When it comes to taking care of our mental health, smartphones and devices can be one of two things: a wound or a weapon. Have you ever heard of mental health apps?
In some cases, the heavy presence of social media, the constant text and email notifications, or the social disconnect from the real world and other people can be a gaping wound in our journey towards mental health. It provokes stress, anxiety and the constant pressure to do and achieve MORE.
On the other hand, when we know how to use our smartphones in healthy ways, we can actually use them as a weapon to foster progress and mental health.
A recent surge in the research and development of mental health apps and websites has led to several tools right at our fingertips designed to help foster mentally healthy routines, processes, and mindfulness. While experts don’t recommend making these apps your sole source help, research suggests that there is value in using the online resources alongside therapy or treatment to best improve mental health.
In an age when we mindlessly scroll through Facebook and Instagram to escape the daily grind, what better way to improve our mental health than simply shifting the apps we use in our downtime?
Check out these 9 mental health apps.
Inspired by their personal struggles with anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder, the app creators of Stigma developed a virtual support network for users. Stigma offers users a way to track their mood, document what influences their mood, add journal entries, and connect with thousands of others in a safe space.
An interactive mental health improvement program, Moodpath offers users with a 14-day depression screening used to identify symptoms and assess an individual’s mental health. The program allows users to keep track of their mental and emotional well-being, then provides them with a comprehensive report that can be used as a starting point for discussing mental health options with their healthcare professional.
With an emphasis on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Pacifica uses psychologist-designed tools to manage depression, anxiety, and stress. Divided into five learning modules that teach users to reduce the intensity and frequency of worry or panic, Pacifica is a fully interactive resource for improving your mental health and tracking your progress.
Developed for relieving stress, stabilizing mood, controlling anger, and managing anxiety, Breathe2Relax prompts users through breathing exercises, while focusing on different parts of the body that traditionally carry stress. Breathing exercises have been shown to help decrease the body’s “fight or flight” response, which is the driving force behind stress. Breathe2Relax can be used on its own to help manage stress, or in conjunction with treatment from a healthcare professional.
Designed to be a support network for individuals suffering from anxiety or depression, 7 Cups cultivates a user experience like no other. Chat anonymously one-on-one with trained emotional support listeners through in-app chatrooms and community forums. Users have access to licensed therapists, personalized care through a free wellness test, mood-boosting activities and over 300 free mindfulness exercises.
As seen on NBC’s Shark Tank, Simple Habit is a meditation app for busy people. Research suggests that meditation—being present and blocking out distractions—is shown to reduce stress, improve focus, sleep faster, relax better, breathe easier, and wind down from the daily grind in a healthy manner. Simple Habit provides a bank of thousands of 5-minute meditation practices guided by the world’s best teachers of mindfulness.
Providing 24/7 mental and emotional support, Sibly collaborates with users to help apply empirically-based tools to the depression, anxiety, stress, and fear you experience day-to-day. The app’s responsive and reliable coaching team walks alongside users to challenge the negative thoughts and help motivate them towards their goals.
Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Joyable is a coaching program with client-specific practices designed to help you through whatever mental health struggle you’re battling. Coaches are individualistic and help users with motivation, accountability and the completion of easy, 5-minute activities. The program costs $99/month, and most users complete the program in 8 weeks.
Designed to help people manage their anxiety, SAM makes it easy for users to record their anxiety levels, identify various triggers, and provides 25 self-help options for coping with the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety. Users can create a personalized anxiety toolkit for quick access to the app features that are the most helpful to their individual needs. A social cloud function also allows users to anonymously share their experiences with the online community of SAM users.