More Mental Health Apps

Here is a list of some additional mental health apps:

More Mental Health Apps

Anxiety

Stop Panic & Anxiety Self-Help: Meditate, Sleep, Relax

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.excelatlife.panic&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

This friendly app offers a range of self-help methods for individuals who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety. Established methods of self-help are provided in this engaging, flexible, practical resource.

Anxiety Reliever

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/anxiety-reliever-stress-anxiety/id1029839288?mt=8

iPhone Rating: 4 stars

This app consists of a collection of calming audio recordings, helpful guidelines, an insightful anxiety tracker, breathing tools, and supportive messages. Calming audio sessions are divided into categories such as De-Stress, Anxiety, Sleepy Time, Binaural Sounds, and ASMR. The built in tracker allows users to monitor their triggers, and habitual thoughts.

Relaxation

OMG. I Can Meditate!         

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/omg.-i-can-meditate-!-meditation/id920161006?mt=8

iPhone Rating: 5 stars

Android Rating: 4.5 stars

This app provides users with their own personal meditation coach, resulting in better sleep and de-stresses in a mere 10 minutes. Learn simple mindfulness and mediation techniques which bring happiness, calm, and peace of mind into your life.

Depression

MoodTools – Depression Aid

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.moodtools.moodtools&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

MoodTools is designed to help combat depression and alleviate users negative moods. Assistance is provided through the research-supported tools within this app to aid users on their road to recovery. Some of the tools included are a thought diary, various activities, a safety plan, and helpful videos.

Depression CBT Self-Help Guide

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.excelatlife.depression&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

This app serves as a wonderful resource as it contains numerous articles about clinical depression and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Depression Assistance Audio is offered to aid in comprehension of clinical depression, as well as a screening test accompanied by a graph to monitor severity of depressed mood. Relaxation audios are also provided to help deep relaxation.

Pacifica – Anxiety, Stress & Depression Relief

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/pacifica-anxiety-stress-depression/id922968861?mt=8

iPhone Rating: 4.5 stars

Android Rating: 4 stars

Psychologist-designed tools addressed through a Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy route are provided in this app. Mindfulness meditation, relaxation, and mood tracking are included. Tools which target stress, anxiety, and depression are provided to help break the ongoing cycle of negative thoughts.

Sleep

CBT-I Coach

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.t2.cbti&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

This app is for individuals who are engaged in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia with a health provider, as well as those who have experienced symptoms of insomnia and wish to improve their sleeping habits. Users are guided through the process of learning about sleeping, developing positive sleep routines, and improving one’s sleep environment. A structured program is outline which teaches users strategies proven to improve sleep and aid with alleviating symptoms of insomnia.

Thought Record

CBT Thought Record Diary

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.moodtools.cbtassistant.app&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

This thought diary will help you evaluate, understand, and change both your thoughts and feelings. Users can work to identify their emotions, analyze how and why they are feeling a particular way, challenge their beliefs, and change their thinking patterns for future situations.

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#smileforkyle

When I was in high school something tragic happened, a student named Kyle took his own life.

Our school community was devastated. Walking through the halls like zombies were numerous students who not only knew Kyle, but were close friends with him. I remember seeing a girl I know who was best friends with him in the hall the day after it happened. I could tell she needed comforting so I simply walked up to her and gave her a big hug, letting her cry on my shoulder. Another one of my close friends who knew Kyle very well and was devastated by his death. I made sure to let him know that I was there if he wanted to talk and gave him a comforting hug each time I passed him in the halls.

It was truly amazing to see our school community (students, teachers, parents) come together and support each other in this time of grief. All throughout the school you could witness students being comforted by each other. Counsellors were available for those who desired them, and the Chapel was open for anyone who needed space.

I only wish that someone would have been able to see that he was struggling. That someone was able to save him.

Kyle always had a smile on his face and appeared to be extremely happy. Students at my school began using the hashtag #smileforkyle and so many tweets were made that the hashtag was trending on Twitter. We all hoped that this would raise awareness on how serious and real suicide is. Each day we remind each other to smile for Kyle.

