4 MIN READ | Mental Health

Mental Health Revealed as the Biggest Health Concern in the UK

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, (2021, January 28). Mental Health Revealed as the Biggest Health Concern in the UK. Psychreg on Mental Health. https://www.psychreg.org/mental-health-biggest-concern-uk/
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Over three quarters (75%) of mobile users increased their usage of health apps during the pandemic in 2020. The new Health App Index from Uswitch, the comparison and switching service, has revealed the world’s most searched-for health apps and discovered how much personal data each of the most popular apps stores.

Taking a seed list of 15 of the world’s most downloaded health apps, the mobiles team at Uswitch have scored each app on four criteria which includes App Store chart position, Google search volume, value for money, and how much data they hold on users.

Scoring 15 out of the 15 available points, Flo: The Period Tracker App tops the list for the most popular health app worldwide. Flo appeared in the top ten most popular app list in every country within the index, cementing its popularity with more than 30 million users all over the globe.  

With more than 20 million downloads in 2020, Calm: The Meditation App was ranked second on the list. Calm is the most popular in Ireland, Luxembourg, and the UK, scoring an average chart position of 4.7 on the App Store.

Meanwhile, MyFitnessPal has topped the index for the best weight management app. With the ability to count calories as well as your water intake and fitness routines, the app has everything you need to help track your eating habits for a healthier you in the new year.

Top 15 health apps worldwide

App

Average App Store Chart Position

Score /15

Flo

5

15

Calm

9

14

MyFitnessPal

15

13

Strava

15

12

Nike Run Club

19

11

Headspace

20

10

Fitbit

24

9

Sleep Cycle

27

8

Fitness Coach

29

7

Clue

36

6

Lifesum

37

5

Nike Training Club

42

4

Wake Out

59

3

AllTrails

94

2

Sleep Booster

111

1

Source: Uswitch

With gyms closed and indoor fitness classes cancelled for the entire country, many more people have been going out for a run throughout 2020. Strava and Nike Run Club have both scored in the top 10 best health apps in the study and proved popular in several countries including the UK and Australia.

For those focusing on sleep in the new year, Sleep Cycle has ranked at number nine. With half (50%) of the population admitting to disturbed sleep during the height of the lockdown, the app has features that have proven popular with new users including alarms, sleep routines and bedtime tips that will help get your sleeping back on track.

Focusing on health concerns between countries, Australia is most concerned with bettering themselves as they searched for apps related to weight and health over 100,000 times in the past 12 months.

Most health concerned countries

Country

Rating

Top Health Category

Top App

Australia

1

Mind

Headspace

Canada

2

Running

Nike Run Club

United Kingdom

3

Mind

Calm

United States

4

Body

Flo

New Zealand

5

Weight

My Fitness Pal

Norway

6

Body

Flo

Sweden

7

Sleep

Sleep Booster

Netherlands

8

Sleep

Sleep Cycle

Denmark

9

Mind

Headspace

France

10

Sleep

Sleep Booster

Ireland

11

Mind

Calm

Austria

12

Weight

Life Sum

Belgium

13

Fitness

Fitness Coach

Germany

14

Running

AllTrails

Switzerland

15

Fitness

Fitbit

Israel

16

Sleep

Sleep Booster

Finland

17

Sleep

Sleep Cycle

Luxembourg

18

Mind

Calm

Czech Republic

19

Weight

LifeSum

Costa Rica

20

Sleep

Sleep Cycle

Source: Uswitch

For Australians, it’s been revealed that apps promoting mindfulness such as Headspace are their favourite health apps. Meanwhile, Canadians, who came in as the second most health-conscious country, choose apps that help them monitor their runs as their favourite, choosing Nike Run Club to help track themselves.

The United Kingdom is third on the list, also preferring mental health-focused apps such as Calm and Headspace, at least one of which topped the list in four other countries including the United States, Denmark and Ireland. Apps such as these have seen a 6,500% increase in downloads over the last nine months[8] as poor mental health rates have increased by a tenth (10%) worldwide[9] thanks to ongoing lockdowns and rule changes.

Catherine Hiley, mobiles expert at Uswitch comments: ‘At a time of immense stress for many of us, health apps have played an important part in helping us track our well-being.

‘With a lot of people setting health goals for the new year, and without realistic or specific targets in mind, these apps help make us more accountable for our overall goals. 

‘If you’re looking to keep to your targets this year, start with a realistic and specific goal such as “meditate for 10 minutes a day” rather than “meditate more”, and you will be more likely to stick to and achieve your health aspirations. 

‘Whether you are looking to manage your sleep, get more exercise or improve your long-distance running, there will be an app to help you along the way. But with so many to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Our new Health App Index can help you find the right app to suit your needs, and assist  you achieve your fitness goals in the process.’

Mike Delaney, Clinical Director at Delamere Health, has also commented on the importance health apps can play for our mental health: ‘The pandemic has brought our mortality into sharp focus as people realise that they are not indestructible. It is quite frightening to face the fact that many thousands of people have lost their lives through no fault of their own and from an invisible virus that can be anywhere at any time and it has certainly made us all question our own health.

‘There are some very effective apps out there which can have a huge impact on mental health, however, they should be ethical and not continually selling things, gathering valuable information about the user or harness addictive processes which can lead to dependence. An effective app can be a great tool for processing feelings and remaining calm in situations which cause anxiety.’


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