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Phone apps for mental health

This page created 25th August 2014

By Jack (ADAVIC Volunteer)

With the rise of smart phones and compact technology, mobile phone applications have begun to flourish in all categories - including mental health. Designed to help calm anxiety and create positive energy, mental health apps have gradually improved in both design and intention, and as such, below are some of the more useful apps in the treatment of both anxiety and depression.

Depression CBT Self-Help Guide App
The notion of happiness can often seem unattainable when you’re battling depression. The Depression CBT Self-Help Guide helps you cope with feelings of sadness with techniques for transforming stress into positive thinking. Equipped with a daily diary, this app helps you identify stress patterns that can complement cognitive behavioural therapy. This app also provides suggestions for coping with stress and is equipped with informative articles to better understand depression. As a bonus, the Depression CBT Self-Help Guide has audio sounds to listen to wherever and whenever you need to take a breather from everyday stress.

Positive Thinking App
Happiness and positivity go hand-in-hand. It can be difficult to get through dark days when you can’t think positively about your life. The free Positive Thinking app provides you with friendly advice when you need it most. A visually appealing interface brings positive phrases and reminders to help change your outlook. The app also lets you add your own positive phrases to a personal list of quotes viewable anywhere, at any time. Feel free to share the good vibes by uploading favourite quotation to social media, email, or text message. You can also customise the background image with a variety of soothing images to enhance your positive energy.

Depressioncheck App
Effective depression treatment can’t begin without a proper diagnosis. Depressioncheck can help you keep important information your doctor needs to diagnose your condition. This user-friendly app asks you specific questions about your mental health over the last two weeks. (Note: it’s important to answer these questions honestly, as true clinical depression symptoms persist two weeks or longer.) The test only takes three minutes to complete, and it’s free to Apple users. When you’ve completed the test, you get a score along with other important information to share with your doctor. This medically backed app is credited with helping patients seek help for major depressive disorder, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Pain & Depression Relief App
Insomnia can be a precursor to depression. Your brain can’t function properly without the right amount of sleep. Sleep deprivation also interferes with the way you handle stress, which makes treating depression difficult. Pain & Depression Relief focuses on solving sleep problems to facilitate the management of depression symptoms. The revolutionary system lures you to sleep with binaural entrainment. This is a fancy term for playing two different sets of tones for each ear. If your brain doesn’t respond to these tones, you can select the isochronics option, which sends a single tone to each ear. The frequency tuning method increases waves in the brain that lure you to sleep without the need for those annoying headphones.

Health Through Breath App

When we encounter stress, we often forget to breathe correctly. Quick and shallow breathing can actually worsen the effects of stress. Handle stress better with the help of the Health Through Breath app for iPad and iPhone. This app focuses on breathing techniques inspired by meditation exercises. It lets you choose a level from beginner to advanced, and you can even customize your own 15-minute breathing exercises as you learn what works best for you. Practice these free exercises in the morning for a better day, at night for a more restful sleep, or anytime you need.

FitnessBuilder App
Exercise is a natural mood stabilizer. Not only do increased endorphins improve your mood,  but the physical results that stem from regular exercise can also help you feel good about yourself. Don’t feel overwhelmed if your doctor suggests regular fitness to complement depression treatment. The FitnessBuilder app has helped thousands of users of all fitness levels build and maintain an exercise plan. Access over 5,000 workout videos with a 30-day free trial. You can even streamline coaching advice and track your weight and BMI. The app connects to active accounts on the Fitness Builder website, but you don’t have to be a member to gain access to all of the great tips. You can even benefit from this app on days you have to miss uplifting walks due to inclement weather.

Smiling Mind App

Although young people are extremely vulnerable to depression, strategies for managing symptoms are often targeted to older adults. Smiling Mind was developed specifically for youth and teenagers experiencing depression. Created by psychologists, this free app helps you set meditation goals and guides you through each session. At the end of every session, you can take note of changes in your mood and track your progress.

Happy Habits App

Finding happiness is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of depression. It requires you to do something about it when you don’t feel like doing anything at all. Happy Habits encourages you to make small steps towards happiness by accomplishing specific tasks tailored to your goals. The app assesses your overall   happiness with a brief questionnaire. With daily use, Happy Habits issues positive affirmations along with solutions for overcoming personal challenges. Use the daily journal to capture your feelings and reflections on the affirmations you receive. Over time, you can accumulate points based on your efforts towards actively creating a happy life.

Keeping in mind the individual nature of treatment, it may be worth scrolling through your iPhone or Android to discover the best option. Though as smart phones continually develop, the ability of apps to assist in the treatment of mental health will surely increase.

Whenever possible, be sure to encourage personal contact with family and friends, though if all else fails, feel free to attend to the above apps for guidance.

Best of luck.

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