HealthMental Health


Apple Is Hiring Counselors To Improve Siri's Mental Health Support

Tech companies like Apple and Google are starting to offer better support for mental health concerns.
Posted at 7:11 PM, Sep 15, 2017

Apple is getting a lot of attention for its new iPhone with facial recognition and emoji features. But the company is also working to improve features for another matter: mental health.

Mashable notes Apple is looking to recruit a Siri software engineer for health and wellness.

The job description, posted in April, reads, "People have serious conversations with Siri ... including when they're having a stressful day or have something serious on their mind." 

The position specifies a need for people with peer counseling or psychology backgrounds, as well as experience in computer science and AI technology. It's one of the many recent positions focused on health technologies. 

Apple's efforts follow other tech company initiatives to aid mental health concerns. Earlier this summer, Google added a screening test to mobile searches for "depression" and "am I depressed?" One expert said the feature "could raise awareness" about treatment. 

Beyond Apple and Google, other mental health apps like iCBTMoodTools and PTSD Coach offer avenues for people looking to receive digital support. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs created PTSD Coach to offer strategies and coping mechanisms for people with the condition.

But some experts question the effectiveness of these digital initiatives. One research study said most app-based mental health programs lacked clinical credibility and effectiveness and might even result in over-reliance and increased anxiety. 

This doesn't necessarily mean all mental health apps are ineffective. But it does mean users should be wary of what they download. To aid in the search, experts recommend digital tools that involve actual clinicians, or at the very least, publish patient statistics.