Warning over mindfulness apps offering ‘quick fix’
Doctors are warning about the risks of relying on smartphone mindfulness apps, offering meditation and breathing exercises, for your mental health.
The apps have become some of the most popular downloads, offering everything from improved creativity to pain relief.
But Dr Quinn Grundy, a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, has been investigating some of the apps that are among the most popular of their kind.
“We noticed that apps are promising consumers quick, easy, effortless and often instant solutions, to what they’re framing as their health issues,” she said.
“So we’d see things like, ‘in just ten minutes you’ll sleep better’, or ‘just listen, the app will do the rest and your anxiety will be gone’, or ‘track your mood everyday and your symptoms will improve’.”
And she said that such quick-fix pledges could be damaging to those seeking help.
“If your app has promised that you’ll get better really easily and really quickly and you don’t, consumers shouldn’t feel like there’s something wrong with them,” Dr Grundy said.
“Or that their mental health can’t be treated.”
While the apps tout their healing credentials, only a small percentage of them have been created by universities or healthcare professionals.
“So there was a couple from the government that we looked at, the Department of Defence for example,” Dr Grundy said.
“And a few from some prominent mental health organisations — and I would say that we had the most confidence in those.
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