Someone to Talk to

It is so important to find someone you feel comfortable talking to. Someone you can tell anything to and know they will support you. Someone whose always ready to listen, to ask if you’re okay, to see if you are drowning.

I am so thankful that I have found 2 of these people. I know that both my best friend of 10 years and my boyfriend of 2 years are there for me when I need them. I can tell them anything whether it involves stress, my mental health, school struggles, family issues, or anything else which may be bothering or worrying me at the time. They have both shown to me that they are listening when I open up by asking meaningful questions, checking in on me when they know I am going through something difficult, and most importantly asking me “Are you okay?”.

Sometimes when we open up to someone and tell them how we are feeling or what we are going through, it seems as though they aren’t really listening. They aren’t really hearing what we are saying. Perhaps they are and they just don’t know how to respond. But we can’t always determine if this is the case.

It can be difficult finding someone you are completely comfortable with and can talk about anything to, but once you do life becomes much easier. I used to always bottle up my feelings and then cry when no one was around. Hiding your feelings and tears is a lot harder than just letting them out once in a while.

I hope that all of you are as fortunate as myself in that you have found someone to talk to when you are feeling anxious, depression, or stressed. And if not, I hope you feel safe expressing your feelings and thoughts on this blog, knowing that we are all here to listen.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Recently I watched the movie It’s Kind of a Funny Story. For those of you who have not seen this movie, it is about a clinically depressed teenage boy named Craig, who checks himself into the psychiatric ward of a hospital after contemplating suicide. There were quite a few things I learned from this movie:

  1. People think mental illness can be cured almost instantaneously. In the movie Craig check himself into the hospital in hopes of being given a quick fix to end his suicidal thoughts. He learns that this is not going to happen as depression can’t be cured overnight.
  2. A lot of people may not accept or understand your mental illness. Craig’s father is aware of why he checked himself into the hospital and about Craig’s constant struggle with depression, however he still places a lot of stress on his son. He does not realize that one of the reasons Craig was suicidal in the first place was because of this constant stress.
  3. Not all mental illnesses look the same. When Craig’s friends find out he is in the hospital, they are both shocked and confused. It was not apparent that Craig was suffering from depression and would consider ending his life. On the other hand, when Craig first enters the psychiatric ward, he sees another patient talking to himself about what seems to be nothing. He is quick to question who this man is, and informed that he suffers from schizophrenia.
  4. It is important to find escapes or activities which make you happy. While in the hospital Craig attend an arts and crafts class in which he begins to draw a map. He realizes that this is something he loves to do and plans to continue drawing once he is released as it helps him forgot about all his problems and worries.
  5. There are people who love and care about you. When seeing the hospitals psychologist Craig reveals that he did not actually attempt suicide because he knows he has his friends and family who love him. Throughout his stay he comes to realize how important these individuals truly are.

funnystory-2

Reacting To Loss

I attended a small rural high school about three hours west of Oshawa. When I think of a small high school like the one I attended, I think of closeness and simplicity. I think of a place where everyone knows everyone, where news travels fast, and where your prom takes place in the high school gym. Nothing bad ever seems to happen, so when it does, it hits the community hard.

Last week, the small high school I attended had to grieve the loss of a sixteen-year-old student. He committed suicide. I didn’t know him personally, but like hundreds of other community members, I feel the loss with a heavy heart. My brothers still attend the high school, and my mom still supplies as a vice principal there. I see friends on Facebook sharing his obituary with comments suggesting he was “always smiling” and was “always nice to everyone.” After a week of trying to make sense of the event, I decided to finally put my thoughts into words.

