace Helps Businesses Get Creative | Fortune

Talkspace is a mental health app that connects you to a licensed professional to help you via your smartphone, tab, or computer. The therapists here are specially trained in areas such as dialectical behavioral therapy, mindfulness, psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral therapy, and existential-humanistic approaches.

You are only required to pay 260 USD monthly and you’ll have unlimited messaging to a therapist and one live session each month with the therapist. Every conversation over the platform is encrypted heavily to protect your privacy.

2. Moodfit

Mood-Boosting Apps — BrainMind

Just as the name implies, Moodfit is made to help shape your mood. So if you are feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed, you stand to benefit from this app.

It has a questionnaire that helps you understand just how severe your symptoms are and files to help you get a better understanding of what you are experiencing.

You can track your mood and better understand what triggers certain feelings in you over time. It also provides you with tips you can use to feel better. In just a few minutes daily, you will learn new skills such as mindfulness and gratitude.

3. Sanvello

Wellbeing | Missouri S&T

With Sanvello, clients are helped with clinically validated techniques to deal with stress, depression, and anxiety. A study of 500 randomly selected adults with mild to moderate depression and anxiety showed a reduction in symptoms after they used Sanvello tools. They continued to enjoy the benefits even after they stopped using the app.

Sanvello also provides you with cognitive-behavioral tools and teaches you mindfulness skills. You will be required to track your mood daily when using Sanvello, and the app will help you identify patterns in your mood. Some tools can help you handle issues such as morning dread, public speaking, and taking tests.

4. Shine

Shine - Daily Motivation Shine In Life | iOS App - TECHWIBE

Shine is focused on the female gender, and it exists to help users go through difficult times. It aims to help you with self-improvement, as it delivers motivational messages to you. Other topics that are addressed and you stand to benefit from include anxiety, stress, forgiveness, mindfulness, word frustrations, and others.

The app developers state that the tools provided for your consumption are based on scientific facts, so the information you get works. The audio files are short and convenient for your listening even while performing other functions like brushing your teeth.

Protecting Your Data

Healthcare and psychiatric services are monitored and regulated by the relevant bodies in each state. Such regulations are also responsible for processing patient data but this ends in the brick and mortar establishments. Online services such as mental health apps have no such firm regulations.

Data tracking is used by the apps for targeted ads, and so they continue to collect data from you without your permission. This practice is mostly done by free apps as it’s their only source of revenue; selling your data.

Apart from data tracking, many apps oversell themselves to rank at the top. A 2019 study showed that only half of the apps that claimed they followed scientific methods in their processes did.

To prevent patient data as handled by online platforms, healthcare regulation should pay more attention to online services. The data they handle and their processes should be closely monitored too to ensure that they do what they claim to do.


With the surge of mental health apps sales especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become even more important to assess how these apps handle user data. They have a lot of information about the user, data that is very personal but do they ensure this data doesn’t leak? While some apps heavily encrypt your data and don’t sell your information, others give off some information for ad targeting.

But no matter the reason, it’s your data and should be kept private. You can ensure your online privacy with the use of a VPN such as LimeVPN, as it encrypts your internet connection and protects your data from prying eyes.