Mental health apps breaking the stigma

    Screen shot of mental health app. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

    The rise of robot therapists. These days, mental-health care isn't just limited to face-to-face counseling.

    Suffering from stress, anxiety, even depression? There's an app for that.

    Mental-health counseling, literally at your fingertips. You can now tell your problems to your cell phone.

    Over the past few years, hundreds of interactive apps were launched designed to give mental health advice.

    Roger Perez with Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services said there are two reasons these apps are beneficial.

    One, they're easy to use and two, they're stigma free.

    Right now, Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services is working with two apps. Seven Cups and Mindstrong. More than 10 California counties, including Kern, are working to make this real treatment.

    “We’re using therapists and peers and we’re really taking a look deep into what these things can and can’t do,” Perez said.

    While, this could be helpful for a bad day, Perez is concerned people will use this in a crisis.

    Online reviews are overwhelmingly positive, though there is very limited research measuring the impact. But Perez said they won't replace therapists.

    “It always has to involve a path to care, you know, because we want to make sure that people are getting the right treatment,” he said. “It’s hard to replicate a therapist, you know, with a program, you know, with some software.”

    Perez also recommends you do your research when using these apps.

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