mHealth: helping patients deal with anxiety

How Mobile Solutions Help Pediatric Patients Deal With Anxiety

Childhood can be a difficult time. Kids are tasked with learning new skills, overcoming new challenges, and figuring out a world that doesn’t always make a lot of sense.

At the same time, as your child grows, he or she will be getting to know themselves and figuring out where their place might be in the world around them.

It’s no wonder that roughly one in eight children in the US have some kind of anxiety disorder to deal with.

For some children, it’s a generalized anxiety disorder, leading to excessive worry and stress. For other kids, it might be the worry that a parent or loved one is going to leave them.

Fortunately for parents, and the children that they’re caring for, there are solutions that can help a youngster to deal with their feelings of anxiety. From therapeutic strategies to games that help children to process their emotions, there are plenty of options out there.

Today, we’re going to examine how mobile solutions can be useful at helping children to handle anxiety.

Mobile solutions for anxiety: education apps

The mobile solutions that children and parents can use to tackle anxiety often depend on the issues that they’re trying to overcome. One simple example of how mobile tools can help is eLearning applications.

An educational application downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet can help both a child dealing with an anxiety disorder and their parents better understand their condition.

For many children and their families, facing an anxiety disorder is made even more difficult when they don’t understand why they’re feeling a certain way.

Educational apps can break down complicated ideas like post-traumatic stress disorder and OCD into bite-sized chunks of information that children and their carers can easily understand.

These tools can even come with separate sections for parents and children. For instance, the educational portion of the app for a child might include easy-to-grasp information, and tips on how to control their anxiety with relaxation techniques.

On the other hand, the parent-side of the app could include details on how to handle difficult moments with their child, or when to seek extra help from a professional.

Anxiety apps and wearables

Apps intended to support and educate children with anxiety are becoming increasingly immersive over the years.

Thanks to things like machine learning and the internet of things, developers have been able to connect smartphones to wearable devices and tools that can help parents and doctors to gather more information about a child.

For instance, a wearable watch could monitor a child’s heart rate throughout the day, and alert parents when they enter a state of anxiety similar to a panic attack.

When the wearable device recognizes the panic attack, it can be designed to instantly contact a parent for support or deliver advice on how the child can manage the experience with tips sent straight to a smartphone.

The same wearable devices and tracking apps can also act as useful sources of information for doctors and specialists that need help tracking how effective certain treatment strategies are.

Over time, a doctor may be able to see using a visual graph that tools like CBT are helping the child to control their anxiety and reduce their number of panic attacks.

Games and tools for anxiety management

Gamification has become a very valuable tool in the healthcare industry, particularly when dealing with pediatric patients.

Apps like Pokemon Go have encouraged more children to get out into the world and improve their fitness. Nutrition and weight management apps give people help to achieve their goals by providing them with targets to reach.

In the world of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral health, the same gamification-style apps can be very useful. These tools can come with things like rewards that children earn whenever they complete a full meditation session before bed.

There are also various relaxation apps for children that come with levels and tasks to accomplish.

One 3D fantasy game in the app world called Sparx was even developed in New Zealand to help people with depression learn strategies in cognitive behavioral therapy to assist with managing their depression.

Children will be more likely to use game-style apps to help them manage their depression and anxiety because they’ll feel more like they’re playing, and less like they’re getting some form of “treatment”.

Games and smartphone apps feel like a more natural part of your child’s day, which means that they’re less likely to feel like they’re “different”, which can worsen their anxiety. Children don’t always like admitting to the fact that they need help with their emotions.

Helping both parents and children with anxiety

Mobile devices and solutions are proving to be a very powerful tool for both children and their parents when dealing with anxiety. We’re living in a world where the mobile landscape is making it easier for us all to access the help that we need when we need it most.

Children and parents can even use specialist smartphone apps to set up digital meetings with therapists and doctors when they can’t visit a clinic in person.

Sometimes, having a video discussion with a therapist will be more appealing to a parent who works long hours or a nervous child who doesn’t want to visit a new place. This makes it much easier for people to get the assistance that they need from a distance.

While there are dozens of apps for children on the market that can help them to process their anxiety and relax, there are also apps for parents too. Tools that allow parents to monitor and track a child’s condition through wearables can help to put their minds at ease.

There are also various apps that allow parents to interact with other people who are in the same position as them and get guidance on how to deal with difficult situations.

Parents can sometimes have a very difficult time knowing what the right thing is to do for their youngsters. The right digital tools provide mothers and fathers with an extra source of knowledge and support when they feel as though they’re struggling.

The mobile revolution

The rise of the mobile world hasn’t just given us an environment where it’s easier to connect with each other. Todays’ mobile devices also provide plenty of access to useful information, games, apps, and processes that can help us deal with a wide gamut of mental health issues.

Although most children will need custom treatment to overcome their anxiety issues, mobile solutions could form an important part of the recovery process.



This is a guest post by Michelle Laurey. Michelle works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking business, and productivity, and share her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow! Talk to her on Twitter.