Mental Health Apps: Therapy on the Palm of your Hand

Apps and Software

There have been times when some of us found ourselves struggling with mental health issues like anxiety, fear, depression, grief, and trauma.  Whether such episodes took months, weeks or a day for one to recover, it cannot be denied that professional counselling does help.

With today’s busy lifestyle, going to a therapist could oftentimes be postponed until it is too late.  However, technology is doing its bit in helping one overcome negative emotions with mobile apps that are designed to improve one’s mental health.

One such app is called Sunrise Health.  It combines constant online support through public chat groups, the guidance of professional therapists, and the safeguard of artificial intelligence watching out for abuse and emergencies.

There is no stigma or fear of being judged.  Text-based support is conducted under a pseudonym and this can be complemented with voice calls with a therapist or traditional face-to-face support.

A user just needs to sign up and select the mental health affliction they are dealing with from a list of options.  The group’s professional therapist moderator will then assess his state based on a one-on-one chat while completing diagnostic forms. Afterwards, the person will be placed into a support group of around a dozen people.

Another is Kip, a San Francisco-based mobile app that combines in-person therapy with a private app.  This helps monitor or track symptoms, activity or outcomes over time.  Feedback is provided frequently which can improve the process for both patients and hospitals.  

Kip focuses on evidence-based strategies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Progress may not run smoothly but data tracked over time can help to identify important trends and patterns. “Therapists are professional debuggers of your brain. The more info they have, the more they can talk about and the better they can guide a session,” Kip co-founder Erin Frey told Techcrunch.

Due to trauma, soldiers sent home oftentimes have suicidal thoughts.  Objective Zero is a mobile app specifically targeting war veterans. The app, which is currently under development, will connect veterans instantly with other veterans who have received suicide prevention training via text, phone or video.

The non-profit app will also contain a range of suicide prevention resources for those in need, as well as a chat room to help connect users to a larger support community of other veterans. Furthermore, additional activities will be available through the app such as meditation and mindfulness.

Veterans can choose to choose to speak a fellow veteran or an “Objective Zero ambassador” which is actually a civilian who has completed a military awareness course.  Objective Zero is expected to be released in September.

Mobile apps like these are redefining the role of the smartphone in one’s life.  Constant use of the ubiquitous device could actually “save” a troubled person this time.

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