Updated: Mar 12, 2021
It is no secret that mobile device applications focused on mental health and self-help are on the rise. Why? For users, convenience, low cost and anonymity are often the main reasons. Some apps are designed for specific conditions or illnesses while others offer general support through various means. For example, journaling, mood tracking, meditating, therapeutic activities and links to relevant professionals or communities are common features.
Given that we spend 85% of our online time in Canada on apps instead of the web, it makes sense to add reminders for self-care to your device. If you have not yet downloaded an app for mental wellness, pick one of these free ones to get started:
Insight Timer: The meditation app that people in the U.S. spend the most time on is by far Insight Timer. With 200+ topics, from spirituality to fear, and 80,000+ guided meditations of different durations, there is surely something for everyone. The list of 9,000+ teachers includes Dr. Kristin Neff, Gisele Bündchen and Russell Brand. There are live events that users can attend too, especially for yoga, and an entire section on meditations, talks and music tracks is devoted to sleeping better. Albeit the courses require a membership, there is a 30-day free trial for short-term use. For CEO Christopher Plowman, the goal is simply to make people happier.
Woebot Health: From clinical research psychologist and health tech visionary Dr. Alison Darcy at Stanford University comes Woebot. Woe is an intelligent and amusing chatbot that you can talk to about your day and how you are feeling. Its responses and techniques have teachings based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) to help you learn more about yourself and navigate situations to reduce stress whenever you need it. Their studies show that daily check-ins can decrease symptoms in as little as two weeks.
Journey: Now, this was not created specifically for mental health but journaling can definitely improve your state of mind—well-known to the Singapore-based 2 App Studio—so it makes the list. Journey is a neat journal and diary where you can write about your day and add photos, the location, weather and mood details if you like too. The "Coach" has basic prompts and programs to explore your thoughts and your writing. When you are finished, just lock the app with a passcode.
It is important to mention though that no app can be an alternative to treatment. Apps should be used either in combination with therapy to enhance progress or by those that do not require professional mental health support.
What apps do you enjoy using? Let us know in the comments below.