Over the last 20 years the availability of having technology at our fingertips has become something of a norm. To know that we can call someone, listen to music, read a book, or take amazing pictures and video; is nothing short of incredible. So tell me, in all the things you do with your phone daily, have you even thought about using it to improve your mental health?
We hear so often now that our access to all the things our phones offer is causing people to become to reliant on having it. That there a drawbacks to having all this information available 24/7. But what about those people who struggle to connect with other, work odd hours or nightshift, or maybe they struggle due to crimpling anxiety and phobias causing them to experience extreme anxiety and panic when attempting to leave the house? For all the things our phones are capable of, why wouldn’t this wonderful contraption be considered healthy, when used for the right reasons (of course).
Doctors, dentist, and other providers are providing access to information using apps and other accessible sources. You may have even logged onto your patient portal to complete paperwork prior to a session or appointment. So now you might be asking, “Okay, so how do I look for apps to help with my needs?”. Well, it is important to remember that everyone’s needs and preferences are different so what is great for you might not be the bees knees for someone else.
How to choose the right app for you?
Purpose. What do you need most from the app? Do you need to track moods or medications? Help relaxing, falling asleep? Or is it something like quitting smoking?
Price point. Do you need something that is completely free, mostly fee (in app purchases), or are you open to subscriptions or one-time fees?
Reviews. Are you someone who puts stock in customer reviews? Do you look at the pros and cons of an app before deciding?
Accessibility. Is the app available on your phone’s operating system?
Who are mental health apps for?
These apps are meant to provide support and tools for anyone wanting to invest in themselves and their mental health on a regular basis. These are not meant to replace treatment by a professional but can be a great addition to it. Some of the conditions targeted for these apps are:
- Sleep Disturbance
- Bipolar Disorders
Free Addresses anxiety while providing support with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to teach skills for relaxation, redirecting thinking and building positive habits. Uses tools like guided meditation, journaling, and mood tracking.
This is a trusted military app that offers users education about PTSD, tools and tips to help manage stress, anger and sleep difficulties. There is also a companion app for military family members. (**may only be suited to those facing combat related PTSD)
Free (in-app purchases, $3.99 for Pro version)
Live chat support and other achievement tracking to help quit smoking and build healthier habits. If you have ever tried to quit smoking, you know that receiving all the support you can get it.
Take a Break!
Free, in-app purchases (ad free content $0.99)
Short guided meditations offered by Meditation Oasis podcast or listen to nature sounds and music without meditations. Simple and user friendly.
Free (in-app purchases (donations)
Can sync to multiple devices
Focuses on CBT and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to redirect negative thinking and feelings. Gives tools to help put problems into perspective and positive/negative habits. This app uses evidence-based therapies to help with stress, anxiety, depression and anger.
Free, in-app purchases ($14.99 monthly subscription)
This app offers daily meditations and motivational messages while working to support People of Color. The creators of Shine wanted to create a safe space for People of Color as much of the mental health space is geared toward white individuals and other communities are disproportionately receiving needed mental health care.
Relax with Andrew Johnson Lite
This app offers guided meditations for sleep, mindfulness, and de-stressing to aim for a better sleep hygiene routine.
Free, in-app purchases (Bearable Premium $27.99)
This is a customizable healthcare tracker for those who might need to share their health data with providers to further treatment. It allows users to track their symptoms, moods, medications and other healthcare routines to determine their daily habits while working to improve their quality of life. (There are some draw backs to this app for Android users as it does not have some of the same tracking capabilities as Apple at this time.)
I hope this information has opened your awareness to the capabilities your phone might be holding for you and your mental health. So maybe the next time you are feeling alone, don’t feel like you are able to manage your symptoms or maybe you don’t know where to start; look at your phone. Browse some apps and see if there are any that fit for your mental health support needs.