Mind medicine | 6 apps to reboot your mental health

Anxiety? Depression? Relationship or life stresses that you just can’t deal with alone? Maybe you don’t have the time, or the budget, or the inclination to share your worries in a face-to-face session with a health professional? Maybe you live in a far-off country where it’s hard to access a therapist? Or you simply don’t have the energy to search someone out, ask for recommendations and travel to reach out for help....

Today however, in our technological world, help can come to you - in the comfort and security of your own home.

One of the huge benefits of technology is that you can now access that help in a variety of forms simply at the touch of a button on your phone. Want to have your symptoms diagnosed and assessed? Or find out where you can get help and then track your treatment progress? There will be an app, and hopefully a community behind it where you can get support and talk to other people going through the same thing you are. A problem shared very often makes all the difference.

You may already be aware of Headspace, with its vast selection of mindfulness and meditation sessions or Calm, which was Apple’s app of the year of 2017 and focuses on relaxation, sleep, breathing and meditation. Both of them offer an extensive selection of tools to calm your mind and release stress.

But there are others too that offer communication and support so that you need never feel alone in your troubles.

1. Talkspace

This is a counselling and therapy app that offers a free initial consultation with a specialist from their database of over 1,000 qualified therapists skilled in treating depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, PTSD and domestic violence. When you find the right therapist for you there is the option to become a member and discuss your issues in a private online chat room, at less than 80% of the cost of conventional therapy sessions.

2. What’s Up?

This free app uses CBT techniques (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) alongside ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) to help you deal with anger, stress, depression and anxiety. Find out what the 12 most common negative thinking patterns are and learn how to overcome them. Keep a diary of your emotions daily and track any changes.

3. Anxiety Free

Hypnosis de-stresses your mind and reduces anxiety and difficult thoughts and feelings. This free app offers an audio session with a registered hypnotherapist, alongside relaxing music and sounds from nature to lower your stress levels. It is said to re-set your reactions and lessen anxiety levels within the space of 1-3 weeks.

4. SuperBetter

SuperBetter is a game app that helps you to remain strong and optimistic even when life throws you lemons. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that after participants played it regularly for a month, their anxiety levels decreased and their overall mood improved along with their belief in their ability to succeed in life. The app claims to help you ‘adopt new habits, improve your skills, strengthen relationships, complete meaningful projects and fulfil life-long dreams’. Alongside sorting PTSD, cope with chronic illness and recover from depression and anxiety. Who could ask for more...?

5. Pacifica

Pacifica is an app that aims to reduce anxiety, stress and depression by setting you challenges involving audio lessons and targeted activities. It uses meditation, mindfulness and CBT, alongside other relaxation methods and tracks your mood daily. It offers a toolbox to break the mental habits that don’t serve you and also offers access to a community of like-minded people to help and support you to break free from overwhelming stress.

6. 7cups

7cups is an online emotional support service that gives you someone to talk to for free. Their database contains over 160,000 trained listeners and licensed therapists experienced in stress and anxiety to whom you can speak anonymously in total confidence. You can search for a topic you need help with - bullying, eating disorders, panic attacks, relationship difficulties - and if you choose, then continue with the same advisor, one on one, for longer term counselling.

 

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Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health. 

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