The mental health domain today is full of apps and solution providers asking people to try them out. Wherever you go on the internet — Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook, Youtube, etc., you keep hearing this message
“Try us once and you’ll feel the difference”.
When you try it and still don’t feel a difference, they are like “didn’t you know that you need to make it a habit to feel better?!” or “Mental health is a process. It takes time”.
Look at me, try me, pay me — this is predominantly the message these apps seem to deliver. Now, this strategy is okay for SaaS and Social media products. But when an individual is struggling with anxiety, depression, lack of inspiration, lack of connection, etc., asking the users to try the app without having a context of whether it can be helpful to them or not — is inhuman.
Mental health is a spectrum — we have a string of challenges in this domain and a variety of solutions. There’s no way one solution is best for an individual all the time.
The bigger challenge is finding out what works for an individual right now. Everyone is telling the individual that they are the best. What if solution providers stop doing this?
For example, what if as a part of the first conversation, a therapist tells you — let’s see if I am the right person for you and if therapy is the right thing for you at this moment in time. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Yes, this might sound preposterous to some because a product or solution provider is supposed to sell themselves all the time, even when they are not the right fit for the individual. But that’s exactly what is wrong with the mental health industry(?!) today.
Yes, for mental health, we need the individual to take responsibility. But solution providers need to enable individuals to assess if the solution is the right thing for them at that point in time. This is the basic minimum!
There is this huge greediness. Every problem suddenly is a mental health problem. Everyone from CBT providers, coaches, meditation experts, mental health apps, etc. all want a huge part of the pie. They want to be the one-stop-shop solution. Nothing wrong with this aspiration except that there is so much diversity to mental health problems. A solution provider should be really arrogant to say that theirs is the best solution for everyone in every case. This is textbook market greediness!
Individuals are not passive consumers of apps and therapy. They play an active part in finding what solution will work for them. Exposing conditions when a solution might or might not help someone is key to recovery. Just because someone is facing a mental health challenge does not mean that they don’t have the capability to judge what’s right for them. It’s the responsibility of mental health solution providers to enable individuals to make the right decision in such vulnerable moments.