Managing Mental Health: There’s an App for That
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. struggle daily with at least one mental illness.1 In recent years, with light being shed on such statistics, mental healthcare has emphasized empowering those struggling with mental health to speak up and seek help when needed.
It is important to be especially concerned for mental wellbeing as we go into the fall and holiday season. Even if you do not struggle daily, factors such as changes in your diet or routine, alcohol consumption, the inability to be with friends or family and less sunlight can trigger “holiday blues.”2
How can technology help manage mental health?
Many apps help manage physical health by promoting dieting and exercise, but what about mental health? With more and more individuals being concerned about managing mental health, a growing number of apps can help. Medical research has not been provided for many of these apps specifically, but the basis of many of them including meditation, breathing exercises, sleep, and relaxation, are all proven techniques to help stabilize our moods. Here are 7 apps to help you focus on mental health management. (All apps were free for both Iphone and Android at the time this research was conducted unless otherwise noted.)
Do you need help to overcome stress, negative thinking and increase resilience? Happify is an app that helps to manage such feelings. According to the app, 86 percent of the users report having an improved outlook in life after two months of use. The app offers activities and games to ward off negative emotions and weekly it calculates your “happiness” score. The app uses evidence-based techniques such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and positive psychology to help you form better habits.
In 2017, Apple named Calm as their “App of the Year.” The goals of this app include reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and increasing feelings of happiness, clarity and peace. These goals are worked toward through meditation, breathing exercises, music and nature sounds.
Moodpath works as a digital mental health companion that provides insights you can discuss with your doctor by generating an electronic document detailing your assessment after two weeks of use. The app helps screen for symptoms of depression by asking you daily questions. It also has the goal of increasing your awareness of your feelings and emotions. Moodpath contains over 150 videos and psychological exercise.
SuperBetter is a gaming app that focuses on increasing positive feelings and motivation to take on challenges. Research by the University of Pennsylvania found that those that played SuperBetter for 30 days reported better moods, decreased anxiety and depression and increased positive attitudes toward goal achievement.3 Also, SuperBetter is designed to assist with chronic illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety.
Pacifica combats daily anxiety and stress using methods such as meditation, mood tracking, CBT and relaxation. The app contains audio lessons and activities, and it assists you at tackling anxiety one day at a time by setting daily goals as well as long-term goals.
Available only for Iphone for $3.99.
Moodnotes helps you learn about your “thinking traps” and how to overcome them through insights gathered from your thought journal and mood diary. Your feelings and thinking habits are assessed and improved through implementing positive psychology and CBT.
Headspace has hundreds of themed mindfulness and meditation sessions to assist you in achieving a happier, healthier life. The app emphasizes reducing stress, building healthier relationships and finding a place of calm.
We hope you find this list helpful. However, no app will ever be able to replace medical care when you have a need. If coping seems like a battle that becomes more difficult each day, please reach out for help. You can find a list of our providers at https://www.ccmhhealth.com/providers/.
1 National Institute of Mental Health. November 2017. Mental Illness.
2 Greenstein, Laura. National Alliance of Mental Illness. 19 November 2015. Tips For Managing The Holiday Blues.
3 Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania. 2015 June. Randomized Controlled Trial of SuperBetter, a Smartphone-Based/Internet-Based Self-Help Tool to Reduce Depressive Symptoms.
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