Mental health includes our psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It also determines how we handle pressure situations or stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health doesn't belong to the phase of life, instead it is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. In your life span, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking and behavior could be affected. There are so many factors that contribute to mental health problems, some of them are the following:
- Biological factors
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
As we get some idea of mental health, now let’s understand what mental health software/application is:
Mental health apps/software are tools that can be used via smartphone or mobile device and help users to improve their mental health. Mental health apps also provide a way to contact healthcare professionals to discuss the environment of a person’s mental health. There are so many advantages of mental health apps and some of them are as follows:
- Use Anywhere: If someone is seeking therapy for anxiety, depression, or similar disorders then it's not required to wait for a therapist appointment and not required to be a physical presence at clinics. Therapy sessions are also very expensive, and all the seekers can't afford them. On the other hand, most mental health apps are free or very low-cost. Users can use it anywhere and save time as well as the cost of traveling and therapy sessions.
- High Patient Engagement: Mental health app users have an intrinsic motivation to use the mental health app at regular intervals in order to progress in treatment. This comes from the fact that the user is the one who is responsible for his/her own improvement. That internal drive can be boosted by usage reminder notifications, another discrete but effective smartphone feature.
- Confidentiality: Mental health application/software are completely confidential. Mental health apps don’t require directly communicating with another person, which helps to keep the user data confidential.
Trending Mental Health Apps/Software
In Today’s market, there are so many mental health apps present. To understand how mental health application works, let’s go through some widely used mental health applications:
- Moodfit: It is an application that helps users to understand and improve their moods, increase resilience, and accomplish goals. This application uses cognitive behavioral (CBT) principles such as mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude journaling to treat fluctuations in mood that may occur due to depression, stress, and anxiety. This app helps users to create their own goals or choose from defaults such as mood, sleep, gratitude, and nutrition. The home screen of this app shows the percentage of goals that the users have achieved along with how many days they have saved their moods consecutively. This app also has features to set reminders that offer tips for improving one’s mood, as well as a section that tracks the user’s progress with charts.
- Talkspace: This application is an online driven platform that helps users to text, video call, and send audio messages with a licensed therapist. All sessions are done completely via your smartphone using this app. Users can schedule the sessions according to his/her own convenience. All the therapists on the Talkspace app, go through a rigorous vetting and credentialing process and are licensed to practice in certain states, so the user will be matched with one in your time zone. This app provides a choice of three therapists based on users' personalized assessment.
- Sanvello: It is a mental health app that follows the clinically backed principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s more like an anti-anxiety kit that goes wherever you go and can be used whenever the user needs it. This app is best for anyone experiencing mild to moderate anxiety, stress, or depression. This app consists of the features like guided meditations, therapy, peer support, health habit tracking, and goal setting and tracking.
- Happify: This app aims to help users reduce stress, anxiety, and negative thinking, and improve emotional health. This app is easy to use as users just need to create an account and answer a short questionnaire which helps the app to suggest a “track” for the user. "Tracks" consist of groups of activities and games that help the user achieve their goals. Happify focuses on four main areas:
- Put an end to negative thoughts
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Build optimism and mindfulness
- Gain confidence and self-esteem
- iBreathe: The app is designed with one purpose i.e., simple deep breathing exercises. iBreathe is an easy-to-use app for breathing exercises and deep breathing exercises help to reduce stress and anxiety. Deep breathing exercises provide the best results when done daily, so you can set the app to remind you when it’s time to do your breathing exercises. Whenever the user feels an extra stressful moment, the user can open this app for a little stress relief.
Role of QA in Mental Health Apps Testing
Mental health software helps the user to fight issues related to mental health. So, it’s very important that these apps should work according to the described features. Security is also an important aspect of these applications/software as user data related to health is very critical. To make sure that all features and functionalities are working as expected, it should be ensured that the applications/software are tested by QA professionals. Following are the areas in which QA can help to make mental health applications better:
- Security Testing: Personal data security is one of the top priorities while developing the mental health app/software. Users will share ‘sensitive information’ on these apps, so it should make sure about data security. QA team can perform the following things to confirm the data security:
- Sensitive data should be shared with only the intended persons
- Application or System should not allow invalid users
- Extra security (OTP or confirmation email) should be there if any financial site is linked to the application
- Secured password
- Compatibility Testing: In this, tester will examine how a product works on different operating system versions and on different devices. Mental health apps/software designed for different platforms like iPhone, Android, and Windows. It is important that the application should run without any lag or problems on all devices. To make sure these things are correct, the QA team can perform Compatibility testing.
- Performance Testing: This testing is conducted to check system performance under a specific workload. Mental health apps are used by a huge number of users, so the performance of these apps should be tested. This testing can't be done by any user, rather well-trained QA professionals are required to do the same. A QA team can evaluate the performance of an application using different performance testing tools. QA can verify the following things to test the performance of app/software:
- If the user clicks on any feature, then QA makes sure that the application responds quickly
- The maximum user load of the software application can handle
- Testing an application under extreme workloads to see how it handles high-traffic or data processing
- Tests the software’s reaction to sudden large spikes in the load generated by users
- Usability Testing: This testing is done from an end user's perspective to determine if the system is easily usable. Usability testing is generally the practice of testing how easy a design is to use on a group of representative users. The design or UI of Mental health apps/software should be simple so that users can easily operate the same. To perform this testing, the following parameters should be covered:
- All the features of applications should be visible to the end-users
- Effective Navigation
- Good Error Handling
- Edge case testing: Edge case testing is a situation that occurs only at a maximum or minimum operating parameter. In some of the mental health apps, it's important that an alert message should trigger the physician if a user is in extreme depression as per the inputs by the user. QA professionals should verify the edge case scenarios for the conditions when the alert message is sent out to the physician.
QA professionals also carry out the following types of testing to ensure the quality of mental health app/software:
- Condition Testing: It checks the product's performance during low battery conditions and lack of internet connection
- Compliance Testing: It ensure an app complies with Google and Apple guidelines
- Installation Testing: It verifies that if an app installs and uninstalls successfully
- Localization Testing: It confirms that no issue appeared after the product's content has been translated to another language
- Migration Testing: It ensures that everything works seamlessly after adding new features or changing the technology stack of an already deployed software solution
- Negative Testing: Negative testing ensures that the application can handle the unwanted user input and actions. This testing is generally done to ensure the stability of the application
In today's world, mental illness is very common, but people hide this illness from friends, family, and even from medical professionals. It's necessary to aware the people about the issues related to mental health and psychological health care. As the issue related to mental health is growing, the demand for mental health professionals is also growing but the supply is decreasing. Mental health apps and software are a convenient and efficient way to help with anxiety or other mood related disorders when access to professional treatment is limited.
Mental health apps can be a great way to practice beneficial strategies and exercises at home, but it’s important not to substitute these apps for psychotherapy when professional treatment is necessary. All the applications that are related to healthcare systems require testing before launching them in the market. So, it’s important that QA professionals with specific skill sets need to test these applications. The QASource team can provide the best services to test the mental health apps/software as the team has great expertise in health care application testing. To know more, contact QASource experts now.