As the pandemic shatters Americans’ mental health, the FDA, psychiatrists, and developers are betting on smartphone apps to treat them directly



a man holding a sign in front of a television: A woman seen walking past a charity's shopfront in Stoke-on-Trent, England, on October 28, 2020.


A woman seen walking past a charity’s shopfront in Stoke-on-Trent, England, on October 28, 2020.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the US mental-health crisis, with apps like Calm and Headspace booming as people try to cope.
  • Now, a new cohort of apps are working to directly treat mental illness, rather than just help people get by.
  • Three such companies told Business Insider their programs can drive similar results as medication, and said they believe in-person therapy is outdated.
  • The Food and Drug Administration has in recent months moved to help these mental-health apps become more available.
  • Experts at the FDA, National Institute of Mental Health, and American Psychiatric Association told Business Insider that evidence indicates the apps work, and that regulators are frantically playing catch up.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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