There’s no doubt that severe mental illnesses suck, and schizophrenia is one of those which suck the most. Even though modern medicine manages to keep its most prominent symptoms such as paranoia and delusions in check, there’s still plenty of less visible and somewhat less treatable issues people suffering from schizophrenia experience. E.g. things like anxiety and lethargy are often symptoms of schizophrenia and are hard to treat without interfering with the main treatment. Well, is one to do when traditional medicine cannot provide an easy answer? Of course – develop a mobile app. At least, that’s what people who made the PRIME app claim. PRIME combines elements of social networking, task management, and on-demand therapy in order to help people with the aforementioned and similar schizophrenia symptoms and keep them motivated and determined about treating their illness.
The app was designed by a psychiatry professor Danielle Shlosser who explains how her main motivation while working on this piece of mobile software was to help fight against social isolation which schizophrenia patients often experience, even when they’re undergoing treatment for their illness. In that regard, PRIME looks like some kind of a simple social network with status updates. It also enables mental health professionals to monitor its users and communicate with them when needed, as well as serving as a form of a self-motivation tool which patients can use to set and track their “challenge goals”, i.e. ambitions which they would like to accomplish.
The app was featured in the latest edition of the non-profit magazine Pacific Standard which quotes a patient who claims mobile tech could potentially do wonders in the fight against schizophrenia. The reason for that lies in the fact that schizophrenia is most damaging when people suffering from it are socially isolated while social networking and other similar aspects of mobile technology, could easily offset these less visible, but not any less potentially dangerous symptoms. At the moment, PRIME is undergoing a period of testing and refinement. There’s still no mention of a specific release date but its developers are hoping to launch it by next year, presumably for Android and iOS devices. The individuals from the PRIME team naturally aren’t the only one who believe modern technology can help with curing mental illnesses; the recently appointed head of Google Life Sciences Dr. Thomas Insel also shares a similar belief.