Whilst much of the talk from Apple’s biggest product event in years was centered around its augmented reality headset, an area that went under the radar was the launch of new mental health tracking features on its operating platforms.

For phones, the ‘Health’ app will now boast an interface for users to engage with and reflect on their state of mind. Apple watches will receive the update via its mindfulness app. Users will be able to scroll through a range of dynamic multidimensional shapes and describe how they feel – using a slide bar on a scale from very unpleasant to pleasant.

The interface also prompts users to tag their feelings with things they are experiencing. The interface also prompts users to identify associations between emotions and life experiences such as nerves during travel or stress around family relationships.

The Health app analyses the logged input with other data in the app such as sleep and exercise and provides insights so individuals can manage their overall health.

Mobile health applications are booming as more users seek to manage their health, and healthcare professionals encourage patients to monitor certain health parameters outside of clinical settings. In May, a study demonstrated that the digital app Brain in Hand can reduce anxiety in adults with autism.

The app, developed by UK-based digital healthcare company, Brain in Hand, offers a self-management system for people with neurological differences and mental health issues. Using a combination of practical coaching, digital tools and 24/7 human support, it aims to give users independence.

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Regulated medical apps are predicted to be worth $12.1bn by 2030, and the health management app market is expected to be even bigger. Regulated medical apps are focused towards individual diseases and target healthcare providers as users. Apple has entered this market too – its watches have FDA-cleared heart rhythm measuring capabilities and can alert users to a potentially impending atrial fibrillation.

The company is also going one stage further for mental health, which it says is “as important as physical health”, by offering the same depression and anxiety assessments that are used in clinics.

Apple says these assessments can determine a user’s risk level and connect them with additional support such as mental health services or a healthcare professional. Apple stated that the new features across its devices can “help raise awareness and acceptance for this important topic.”

“Identifying our feelings has been shown to help us manage difficult emotions, appreciate positive moments, and improve wellbeing,” said Dr Michelle Craske, professor of psychology and psychiatry at University of California, Los Angeles, in a statement released by Apple.