If you are one of the 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide, then you likely are familiar with the abundance of apps available at your fingertips. Between social media platforms, fitness trackers, games, music, news, there is basically an app for everything at this point… even your mental health! More importantly, a 2020 study created by Kaiser Permanente has found that apps designed to support people with depression, anxiety, and insomnia actually do provide relief from the symptoms associated with these disorders.
The study focused specifically on the apps Calm, Headspace, myStrength, Silvercloud, Thrive and While, which focus on mindfulness-based therapies and cognitive behavior therapy. Cosette Taillac, vice president for mental health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente, stated that “these apps are offered to patients at no cost to them and help them navigate life’s challenges in the moment”.
Taillac brings up an important point here, which is the fact that most individuals do not have access to 24/7 mental health resources and care. While some individuals are fortunate enough to have regular sessions with a clinician, there will always be moments where people find themselves isolated and unable to regulate their emotions.
…Apps are a very helpful solution to this problem. You may not always have the ability to reach out to a trusted mental health professional, but you likely will always have your phone on you. On top of that, apps take away many barriers that often arise when seeking help. They are free or low cost; you can use them anywhere, anytime; you can utilize the aspect of anonymity etc. Whether you are struggling with a diagnosed disorder and feel that you don’t have the full level of treatment needed, or are just someone that feels like they could use a boost or check in every once in a while- mental health apps are there to help.
If you are beginning to feel like that you or someone you know may benefit from apps targeted to address your mental health needs, below are a few great options to look into.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Each of these apps bring their own component to the table: guided meditations, mood tracking, to-do list makers, coloring activities, chat features with licensed professionals. Taillac, from Kaiser Permanente, stated that mental health and wellness apps can make a difference in supporting everyone’s well-being. During challenging times, it isn’t unusual to feel lost, hopeless, or unsupported. Even during times when nothing seems to actually be wrong, these feelings may arise. These apps are extremely beneficial tools to utilize when experiencing these types of feelings. You can use them as a supplement to additional treatment, or as a resource to develop healthier habits.
…Whatever the reasoning, it should be motivating to know that studies now prove their effectiveness!