Finding time for your mental health isn’t easy, especially right now. Despite how good it felt to put 2020 behind us, we’re still dealing with the pandemic on top of other life stressors. If you’re looking to get into a better mindset in 2021, there are a few apps which offer an easy, affordable, and approachable way to get started. Consider using one of these apps to better your mental health this year.
For Mindfulness: Headspace
If you’ve been wanting to get into meditation, try the Headspace app. It offers an introduction to meditation that’s ideal for beginners, and you can work on different practices to relieve stress, calm anxiety, enhance focus, improve sleep, and more. The animations help to walk you through each meditation, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. It’s free for the first 10 sessions. Because those sessions are fairly brief, it’s easier to stick to a daily meditation practice through the app. As a fun bonus, Netflix recently released a Headspace show that uses animations to walk you through meditation techniques.
For Reducing Stress: Sanvello
The Sanvello app is a unique option for someone who wants to use the tools of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to reduce stress and anxiety. The great thing is that you don’t need to know anything about CBT to get started because Sanvello teaches you everything along the way. You’ll learn coping skills that are backed by research to help in times of stress and deal with high-pressure situations. The app also invites users to learn mindfulness techniques to feel more grounded and be in the moment. Sanvello includes a daily mood tracker and progress assessments to monitor how you’re doing, and you can interact (anonymously) with the user community for support. There is a free version as well as a premium version that unlocks access to additional features.
For Boosting Mood: Happify
For those who have been feeling a bit low recently, Happify may be a great way to boost your mood. This self-guided app is designed to help users increase positive emotions and deal with negative thoughts in a constructive way. The games and activities in the app, which are supported by positive psychology and mindfulness research, help users to reduce worry, build relationships, cope with stress, and increase self-confidence. The app’s creators claim that within two months, 86% of users report feeling better about their lives. Start with the free version to check it out, and consider upgrading to the monthly plan to get access to all the features.
For Online Therapy: Talkspace
Want to dip your toe into talk therapy, but not sure how to get started? Check out Talkspace, which gives you the opportunity to talk to a licensed mental health professional right through the app. You can use it on a computer, tablet, or smartphone with options for text, audio, and video communication. The app includes encryption to keep everything confidential, and all the therapists on Talkspace have over 3,000 hours of clinical experience and are trained to provide online therapy. This app is a bit more expensive compared to others on the list, but there are several different pricing options available (with many types of insurance accepted) and users can take advantage of a one-week free trial.
For Depression: MoodTools
Unlike the apps listed above, which cater to people dealing with a variety of concerns, some apps are designed to address specific mental health issues. MoodTools, for example, is one of the top apps made specifically for dealing with clinical depression. It includes a questionnaire that helps you track symptom severity over time as well as a diary where you can record your feelings and experiences. The free app helps to identify negative or distorted thought patterns and suggests tools for overcoming them.
For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD Coach
PTSD Coach was created by the VA’s National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whether you have been diagnosed with PTSD or you suspect that you may have it, this free app helps walk you through a number of steps to get your mental health back on track. It includes a self-assessment for PTSD along with helpful information about where to find support. Use the tools in the app to help manage PTSD on a daily basis with actions like positive self-talk, anger management, and relaxation skills.
For Suicide Prevention: MY3
People who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts often feel alone in their darkest moments. The MY3 app aims to change that and help prevent suicide by making it easy to reach out for help. The name “MY3” refers to the three people you feel you want to turn to if you have thoughts of suicide. You add their contact information and create a custom suicide prevention plan that keeps your warning signs, coping strategies, and personal network with you at all times. The app also includes buttons which instantly connect you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or 9-1-1 at any time of the day or night. If you’re worried about having suicidal thoughts, the MY3 app can help you to stay safe and connected when you need it most.
If you’re ready to take that next step to improve your mental health, start by simply downloading one of these apps today. Your phone may turn out to be an important tool in getting you into a better place mentally in 2021.