Mental Health Awareness Month is here and it couldn’t come at a more interesting time. Humans are instinctively social creatures, and stay-at-home orders have driven many of us into self-imposed isolation that can be incredibly challenging to our mental well-being. Even if you’ve never had major mental health concerns in the past, these trying times could be presenting some mental and emotional hurdles for you to overcome.
First of all, it’s important to know you’re not alone in this. What’s more, there are numerous apps and other tech-based solutions to help you safely and privately manage your mental health concerns.
Video Chatting Can Help with Depression
Numerous studies and surveys have shown that people across all ages, from Gen Z to Boomers, are hitting up apps like Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Discord, and Facebook Messenger to help feel a bit of human connection.
While ostensibly there’s no real substitute for the real thing, some studies conducted even before the on-going global pandemic found that video chatting can help significantly with depression. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that seniors who used video chat services were half as likely to develop depressive symptoms.
And your age likely doesn’t matter. Many psychologists explain that interacting face-to-face, even over a distance using video chat services, has mental health benefits for pretty much everyone.
So if you’re starting to feel emotionally worn down, you might want to put down TikTok and Insta. Instead, pick up one of the many video chat apps currently available and see your friends and family face-to-face, as much and as often as possible.
Other Mental Health Apps
Of course, there are far more mental health concerns than just depression and, the ongoing shutdowns may have interfered with seeing your psychiatrist or counselor. There are several apps that may come in handy during times like these.
Listed as one of the Mayo Clinic’s Best Apps of 2019, MindShift is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) app that uses research-based games to help tackle major mental health concerns including anxiety and phobias. The goal of the app, available on Android and iOS, is to help you learn how to cope with mental health concerns in a non-stressful way.
Calm is advertised as an app to help with meditation and sleep improvement. While this is true, the overall goal is to improve your mood and reduce anxiety. Several reports indicate that disturbed sleeping due to stress is growing due to the global pandemic. Poor sleep can exacerbate mental health issues, making it more important for those who suffer from sleep disorders to be able to practice meditation and breathing to help improve sleep.
For many of us, self-care can only go so far. Eventually, you may need professional help to better understand and treat your mental health concerns. For that, you may want to check out the BetterHelp app. BetterHelp connects you to real, fully licensed therapists who can work with you via text, phone, and video calls.
While this isn’t a free service, it’s a great solution if you find yourself needing professional help, especially with social distancing recommendations in place.
Don’t Hesitate to Call Professional Services
We can’t stress this enough: you are never alone with your mental health concerns. If you’re feeling isolated, alone, or scared, contact one of these numbers as soon as possible:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357. This service is free, private, and operates 24/7 year-round.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Completely free and operates 24/7 year-round with complete confidentiality.
Mental health is important, but, like everything, it needs attention and practice to improve. We hope these apps are helpful ways to begin or supplement your self-care regimen.
Want to Help Others? Become an App Developer
The apps we’ve mentioned didn’t appear out of nowhere. Developers and designers saw needs for each platform, so they created real-world solutions to help people. What if that was something you’re also meant to do? Good news, it’s a great time to join the tech industry!
With Kenzie Academy, you can accelerate your mission to design apps that make a difference. When you sign up for an online Software Engineer or UX Engineer programs, you’ll have hands-on, intense instruction in programming and design that will help you pay it forward.
Whether you decide to utilize these apps for your own mental health needs or even start to learn how to develop them, we hope you stay safe and (one last time) remember: you’re not alone.