Mental Health Awareness Week: The best apps for your mental health during lockdown21st May 2020
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (18–24 May) couldn’t have come at a more welcome time.
From worries about health or finances to stressful working situations, new childcare demands, or simply missing the comforts of our normal lives, for many people the pandemic has brought with it a range of difficult emotions – some of them entirely new.
We’ve been finding it particularly inspiring to see the many ways in which technology is being used to keep us all connected during this unsettling time – whether it’s laughing with friends and family in a video call or using social media to share positive messages for those feeling alone
But, just as importantly, technology can also help us to connect more with ourselves and our inner worlds. Apps are an easy-to-use, accessible, private and sometimes surprisingly fun way for people to find help and support at a time when we may not have access to it in our usual ways.
With an almost overwhelming range out there looking to boost our moods, help us find a moment of calm, or support long-term mental health issues, here’s an introduction to just some of the most popular ones offering help with specific things. If there’s an app you find particularly helpful, why not let us know on social media?
Anxiety, depression or stress
Are you familiar with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)? Put simply, it’s a talking therapy that helps you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. Using principles from CBT, this quite brilliant app helps you break free from harmful ways of thinking that may be keeping you trapped in a certain mental state.
There’s a positive and negative habit tracker, helping you to set goals that will make you feel better over time, as well as examples of common negative thought patterns and how to overcome them. There’s even a ‘catastrophe scale’, helping to put things in perspective if you’re someone who finds your thoughts jumping to the worst possible outcome – something many of us could do with at the moment!
Sleep problems (and so much more!)
Better sleep, reduced stress, increased feelings of well-being, a more positive outlook on life… Mindfulness and meditation have become buzz-words of late, and for good reason, offering a wealth of benefits to our mental and physical health.
The good news is that anyone can do it, you can start any time, and apps such as Headspace make it really easy. Even if you only have a few minutes a day, you’ll be able to squeeze in a quick session. If you do want to delve deeper, there are new daily meditations to help with problems from anger, to focus, to encouraging kindness, and others designed for young ones that you can do together. This one does charge (£9.99 per month), but you can sign up for a free two-week trial to find out if it’s for you or not – and it’s free for those who are unemployed.
It’s perhaps not a surprise that traffic to addiction help websites has soared during lockdown. Whether you have ongoing addiction issues or you’d like some help with a healthy challenge, this very simple app logs how long it’s been since you quit – and how much money you’ve saved by abstaining.
Rise Up and Recover
If you’ve found yourself struggling with any negative thoughts around food, dieting, exercise or body image during lockdown, this one’s for you. Aimed at people recovering from a range of eating disorders, it offers a ton of supportive features that will help anyone battling with food-related issues, large or small – from tracking eating patterns and feelings, to advice on how to cope with urges to eat too much.
Teenagers or young people
Designed specifically for young adults, this highly-recommended app aims to help them think and feel differently about any anxious thoughts they may be having. Rather than avoiding difficult feelings, it encourages various ways of coping with challenges head on, such as tips for how to deal with intense emotions and much more.
Improving your daily mood
This one does what it says on the tin! Easy to use, fun and effective, it ‘happifies’ your day with activity suggestions (including guided meditations), games, and prompts to remind you small ways to feel more cheerful, such as listing everything you’re grateful for. Approved by clinical psychologists, it even shows you happiness graphs and charts to show you how all these things really can increase your overall happiness. What have you got to lose?
Rise Up and Recover