While I often write about the challenges of technology, particular social media, I think it is time to highlight some of the positive. We have access to more information and contact to people than ever before. While we do need to be aware of where our sources of information are coming from, social media and sharing has really opened up the conversation about mental health and the stigma surrounding mental health disorders. It is through online sharing that some of the best articles, resources, and personal stories have come my way. Along with creating awareness and opening a dialogue, the latest technology has made help more available to a wider audience.
There are many people who do not seek out help if they are struggling. The reasons for this are many and complex, ranging from financial obstacles to perceived stigma. Online articles, forums, support groups, and e-conferences have taken self help to a whole new level. E-counseling or video counselling has also exploded, allowing people to access counselling services from any service provider from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. There are countless apps that have been created that allow people to practice basic components of therapy and track their mood right from their smart phone.
While I (possibly with a bias) still whole heartedly believe in the in person counselling experience, it is exciting and encouraging to see how counselling and therapeutic services are able to reach such a large audience. Though I’m not the most techie person, I am trying to familiarizing myself with many of the digital resources available. Here so far is a rundown of 3 apps that I have personally used and enjoy. Let me know if you’ve got a go to app that has helped your mental health or overall well being.
- Gottman Open Ended Questions: This is a free app that is based on the work of renowned marriage therapist, John Gottman. The open ended questions are to be used with your partner to get to know and understand one another on a deeper level. Ask one or two questions or go through several. Either way, I bet you are sure to discover something about your partner you didn’t know before.
- Happify: This is another free app that I have just started exploring, but I like what I see so far. It is designed to help you manage stress, challenge negative thinking and to feel happier in the life you have. It uses games, quizzes and various activities to help boost well being.
- Buddify: This app costs $4.99, (I think it was $6.50 Canadian) but I have found it to be money well spent. This app uses short (5-10 minute) meditation sequences that are tailored to all different aspects of your life (waking up, work break, travel, trouble sleeping, feeling stressed etc). I haven’t worked my way through all of the mediations yet, but I’m well on my way and feeling calmer because of it.