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Therapy on the go: Mildly depressed or simply stressed, people are tapping apps for mental health care

How do mental health apps compare to in-person therapy? A social worker and expert on technology and human services explains.

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More and more people are experimenting with mental health apps and discovering their benefits and limits. d3sign/Moment via Getty Images

It might be surprising to think about browsing for therapists and ordering up mental health care the way you can peruse a menu on Grubhub or summon a car on Lyft.

But over the last decade, digital access to therapy has become increasingly common, in some cases replacing the traditional model of in-person weekly sessions between a therapist and client.

Apps for mental health and wellness range from mood trackers, meditation tools and journals to therapy apps that match users to a licensed professional. My team’s research focuses on therapy apps that work by matching clients to a licensed professional.

As a social work researcher, I am interested in understanding how these apps affect clients and practitioners. My research team has studied the care that app users receive. We have talked to therapists who use apps to reach new clients. We’ve also analyzed app contracts that mental health professionals sign, as well as the agreements clients accept by using the apps.

Real questions persist about how apps are regulated, how to ensure user privacy and care quality and how remote therapy can be reimbursed by insurance. While those debates continue, people are regularly using apps to connect to therapists for help with emotional and mental struggles. And through these apps, therapists are interacting with people who may never have considered therapy before.

A ready-made market

In the first year of the pandemic, rates of depression and anxiety increased by 25% worldwide. In a June 2020 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, compared to only 19% in 2018.

The old model of therapy, in which therapists and patients sat face to face, was already out of reach for many. In fact, mental health apps are a response to the demand from clients seeking more accessible therapy services.

The COVID-19 pandemic turbocharged both trends – the growing need for mental health care and using technology to access it. For existing mental health clients, stay-at-home orders closed clinics and therapists’ offices to in-person visits, resulting in an unprecedented shift to online access to therapy.

How matching apps work

Consumer mental health platforms like Better Help, Alma and TalkSpace match clients to licensed therapy providers. With advertising on television, across social media channels and on highway billboards, the apps promote flexibility, convenience and the potential to receive support with slogans like “You deserve to be happy” or “Feeling better starts with a single call.”

When app users enter a platform’s online space, its proprietary software offers a digital dashboard and communication tools. These platforms also promise instant access to a professional therapist, immediate responsiveness from them as well as anonymity.

App users choose a therapist by reviewing a list of providers accompanied by thumbnail photos, resume-like bios and consumer reviews. Users also choose how they’ll connect with therapists – phone or video calls, email, text or some combination. The apps also let clients change therapists at any time.

As the client and their chosen therapist connect and communicate, behind the scenes the app collects and maintains records, later calculating the chosen therapist’s payment and billing the app user.

Against a lavender background, two smartphones, held by the hands of unseen people, are turned toward each other, with brightly colors speech bubbles, like the kind in comic books, coming out of the phones
For some people, entering a therapist’s office might never be an option, but they might find treatment through their smartphone more accessible. We Are/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Apps and their risks

Curiously, while mental health app platforms promote themselves as providers of mental health services, they actually don’t take responsibility for the counseling services they are providing. The apps consider therapists to be independent contractors, with the platform acting as a matching service. And the apps can help users find a more suitable fit if they request it.

But no law or precedent protects consumers or clarifies app users’ rights. This differs from face-to-face therapy, in which practitioners work under the oversight of state licensing boards and federal law. Some of the major therapy apps have been accused of mining client data and being at risk for data breaches.

Like other virtual spaces, online mental health service domains operate under ever-evolving and localized regulations.

Who benefits from these apps?

The social workers our team interviewed talked a lot about who can benefit from this kind of app-based therapy and – importantly – who can’t. For example, the platforms are not set up to treat people with serious mental illness or mental disorders that substantially interfere with a person’s life, activities and ability to function independently.

Similarly, app-based psychotherapy is not suitable for those having suicidal thoughts. The platforms screen users for risk of self-harm when they sign up. If a client ever poses harm to themselves or someone else, user anonymity on the apps makes it almost impossible for a therapist to send a crisis response team. App-based practitioners told our research team that they sometimes end up monitoring their clients for signs of crisis by contacting them through the app more frequently. It’s one reason app therapists, who also screen users, sometimes reject potential clients who may need a higher level of care.

For those without severe mental illness, app-based therapy may be helpful in matching clients with a professional familiar with a range of problems and stressors. This makes apps attractive to those with anxiety and mild to moderate depression. They also appeal to people who wouldn’t ordinarily seek out office-based therapy, but who want help with life issues such as marital problems and work-related stress.

The apps could also be practical and convenient for those who can’t or won’t get formal therapy, even remotely, from a mental health clinic or office. For instance, the anonymity of apps might appeal to people suffering from conditions like social anxiety or agoraphobia, or for those individuals who can’t or won’t appear on a video call.

