Just like the COVID-19 virus that cannot be seen, but whose impact can be felt, the silent but deep impact of the pandemic on mental health is real. In most parts of the world, in July, the helpline set up by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) reported that it had received over 300,000 distress calls in the past three months. But this could just be the tip of the iceberg. In fact, the World Health Organization warns that during this pandemic, it will be as important for people to look after their mental health along with their physical health. This was validated for me by the large numbers of people who were actually searching online for apps that supported their mental health.
Let’s look at five apps that people across the world are turning to on Android and iOS for mental health support during the pandemic, in addition to information about using an online therapist
The 5 Top Android apps for Mental Health
The app helps you track, monitor, and understand your symptoms of depression and anxiety in a structured manner so that at the end you receive a detailed summary that you can share with healthcare professionals. In addition, during this period, it also provides you with useful information on psychology, signs of depression, therapy, and mental health.
It acts as an intelligent mood tracker and journal of sorts, offering you a bi-weekly mental health assessment, based on answers to daily questions about your emotional and physical well-being. In addition, the app comes with a large library of exercises based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Users of the app are especially appreciative of the questions posed by the app, which provide for nuance. The app currently has over 1 million installs and a 4.6 rating on the Google Play Store.
Often touted as an Artificial Intelligence friend, Wysa the penguin is a chatbot that is used by 500,000 people around the globe as a mood tracker and mindfulness coach. It includes a unique mix of therapies, combining techniques of calming meditation, yoga, and mindfulness audios, with CBT therapy to help you deal with stress and anxiety. It provides you with a mental health assessment of depression and anxiety tests, finally also giving you the option of opting for a human psychologist for additional support.
While users admit that the tool is finally an AI chatbot, they are highly appreciative of its role in guiding them through mental health exercises. The app has over 1 million installs and a 4.7 rating on the Google Play Store. It was selected by Orcha, the World’s leading health app evaluation and advisor organization, as the top clinically approved app to aid mental well being during COVID-19.
The app helps you cope with stress, anxiety, and depression using a combination of self-care, peer support, coaching, and therapy from a licensed clinician. The makers of the app report that 60 percent of users show a 15 percent improvement in their stress, anxiety, and depression levels in just 30 days. Additionally, users of the tool are particularly appreciative of the tool's flexibility that allows them to work out their self-care routine at their own pace. Sanvello has over 1 million installs and a 4.6 rating on the Google Play Store.
The app helps you create personalized four-week plans for self-help courses that address a range of mental health concerns, including those related to depression, anxiety, sleep, stress, anger, and happiness. It follows a teaching strategy based on CBT, positive psychology, and mindfulness, subsequently monitoring your mental health through a combination of goal setting and tracking and mood tracking.
If you choose, you can also receive additional support from Allie the chatbot, and real-life therapists. Additionally, you are also helped in your learning by informative articles, easy tips, and quotes that keep you inspired. These features have all been welcomed by users. InnerHour Self-Care Therapy has had over 500,000 installs and a 4.6 rating on the Google Play Store.
A handy mental disorder dictionary from A to Z. Beyond just providing a simple description, the app also lists symptoms, prevention measures, and treatment for all mental health disorders. Each entry provides you with a quick and complete overview, which would need to be supplemented by further reading. All Mental Disorders and Treatment currently has over 500,000 installs and a 4.4 rating on the Google Play Store.
The 5 Top iOS apps for Mental Health
1. Daylio Journal:
A journaling tool that helps you keep a diary to record your mental health, without typing a single line. Instead, you press a couple of buttons to select your mood and activities, which are then added to your daily bullet journal, while connecting you to your fitness goal pal, mental health coach, food log, and gratitude diary. Most importantly, Daylio maintains your privacy by storing your data on your phone. The easy journalling facilitated by this tool has been greatly appreciated by users across the world, and the app has a 4.8 rating on the App Store.
A pocket AI therapist that uses AI to personalize therapies based on CBT, Acceptance, and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness, and other approaches. While the app has been designed by a team of doctors, scientists, and engineers, it is not meant to replace either professional help or existing treatment, but only to supplement it. The apps helpful prompts especially get a big thumbs up from users, with the app getting a 4.9 rating on the App Store. The makers of the app report that 80 percent of users improve their mood after one conversation with this AI therapist.
The app sends out inspirational quotes, sets up motivational reminders for the day, and gives users access to hundreds of quotes. Users who have benefitted from the app attest to it being a motivating influence, which has contributed in no small measure to its 4.9 ratings on the App Store.
4. I am:
Daily positive affirmations, which can be used with reminders to match your daily routine. The app's many loyal users recommend its motivating words that change negative thought patterns and have rewarded this simple but effective app with a 4.8 rating on the App Store.
Another hugely popular app, Headspace guides you through learning meditation and mindfulness skills, instructed by distinguished experts, such as Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe. You can also select any of the app's hundreds of guided meditations to help you through diverse areas that include areas from managing stress and anxiety to sleep, focus, and mind-body health. The app comes highly recommended by users for its capability to help them start working meditation into their routine and has been recognized with the "Editor's Choice" distinction by the App Store.
Today, there are over 10,000 mental health apps available in the market, and choosing an effective app that works for your specific requirements in the midst of this pandemic can seem daunting. I do hope that this blog sets you in the right direction.
But is there a useful app that you think I may have left out? Do share your recommendations in the comments section.