Do your research if you’re deciding whether to use a mental health app or tech company, your privacy and wellbeing could be at risk

Tech/big companies using apps and other platforms

Being transparent, while writing this article, I’m using a vague description, not naming any companies, to protect myself. There are a few companies that come to mind. These companies are not owned by mental health professionals. The companies act more as a therapist directory or as a way to link you to a therapist. If you’re thinking of one and questioning whether it’s legitimate, a rip off, that it could be taking advantage of people, or raising ethical red flags, then you could be right. If you’re a mental health professional reading this, let’s work together to continue to spread awareness of big tech moving into our field and the harm that it’s causing (or could lead to). The situation is not good for therapists’ wellbeing, smaller private practices, and clients. If you’re reading this and are considering using an app/tech company to support your mental health, make sure you do your research, for your protection, before doing so.

Major concerns that come to mind

Do your research and read the fine print. Read reviews written by therapists and people receiving services. There are a lot of negative reviews out there (positive ones, as well). Read through the terms or service, policies, and privacy practices.

YOUR “PRIVACY” ISN’T ACTUALLY PRIVATE if you’re using certain mental health apps or tech companies.

Since (around) 2020, mental health professionals have experienced and heard bothersome stories about these companies. Therapists are underpaid and asked to break their codes of ethics, in some cases. Smaller private practices could be losing business, as these large tech companies seem to spend a lot of money on advertising. I’m bombarded on social media by ads of these companies. Clients are overcharged and their private information is sent to third parties. Personally, I see a bothersome story or post popup on the weekly basis in a therapist thread, posted by a mental health professional. The frequency is not a good sign.

We need to continue to expose large tech companies (not owned by mental health professionals) who are taking advantage of the mental health crisis here in America. As a mental health professional, I do my best to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the field, raise awareness on topics and issues, and be an advocate. I understand that there might be good intentions behind these companies, but I can’t say that I really support them. I don’t see myself ever referring another person to use the services. I think that there are too many red flags and concerns to jump on board, supporting these companies.

Please, reconsider using and supporting certain mental health apps and tech companies. Instead, support a small, local private practice.

I feel like my thoughts are scattered, but my goal is to just get a few points out. Thank you for making it this far…

Two final thoughts,

1. It’s terrible seeing celebrities supporting, promoting and helping to fund these companies. A good question to ask, is if the people who are promoting the services actually use them themselves?

Article:

YouTube Stars Are Being Accused of Profiting Off Fans’ Depression

2. Please share this information to continue to raise awareness.

Additional information:

Mental health app privacy language opens up holes for user data: policies can change at any time

How the BetterHelp scandal changed our perspective on influencer responsibility

‘We don’t think this is a healthy therapeutic relationship’: Therapist exposes BetterHelp’s problems in viral TikTok: ‘Most of us don’t like what BetterHelp is doing to our industry’


How to find private practice mental health services


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