Many agree that we faced a dual pandemic of COVID and behavioral health. Behavioral health is a combination of mental health and addiction. The pandemic brought many challenges; among them was its negative impact on mental health. Isolation and social distancing affected populations in a way never seen before. The requirement for mental healthcare was plain to see. Mental health applications have consistently risen across the healthcare sector, and everyone can agree that they are loaded with advantages for healthcare providers and patients alike.

Where We Are:

Realistically, mental health spending in healthcare has been on the rise even before the pandemic. The stigma towards recognizing and addressing behavioral health needs, however, considerably reduced during COVID. Regarding mental health spending, the growth in adult populations has been about 13%. In contrast, the growth percentage among pediatric populations has been 23% and 18% among teenagers.

With increased demand, one would expect the cost of care to reduce. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Anxiety, depression, addiction, etc., are all still costing care treatments. Ideally, this should not be the case, considering that most of these behavioral health needs involve outpatient care. In mild cases, digital intervention through behavioral apps and software may be enough as the primary form of care.

A closer analysis has revealed that an increased number of patients are seeking not only behavioral care but also more intensive care. For example, the pandemic has brought an immediate demand for addiction services, which often require hospitalization and other intensive care. Studies indicate that before the pandemic, 1 in 4 adults reported mild to moderate symptoms, while post-pandemic, we see this number jump to almost half of the population health reporting moderate to severe symptoms. Currently, the success rate for addiction is relatively low on the spectrum.

Where We Should Be:

Treatments involving behavioral care are usually long-term. It usually takes up to a year to provide complete treatment. In chronic cases, it usually requires life-long treatment.

Digital interventions are gaining popularity, but there is still a critical need for human intervention. The combination of the two factors offers more promise. Digital therapy can efficiently do the groundwork that will then require human intervention to take forward. In addition to neutralizing the threat of stigmatization, behavioral health apps, and software can perform at a higher pace and efficiency and offer more convenience. Populations that are less accessible, such as teen populations, are more likely to adopt digital tools for behavioral health.

Among the many digital tools available, it is sometimes difficult to identify the right one for the patient. The critical factor in determining the appropriate digital technology would be looking at the specificity level. For example, for patients with insomnia, caregivers should offer a telehealth solution that deals explicitly with cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. A mental health case management software is an application used by mental health providers and related staff to manage the behavior and health of their patients and provide support through easy access to behavioral health care managers or even general mental health management. The development of mental health patient case management software requires a different approach from regular health app development, as the needs and realities of mental health are unique.

Development of telehealth app witnessed a phenomenal rise from 4% in the pre-pandemic stage to 90% by April 2020. About 80% of telehealth services are designed for behavioral health conditions. Almost every behavioral healthcare organization in the country today offers telehealth services. The advantage of this is the optimal balance between digital tools and in-person therapy, which coordinates behavioral care.

Drug Usage for Mental Health:

Software development can rely on electronic patient record systems to track prescriptions for patients from medical providers. Behavioral health software solutions should be empowered with this feature to ensure that patients are kept safe from access to multiple dosages and medication overdose. E-prescribing can also help doctors track the medication regularity of patients. Automated prescription management is an integral feature to help with mental health.

Mental Health in the Workplace:

Employers are now actively seeking to reduce the stigma associated with mental health in the workplace. This includes addiction stigma. They are looking to offer innovative ways for workers to be able to ask for help. Telehealth is now offering multiple tools toward this end. Effective therapies for common behavioral health concerns and effective psychotherapy medications should be easily accessible to employees. Strategies to cope with stress have also been incorporated into mainstream workplace operations. Currently, almost 78% of employers offer some form of a mental health program at the workplace.

Mental & behavioral health case management can be empowered with techniques for employees to monitor their symptoms and receive automated suggestions for self-help. This encourages patient empowerment with safe suggestions to manage their conditions. Another offering of case management is to connect monitoring techniques with wearable devices to set off emergency alarms and monitor routine behavior, along with mental health fitness suggestions.


Bang in the middle of a mental healthcare crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons. The healthcare sector has witnessed a struggle of strain, and social distancing has become the new normal. With this calamity, telehealth systems have emerged as the need of the hour. Innovation opportunities in virtual healthcare technology have become a priority. Explore more exciting topics and listen to insightful podcasts related to healthcare only on CareTalk.

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