5 Mental Health Apps
- Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
- Mood Kit
There is an entire industry dedicated to physical fitness and well-being featuring diets, detoxes, exercise programs, and disease-fighting supplements, but the mental health field is starting to also gain traction online with popular apps that improve mental health and help support patients with psychiatric illnesses. According to Forbes, there is an increasing shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners which is one of the reasons these applications are so popular. These apps can provide guidance for behavior modifications and help track moods and identify patterns. They are useful both for prevention of more serious mental health problems and as an adjunct to psychiatric treatment. Some of the top programs are listed below.
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1. Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues, and if not managed, the problem can progress quickly. The SAM app includes features like an anxiety tracker meter, a chatroom where users can connect with other members, and an anxiety toolkit. Developed by the University of West England, there are 25 different modalities that provide information about the disease process, guide reflection to help users discover underlying causes, and self-help exercises to modify behaviors. For acute attacks, the app even has a feature to help the person self-soothe while the episode passes.
2. Mood Kit
This app has a range of tools that feature the theories and techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. This is a popular form of psychotherapy that focuses on how thoughts directly determine behaviors and how this can be changed. The Mood Kit app is divided into 4 main sections including a journal where users can respond to prompts and fill out templates and a mood tracker to help measure progress. The activities section provides a variety of modalities that are clinically-proven to enhance one’s mood, and the Thought Checker allows users to walk through the CBT process and analyze different situations and the resultant thoughts.
This is a popular app that many psychiatrists and therapists request that their patients and clients use. It tracks mood but also collects data on things like medication compliance, sleep, stress, and energy levels. Users can set reminders to enter data, and mood is rated on a 10-point color-coded scale. When entering a rating, users can include hashtags to add more information, and ratings can later be sorted by these hashtags and other data points to help find patterns.
This mental health app was designed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology to help users in stressful or emotional situations. Using diaphragmatic breathing techniques, it guides the user through a breathing session to help slow their pulse and respiratory rates and minimize the fight-or-flight response. This is especially useful for people with panic attacks or PTSD.
Focusing on the premise that happiness comes from within, this app for better mental health provides activities to help train the brain to be more optimistic and happier overall. Using scientific findings from brain imaging and psychologic testing, users complete the activities that are focused on breaking negative habits and strengthening positive, and then they can track their progress using their happiness score.
As Forbes mentions, there is an increased emphasis on mental health, both in the public and the workplace. Apps for better mental health help minimize symptoms of anxiety and other conditions and objectively track them.