Free Apps To Manage Your Mental Health
We’ve heard it time and time again: the digital world is making us anxious, lonely, and depressed; technology is breaking down our communities and inducing our panic attacks one social media feed at a time.
But what if some of our technological advances were doing much the opposite, working to make us feel better about ourselves?
There certainly are ways we can put our scrolling, screen-time addicted thumbs to good use, and one of them is a whole bunch of apps dedicated to managing your mental health.
There are, in fact, a ton of free apps out there that do just that. And sure, they’re not an alternative to therapy, and they’re certainly not overnight miracles, but for those struggling day-to-day, they’re free, easy and always on-hand. These apps are a fantastic first step to getting back on track.
Whether you need help de-escalating a panic attack, a reminder to take your meds, or help to de-stress, we have collected a few of our favourite free apps for those moments when you’re not feeling great.
Recommended by the American Psychological Association for stress management, Breathe2Relax offers guided breathing exercises to help stabilise your mood, control anger and manage anxiety. Especially helpful for those who suffer from anxiety disorders or PTSD, but equally accessible for those looking for some general stress management. The exercises can even be personalised to fit your preferred pace.
Heard the praise surrounding Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)and looking to give it a go? What’s up uses CBT and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) methods to help you cope with depression, anxiety, stress, and more. There is a positive and negative habit tracker to help maintain your good habits, and break those that are counterproductive, a “Thinking Patterns” page to assist with breaking negative internal monologues, and a “Get Grounded” page containing over 100 different questions to help pinpoint what you’re feeling.
Koko is basically a social network for people with depression, with users sharing problems, feelings and thoughts with the community, who give feedback in return. The idea is based on a form of a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) technique called “reappraisal,” which is a way to help reframe negative thoughts. So a user could share a bad experience on the forum and the community might offer alternative readings of that situation to help you not jump to negative conclusions.
The best part: A 2015 study of the original website found that this approach significantly improved participants depression symptoms after just 25 minutes per week for three weeks.
Designed specifically for teens and young adults with anxiety, Mind Shift works like a completely free, pocket cheerleader. Rather than trying to help you avoid anxious feelings, Mind Shift stresses the importance of changing how you think about anxiety, encouraging you to take charge of your life and face challenging situations and promoting self-worth.
Not just for those suffering with mental health, Happify is all about making you ‘feel happy,’ no matter where you are at with life. You start by taking a test to see where your happiness levels are at and how you tend to approach tough, stressful spots in your life. Then the app will suggest a path based on your answers and you will get to choose different activities to help you work towards your goal. Gratitude exercises, a little meditation, and a lot self-learning will all be a part of your journey to a happier you.
A revolutionary idea if there ever was one, Flowy is a game app created to help those with panic and anxiety disorders. You play the game by solving puzzles with your breath, holding down a button while breathing in and letting it go while breathing out. The goal, of course, is to help stabilise and retain your breathing, which will slow down your heart rate and bring you back to calmness.