Therapy apps have helped to normalize the idea that it’s OK to pursue mental health treatment through nontraditional routes. And with high-profile people such as Michael Phelps and Ariana Grande partnering with these apps, they might even be on their way to making mental health treatment cool.

Lauri Goldkind does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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GSK and IQVIA launch platform of US vaccination data, showing drop in adult rates

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of vaccine uptake has been a point of contention, but a new platform from GSK and IQVIA is hoping to shed more…

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Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of vaccine uptake has been a point of contention, but a new platform from GSK and IQVIA is hoping to shed more light on vaccine data, via new transparency and general awareness.

The two companies have launched Vaccine Track, a platform intended to be used by public health officials, medical professionals and others to strengthen data transparency and display vaccination trends. According to the companies, the platform is intended to aid in increasing vaccine rates and will provide data on trends to assist public health efforts.

Judy Stewart

The platform will also allow users to identify vaccination trends for adults in the US across multiple vaccine types. Users will also be able to scan claims data nationally to track trends alongside pre-Covid metrics.

“For the first time, Vaccine Track brings quarterly data tracking and trends together in a comprehensive platform for immunization partners, decision-makers and stakeholders. Our goal for Vaccine Track is to support the return to pre-pandemic vaccination rates for adults and to go beyond by empowering the vaccine and public health community with frequently updated, actionable information to get ahead of disease together,” said Judy Stewart, GSK’s head of vaccines in a statement.

This move comes as vaccination rates in adults were already low even before the pandemic, with a CDC report stressing that vaccine coverage in adults was low across all age groups.

So far the platform’s data show a decline in adult immunizations, excluding flu vaccinations, across the country during the pandemic. The platform currently only has information from January 2019 to December 2021 on hand but will be updated every quarter.

The data itself observed that rates were especially low in minority populations, which were already showing lower rates of immunization pre-pandemic.

The platform also showed that national trends for adults aged 19 and older are still low, with an average decrease of 18% through last year in overall claims. Average monthly claims through 2021 for recommended vaccines were between 12% and 42% below 2019 rates, with nearly half of the states in the US facing greater than 30% reductions in overall claims for recommended vaccines from pre-pandemic levels.

In Medicare patients, the platform’s analysis found a more than 30% reduction in overall claims for recommended vaccines among Black and Hispanic populations between 2019 and 2021.

The information itself is sourced from medical claims data and longitudinal prescription data, the companies said.

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Prevalence of gender-diverse youth in rural Appalachia exceeds previous estimates, WVU study shows

Gender-diverse youth are at an increased risk of suicide and depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the prevalence…

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Gender-diverse youth are at an increased risk of suicide and depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the prevalence of gender diversity is largely unknown—especially in rural areas, where studies of the topic are rare. 

Credit: WVU Photo/Sean Hines

Gender-diverse youth are at an increased risk of suicide and depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the prevalence of gender diversity is largely unknown—especially in rural areas, where studies of the topic are rare. 

To fill that knowledge gap, researchers at West Virginia University— along with their colleagues at the University of Washington and Boise State University — surveyed junior high and high school students in rural Appalachia about their gender identity. They asked about the students’ internal sense of being male, being female or having another identity, like nonbinary. They found that more than 7% of young people surveyed shared a gender identity that did not fully align with the sex they were assigned at birth.  

These findings were published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Being gender diverse, including being transgender, nonbinary or having another gender identity that doesn’t match the sex assigned at birth, is not a medical concern and is considered a normal part of human experience, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Even though gender diversity isn’t an illness, some young people who are gender diverse experience distress when their gender doesn’t align with their physical characteristics or treatment in society. This distress, called “gender dysphoria,” can be associated with higher rates of depression or even thoughts of self-harm, prior research suggests.

“We have a lot of studies that suggest gender-diverse youth are two to four times as likely to experience depression and thoughts of self-harm as their cisgender peers, or young people whose sex assigned at birth and gender identity fully align,” said WVU School of Medicine researcher Dr. Kacie Kidd, who co-authored the study. “This is an area where we need to do more research. We need to better understand how to support these young people, especially now that we are increasingly recognizing that they are here and would likely benefit from the support.”

Other study authors include Alfgeir Kristjansson, an associate professor with the WVU School of Public Health; Brandon Benton, a nurse with WVU Medicine; Gina Sequeira, of the University of Washington; and Michael Mann and Megan Smith, of Boise State University. 

Few studies have asked young people directly about their gender identity. 

A 2017 study suggested that West Virginia had the highest per capita rate of transgender youth in the country at just over 1%. 

“Prior studies have used less inclusive questions when asking young people about their identity,” said Kidd, an assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine. “We suspected that this underestimated the prevalence of gender-diverse youth.” 

