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The Top 6 Apps for Mental Health MAG
Recently, I attended a Mental Health First Aid training course where I learned how poor mental health can be just as debilitating as poor physical health. Just because mental health may not be as visible, doesn’t make it any less valid or real.
Fortunately, mental health is becoming increasingly acknowledged and discussed. There are improved resources for people with mental health issues and reduced stigma surrounding it. One of the newest ways to access resources is through apps on your phone. I have found several to be extremely useful and decided to compile a list of some I consider the best. All of the apps are available to download
on the App Store and on Google Play. Even if you don’t think some of them apply to you, still feel free to check them out.
In no particular order, here are my best six (free!) apps for mental health.
1. Brightmind Meditation
Brightmind Meditation walks beginners through the process of mindful meditation, which has been proven to reduce stress, control anxiety, enhance self-awareness, and improve sleep quality. The app claims that their meditation “isn’t always a quick fix, but it makes up for that by being a deep fix.” Brightmind Meditation asks for your goals for meditation, your preferences for a guiding voice, as well as the times you’d like to meditate. From there, the app customizes their core curriculum and provides you with packs that become more advanced as you practice more meditation.
Brightmind Meditation offers different subscription packages for more meditation options.
Go to www.brightmind.com/teenink to claim a FREE 1-year premium membership
Remente hopes to help you maintain focus, improve well-being, reach goals, reduce stress, and get the most out of life. You begin using Remente by creating an overview of your life through evaluating your satisfaction in areas like love and relationships, health and fitness, personal development, family, fun and recreation, career and education, and finances. After Remente personalizes the app to your needs, it will work as your personal coach to give you guidance and help connect your goals to everyday life. Its features – such as journaling, creating a to-do list, updating your progress, and recording your mood – help you to build good habits, learn valuable insights, and reflect on your behaviors and progress. And of course, all of the above features of Remente are free. If you’d like to unlock more of its advanced features, the app offers different subscription packages you can purchase.
3. Calm Harm
Calm Harm aims to prevent self-harm. The app compares the urge to self-harm to a wave, as it feels most powerful when you start wanting to do it. If you experience a desire to self-harm, the app helps you to “ride the wave” so that the urge will pass. In doing so, Calm Harm provides certain activity groups like comfort, distract, express yourself, release, and breathe. Each activity type has plenty of options to choose from to “ride the wave.” One of the "comfort" activities, for example, is to cuddle someone or something; one of the “distract yourself” activities is to count as many things you know that are yellow.
In addition to the activity types, Calm Harm allows you to choose the colors you prefer and whether you’d like the company of the cute animated figures “The Calms” or “Animals.” The app also offers the opportunity to make notes or create a journal to record your thoughts and feelings and revisit them later. Even if the struggle for self-harm isn’t something you’re dealing with, I’ve found the activity types, especially breathing, to be comforting on a particularly stressful day.
4. 7 Cups
7 Cups is a free, anonymous, confidential text chat with trained volunteer listeners. The app assures you that you’re entering a safe place full of caring people that you can turn to any time you feel lonely or are struggling. 7 Cups offers a chance to chat with a listener or therapist, have a one-on-one conversation, or have a group support chat for encouragement from the community. What I think makes 7 Cups so special is its anonymity factor. Many apps and text messaging services that serve a similar purpose require a phone number and sometimes even a name, so 7 Cups allows those who are afraid to share their identity an opportunity to talk to someone without having to worry about confidentiality.
StressScan uses your smartphone camera to assign you an objective Stress Index measurement that can help you track your stress levels over time. The app detects the changes in colors from the picture of your fingertip taken with the camera to observe pulse behavior. Then, using heart rate variability analysis (HRV) technology, it will analyze the results and assign a Stress Index value from 1 (most relaxed) to 100 (most stressed).
StressScan recommends measuring stress levels every day at around the same time, beginning with taking one stress measurement in the morning and another at night. However, you may want to take your results with a grain of salt. Different types of heart rate technology haven’t been tested and may not be completely accurate. Regardless, this app may be able to provide your stress level range and help you to determine when you’re most stressed.
Sanvello is rated the number one app for stress, anxiety, and depression. The app is an “evidence-based solution created by psychologists that uses clinically validated techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT),” according to its description. CBT is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviors, as well as developing coping strategies that target specific problems. This type of psychotherapy has been proven to be especially effective for stress, anxiety, and depression.
Sanvello uses CBT, among other techniques, to guide you through immersive journeys. Its features – videos, audio exercises, and activities – are designed to work together to help you learn how to feel happier. The app’s mood tracking, daily reminders, and health tracking tools allow you to monitor your emotions, see positive and negative influences, and create change. And if you’re interested in some of the more advanced options on Sanvello, you can purchase one of their subscription packages.
These apps are available to help those who are struggling with mental illness as well as life in general. Our mind is a powerful thing, and it is incredibly important that we do everything we can to take care of it. After all, we do spend quite a lot of time in there.
Seek the advice of a mental health professional or other qualified health providers if you are concerned with your mental health.If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time. If you are located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately.
Brightmind Meditation and Mindfulness App. Teen Ink has teamed up with Brightmind to offer you 1 year of FREE Premium Access (a $100 value). Here’s what you’ll get:
• Full access to customizable Core Meditations
• Hundreds of addition guided meditations
• New content added regularly
Go to www.brightmind.com/teenink to claim your FREE membership
“Benefits of Mindfulness.” HelpGuide, 19 Aug. 2019.
Flynn, Heather A., et al. “Using CBT Effectively for Treating Depression and Anxiety.” MDedge Psychiatry, 28 Mar. 2019.
LLC, Brightmind Meditation. “Brightmind: Meditation.” App Store, 19 Nov. 2017.
“New Trackers Claim to Measure Your Stress, But Do They Work?” LiveScience, Purch.
Remente. “Remente - Self Improvement.” App Store, 6 Feb. 2015.
Stem4. “Calm Harm - Manages Self Harm.” App Store, 20 Feb. 2015.
Stress Scan Inc. “StressScan - Check Your Stress.” App Store, 1 Aug. 2013.
7 Cups. “7 Cups: Anxiety & Stress Chat.” App Store, 12 Oct. 2014.