A recent report in Nature provides a fantastic overview of the rapidly exploding space of mental health apps. Buried near the bottom, the journal provides examples of misinformation in a few of the apps–and some of those examples totally freaked me out. Like, kept-me-up-at-night levels of freaked out.
“One, called iBipolar, advised people in the middle of a manic episode to drink hard liquor to help them to sleep, and another, called What is Biopolar Disorder, suggested that bipolar disorder could be contagious. Neither app seems to be available any more.”
How does this happen? Well, the federal regulations governing such apps is fairly opaque, and it’s not clear whether a watchdog of sorts will emerge to distinguish the bad app(les) from the gold standard apps. It’s no wonder that this space is often referred to as a “Wild West.”