We live in a world where we constantly have technology in our hands, on our bodies, in our bags - within arms reach. We can be sitting in our home, our office, a coffee shop, and be connected to people all over the planet at once. We scroll through the apps on our phone and sometimes they cause feelings that are uncomfortable - comparison, jealousy, and frustration. And while some of the things we download on our phone can make us feel distress and discomfort, some can bring us hope and healing. Check out our top ten free apps that can help your mental health!
notOK is a pre-crisis resource that allows you to reach out for help when reaching out seems next to impossible. When setting up the app, you add up to five trusted people in your life as your crisis contacts. When you feel as though a crisis is coming on or you need help, open the app and press the red notOK button. Pressing this button will send a text out to your trusted contacts and let them know that you are in need of help. When the trusted contact opens the link from the text, they will receive your location as well as the option to say that they can or cannot help at that moment. Once one of the contacts responds that they are able to help, the person experiencing crisis will be notified that there is someone able to help them. While they wait for the trusted person to get to them, the notOK provides breathing exercises and access to text lines or helplines to help the individual get through the waiting period. Once the trusted person arrives and the individual is okay, they press the green “I’m okay” button on their app, which in turn lets all of the trusted contacts know that the person is okay.
Mindshift is a CBT-based app that allows the user to check in with themselves, tracking their mood, environment, and symptoms of anxiety. Other features of the app include, affirmations to help the user through their anxious moment, guided meditations, anxiety challenging exercises, breathing exercises, and grounding exercises. There are also tips and resources to help the user through different types of anxiety, such as panic, perfectionism, and phobias. Finally, there is a goal-setting section to allow the user to create goals, schedule them, and track their progress. This is a free app with the opportunity to access more features with a subscription.
Bearable is an app that allows users to track multiple parts of their lives including mood, symptoms, activities, sleep, food, medication and exercise. In the app, the user can track not only how frequently symptoms and factors occur, but also how they interact with each other. For example - how does your mood change when you are around certain people? This is a free app with the opportunity to access more features with a subscription.
Rootd is an app designed to help people through panic attacks and moments of anxiety. In the app, you are able to access resources such as guided meditations, visualizations, breathing exercises and sleep aids. In moments of intense anxiety or panic, you can press the red “Rootd” button that asks you whether you need help or want to challenge and accept you anxious thinking. If the resources in the app are not helping you overcome the moment of panic or anxiety, the app will give you the option to call a trusted contact that has been added or connect you to resources.
- Worry Watch
So often, anxiety consumes us at *just* the right time - right before a big presentation, about to head out on your first date, your first day on the new job. And how do you continue on a productive day when you are flooded with feelings of dread and worry? One of my all time favorite Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to use in moments like these is setting a worry time. It is exactly what it sounds like: when you are feeling anxious and need to continue on with your day, pick a time later in the day where you will come back to the worry - “At 3:00 I can worry about this, but right now I will do what I need to get done”. This app allows you to set a time on your phone to revisit the worry later in the day and then helps you through processing the worry on your own. It will also keep track of the days that you had worries and what the worries entailed to help you identify triggers or common anxious thought patterns.
SuperBetter is the fun way to help you achieve goals and manage your stress! With SuperBetter, the app challenges you to new games. The first is to activate power-ups. To activate power-ups, you can complete tasks like drinking a glass of water, hugging yourself, or another task that you identify as something that feels good to you. You can also choose to “battle bad guys”. Bad guys include your self-critic, ignoring self-care, or lack of motivation for being active.Finally, you can come up with “quests”, which are journeys to help better yourself. All the while, you earn awards and level-up, all of which are a fun way to intrinsically motivate yourself to continue on the journey.
Technology holds so much power in our society, let’s channel that power towards the betterment of ourselves.
While all of these apps are wonderful for aiding individuals in their journey towards mental wellness, it is important to note that none of the apps listed above are not replacements for therapy. If you or someone you know is in need of therapeutic services, reach out to one of our providers today!
In the event of an emergency, phones are also great tools for seeking support. If you find yourself in a crisis - where you are thinking of hurting yourself or do not feel safe mentally - reach out to any of the support lines below:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline . . . 1-800-273-8255
- (veterans, press 1)
- (for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255)
- Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio . . . 1-888-628-9454
- Crisis Textline . . . Text "HOME" to 741741
- Veterans Crisis Line . . . Text 838255
- SAMHSA (substance use) . . . 1-800-662-4357
- RAINN (sexual assault) . . . 1-800-656-4673
- National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline . . . 1-866-331-9474
- The Trevor Project (LGBTQ+) . . . 1-866-488-7386
- Trans Lifeline . . . 877-565-8860