She and her colleagues had previously asked these more inclusive questions to young people in Pittsburgh, a city in Appalachia. Nearly 10% of youth in that sample reported having a gender-diverse identity. 

“Despite the high prevalence of gender-diverse identities found in our Pittsburgh study, information about rural areas was still unknown,” Kidd said. “We suspect that many of the young people in rural Appalachia who shared their gender-diverse identities with us in this study may benefit from additional support, especially if they do not feel seen and supported at home and in their community.” 

This new study is one of many to recognize that researchers interested in gender diversity face a dearth of data when it comes to rural areas.  

It’s also one of many studies to recognize that gender-diverse individuals can face a scarcity of health care options, affirming social networks and other forms of support in those same rural areas.

For example, in a recent study led by Megan Gandy, BSW program director and assistant professor at the WVU School of Social Work, up to 61% of participants said they had to travel out of West Virginia to access gender-related care.

And another recent study conducted by Zachary Ramsey, a doctoral candidate in the WVU School of Public Health, found that rural areas could present unique barriers to sexual and gender minorities. 

Those barriers included discrimination and heteronormativity — or, the belief that a heterosexual and cisgender identity is the only “normal” one. They also included a lack of training for health care providers in handling LGBTQ concerns.

“Adolescent mental health is at a crisis point, according to the Centers for Disease Control,” Kidd said. “We have an access concern because so many young people need mental health services nationwide and we just don’t have enough mental health professionals to meet that need. It’s a growing problem and certainly gender-diverse youth are at an even greater risk.” 

In CDC data, the number of adolescents reporting poor mental health has increased, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Support from parents, schools, communities and health care providers has been associated with improved mental health outcomes, especially for gender-diverse youth.  

“Gender-diverse youth are incredible young people, and — as our study found — many of them live in rural areas,” Kidd said. “It is important that we ensure they have access to support so that they are able to thrive.”

Citation: The prevalence of gender-diverse youth in a rural Appalachian region”

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Award Number U48DP006391 and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under Award Number 5K12HS02693-03. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of CDC or AHRQ.


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Best Penny Stocks To Buy: 4 Short Squeeze Stocks To Watch Now

Penny stocks to buy: Here’s what short interest traders think
The post Best Penny Stocks To Buy: 4 Short Squeeze Stocks To Watch Now appeared first on…

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Penny Stocks To Buy: What To Look For

This article will discuss a handful of penny stocks to buy according to those looking for short squeeze stocks. If you’ve seen our other articles about cheap stocks with high short interest, you know that there are a lot of risks that go along with potential rewards. A quick yield means everything to traders looking to catch a short squeeze. The moves up can be legendary, but the moves lower can bring crushing blows to anyway caught on the wrong side of the trade.

The last few weeks have shown the market exactly how massive short squeezes can grow. AMTD Digital (NYSE:HKD) was the fuse that sparked the snowball effect for these trading trends. This week that continued with the latest penny stock to squeeze: Intelligent Living (NASDAQ:ILAG).

In most cases, there is very little news, if any, to act as a fundamental catalyst. With the majority of short-interest stocks, technical aspects of trading take precedence. Case in point, ILAG stock exploded 260% within about a day’s worth of time and the company didn’t release a shred of news or a single corporate filing. But it does have a tiny float and bullish momentum heading into the Monday session, which set the stage for the latest move.

Penny Stocks To Buy With High Short Interest

Does this mean all penny stocks with high short interest are destined for massive breakouts? No, and there’s usually a reason for high short interest. It usually doesn’t coincide with companies doing record revenues or experiencing ongoing growth.

Short interest grows based on traders betting the stock will fail. They’ll short it by borrowing shares from a broker, selling them, then repurchasing them later when prices are lower to return the borrow.

How To Find Short Squeeze Stocks

When a short squeeze triggers, prices move in the opposite direction, forcing shorts to cover their positions early and either break even or take a loss. This short covering, paired with high levels of retail buying, triggers a more significant move in the stock.

Let’s look at a handful of penny stocks with higher short interest. Data we’ve found using resources like TrueTradingGroup.com’s Unusual Options & Short Data Tool.

  1. Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:KPTI)
  2. Helbiz Inc. (NASDAQ:HLBZ)
  3. Purple Innovation Inc. (NASDAQ:PRPL)
  4. Ostin Technology Group (NASDAQ:OST)

1. Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: KPTI)

KPTI Stock Price as of this Article: $4.85

What Does Karyopharm Therapeutics Do?

The commercial stage pharmaceutical company develops cancer therapies, including multiple myeloma, endometrial cancer, myelodysplastic syndromes and myelofibrosis. Its lead SINE compound and XPOVIO platform is approved in the US in three oncology indications. Last quarter, the company achieved net product revenue 44% higher than Q2 2021 at $29 million. It also received full marketing authorization by the European Commission Expanding Indication for NEXPOVIO (trade name in Europe) for adults with multiple myeloma.

