Let’s face it, making an appointment with your doctor isn’t always easy. When it comes to mental health clinicians, it can take three to four weeks to get an appointment. Most clinicians only see patients during the day, and if you need prolonged therapy, it can be difficult to get away for a couple of hours each week to see someone.
Fortunately, the internet has some answers. There are virtually hundreds of apps available to help you deal with mental health problems. Here are 10 good services which can help you monitor your mental health and help you learn to reduce stress.
**Please note** – If you’re in a crisis, you should seek professional help immediately. Call 911, or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1‑800‑273‑TALK.
Below are 10 wonderful mental health apps to choose from:
Breathe2Relax walks you through belly breathing, which is supposed to decrease the body’s fight-or-flight response. Before you do the exercise, you measure your stress. When finished, you report how you feel. This is a good reminder to practice healthy breathing techniques and to slow down when stressed or angry.
Web-based with iOS supplemental app for users
With Calm, you can improve your quality of sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus, and indulge in self-improvement guided meditations. You can try Calm for free with a short trial, and there is also paid Calm content specifically for professional environments and for students.
Web, iOS, Android
Talkspace is a subscription therapy service, with therapists available throughout the day. You send a message to your therapist in a private chat room. There are no contracts, and you are charged on a monthly basis. All therapists are carefully selected and have more than 3,000 hours of clinical experience.
4. PTSD Coach
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD developed PTSD Coach app for veterans, active military personnel, and civilians to help deal with the symptoms of PTSD. It’s not a clinical tool, but it can help you track symptoms and find out what works over time. I felt like it was a bit clunky to set up, but it’s very practical in nature.
Web, iOS, Android
Free with in-app purchases to send data to a clinician
Optimism is an app that focuses on self-tracking your mood and other triggers to your mental health. Not only can you get a better understanding of your mental health and find methods that work in reducing stress, you can also set up a wellness plan. The fee-based aspect of the app lets you send information to your clinician. Your family members can also use the app to help give you information about your behavior.
6. SAM: Self Help for Anxiety Management
Cope with anxiety using SAM. The app offers 25 self-help options that can be personalized to your own worries. You record your anxiety levels and identify triggers, then you get ideas on how to manage your stress. There is an anonymous social cloud feature where you can talk to others who are using the app. The iPhone says that the app might slow down your phone.
Web, iOS, Android
With Pacifica, you have the ability to track moods and your health to better understand your patterns. You check in daily with your mood and other health habits, then complete mindfulness and therapy-based activities. Pacifica sends an email to you each week with a report. You also have the option to connect with other Pacifica users. It has many more options to help you reach your goals and to change your thought patterns.
8. Headspace Web, iOS, Android
Free for the first 10 days
Headspace helps you learn mindfulness and meditation. It’s recommended to be used in conjunction with a health provider, but if you’re trying to get better with concentration or breathing, this app has some great content. It’s easy to use, and the techniques have been shown to reduce your overall stress.
9. Panic Relief
Free, upgrade to get more help with the paid version
Panic Relief helps you through progressive muscle relaxation of the arm when you’re experiencing stress and panic. It was designed by Danish researchers to help clients get over their fears. The upgraded version includes more options, such as deep breathing techniques, to help you find calm when you’re in a crowd, at the dentist, or on an airplane.
10. 7 Cups of Tea
Free, subscription plans are available
7 Cups of Tea boasts more than 13 million conversations as I’m writing this article. The gist of 7 Cups is that you can connect with a trained listener any time of the day or night. The caveat is that these listeners are probably not professionals, just laypeople trained to listen to someone. It’s a great option for those times when you want someone to listen without judging the situation. The paid subscriptions include a therapist for online therapy.
I am a firm believer in therapy and medication to manage depression, anxiety, or any other treatable mental health disorder. Check your insurance for access to virtual doctors and experts. I have Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Oklahoma) and I have that option through the portal.
There’s no shame in needing treatment for mental health issues.