[Read More] Best Penny Stocks To Buy In August According To Insiders, 1 Bet Over $2 Million

A sales and earnings beat has helped build back some optimism that was lost over the last few months. It was also enough to raise the eyebrows of HC Wainwright analysts, who reiterated a Buy on KPTI stock and paired it with an $18 target.

KPTI Stock: A Short Squeeze Stock To Watch?

According to data from TrueTradingGroup.com’s Unusual Options & Short Data Tool, the current short float on KPTI stock is 25.11%.

2. Helbiz Inc. (NASDAQ: HLBZ)

HLBZ Stock Price as of this Article: $1.31

What Does Helbiz Do?

Another one of the names on this list of penny stocks is Helbiz Inc. The company specializes in “micro-mobility,” which is a fancy word for things like eScooters, eBikes, and eMopeds. Its fleet management technology uses artificial intelligence and environmental mapping to sustainably scale and manage its assets.

A recent partnership with Logan City Council in Australia will see Helbiz operate up to 400 eScooters and 400 eBikes later this month. “This latest partnership marks a significant step towards bringing safe, sustainable transportation alternatives to Australia. This announcement follows the plan to introduce 500 e-bikes in Sydney and 100 e-scooters in Alloggio resorts later this year,” said Mitchell Price, Helbiz Australia Managing Director.

HLBZ Stock: A Short Squeeze Stock To Watch?

According to data from TrueTradingGroup.com’s Unusual Options & Short Data Tool, the current short float on HLBZ stock is 32.64%.

3. Purple Innovation Inc. (NASDAQ: PRPL)

PRPL Stock Price as of this Article: $4.22

What Does Purple Innovation Do?

Purple Innovation is a slower and steadier mover compared to other names on this list of penny stocks. Shares have climbed from lows of $2.90 to highs of $4.40 over the last few weeks as PRPL stock attempts to reclaim some of this year’s losses.

[Read More] Best Penny Stocks To Buy? 3 To Watch After MEGL Stock Hits 5798%

You may have seen Purple advertised on social media for its “no pressure mattress” technology. The company offers “comfort solutions” ranging from mattresses and pillows to bedding and frames. This week investors are likely waiting to see if Purple can turn things around. The next round of earnings comes on August 9th, and guidance will probably be on the menu. Last quarter, Purple management cut its guidance.

Chief Executive Officer Rob DeMartini explained, “We remain in the early stages of creating the framework for strong operational execution. While we are making progress and believe we will see sequential improvements, including second-half profitability during this year, evolving economic and post-pandemic headwinds such as a shift in consumer buying behavior from online to in-stores and away from home related categories toward experiences and travel, has caused us to adopt a more conservative view on the remainder of 2022.”

PRPL Stock: A Short Squeeze Stock To Watch?

According to data from TrueTradingGroup.com’s Unusual Options & Short Data Tool, the current short float on PRPL stock is 25.24%.

4. Ostin Technology Group (NASDAQ:OST)

OST Stock Price as of this Article: $3.12

What Does Ostin Technology Do?

Ostin Technology supplies display modules and polarizers in China. It recently secured a $2.6 million deal for a purchase order of LCD/TP display modules expected for use in iGame G-ONE Plus gaming PCs.

CEO Tao Ling said in a July update, “We believe our products are able to power the iGame G-ONE Plus AIO gaming PC and provide an unrivaled gaming experience for gamers. We are dedicated to meet our customers’ evolving needs and have focused on establishing and maintaining long term relationships with our customers, in an effort to ensure our sustained development and improved profitability.”

OST Stock: A Short Squeeze Stock To Watch?

Other than the short float percentage, the borrow fee rate is something that traders look at. This is a fee that a broker charges for borrowing shares. Typically, the higher the fee, the more difficult it is to borrow the stock. According to data from TrueTradingGroup.com’s Unusual Options & Short Data Tool, the current borrow fee rate on OST stock is 56.71%.

Penny Stocks To Buy For Beginners

If you’re brand new to trading penny stocks in 2022, here are a few good articles to check out and some extra info on the best way to learn how to day trade, swing trade, or invest for the long-term:

If you’re interested in learning more about penny stocks, the stock market, and how to trade, check out True Trading Group, the fastest growing & highest-rated online premium educational platform available today. True Trading Group offers a 7-day Trial of its platform for $3 (non-autorenewing, nonrecurring): To Learn More Click Here.

If you enjoyed this article and you’re interested in learning how to trade so you can have the best chance to profit consistently then you need to checkout this YouTube channel. CLICK HERE RIGHT NOW!!

The post Best Penny Stocks To Buy: 4 Short Squeeze Stocks To Watch Now appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information | PennyStocks.com.

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