My dad called me the other night and told me how upset my mom was about this student’s passing, and how as a principal she always has the mentality that things can become better for every student. She said, only weeks before his passing, he was singing karaoke at a school assembly, to which he said “I didn’t think I had it in me.” From an educator’s perspective, this only seemed like progress. A student that was usually shy and uncomfortable was coming out of his shell, and was doing things that made him seem fearless. My dad then proceeded to tell me that when he was a teenager, he never heard of anyone committing suicide. In my short nineteen years, I can name four people. I can name four high school students that struggled so much with their mental illness that they decided to take their own lives, all of which had peers post things like “they were always smiling” and “they were so friendly to everyone” with a link connecting to an obituary that should not yet exist.

Losses like this confuse and frustrate me. I see so easily online the amount of support that is offered. Unfortunately, this support becomes so evident when it is too late. I’m not saying support doesn’t exist offline – it certainly does – but I’m saying that it breaks my heart to see the utmost support when it is too late. I wish that someone had recognized the hurt in each person lost to suicide before they were gone. I wish that instead of hiding behind a smile, people were real and honest about how they feel, and I wish the receivers of those messages only listened to understand and were empathetic. Again, I’m not saying this is always the case. I know a lot of people that express the need for support while dealing with mental health issues. I mean, UOIT’s Mental Health Services are always busy assisting a number of students. To me, that is excellent news because it means that people care about themselves enough to get help they feel they need.

I don’t know if I still have completely comprehended how I feel about writing this post. I think we will always be confused about suicide, and mental illness as a whole. I think overall, I want the experiences I have had as a community member who has witnessed the devastation of suicide on a community to help others. Please, please, PLEASE – if you ever feel lost, if you ever feel worthless, talk to someone. I have seen so often how willing people are to help a stranger. It’s human nature. We help one another. Look for the Campus Connected stickers on laptops, seek out the help of your friends, teachers, parents, whoever you trust; people want you around. I wish I didn’t have this weight on my chest. I wish I didn’t have to feel so sad for the family and friends of the boy who attended my old high school. I wish he knew how missed he is. I wish he knew that someone he never even met wishes he was still here.

I hope someday that all suicidal thoughts can be overcome. I hope all people will one day realize that there is so much more to life than what is happening in the moments you feel worthless. I hope someday, all people believe that the world wants more for them, and that there are so many people that want to help conquer mental illness.

I’m going to leave off with a quote by Phil Donahue: “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Please let people in. Let them help you if you feel you need it. No matter who you are, you’re too much to lose.

The State of Our Mental Health System

I called into the office of a psychiatrist in Barrie, ON sometime last month. I spoke with the receptionist, who while lovely and helpful, presented me with the next available appointment date for a psychiatric diagnostic appointment: Friday, October 25, 2017 at 9:15 am. As she read off the date and time, the only thing I found myself saying was “Oh god.”

In ten months time I will be able to speak to a psychiatrist and tell him everything that has happened to me and everything that I feel and live with daily. Ten. Months. I am on the cancellation list as of now, leaving my appointment potentially within the next few months if someone cancels.While I tried my best not to be angry, I am still disappointed. My heart aches and I grow tired. I was hoping for an appointment within a month to show this doctor the worst of my sadness and anxiety. But it will have to work much longer, once again.

It still baffles me that in a country with a praised health care system can have such long waitlists and such large date gaps when it comes to psychiatric appointments. For a field that is pursued by a number of students in universities across Canada and the world, there seems to be a lack of these doctors here. It saddens me that while I have the patience and ability to wait this long, others may be near-crisis or creeping towards a breakdown and can’t receive this treatment sooner. I am aware of crisis hotlines and hospitals that provide counsellors for crisis, but I sincerely doubt anyone wants to reach that point. It also disappoints me that while one can see a therapist in the mean time, typically therapists are not covered directly by health insurance, especially if they are in-home or have a private practise. I have seen one therapist and one psychologist in the past three years. The therapist I saw for one session and cost me $100, which forced me to discontinue as I could not claim it under my insurance. The psychologist I saw twice and cost me $150 a session, which I only received 80% coverage over.

I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic, but it’s difficult to look up when money and time are not on your side. I don’t know if I would ever reach crisis point, but the thought of someone else who may not have access suffering is disheartening. I am lucky enough to have a doctor who is willing to help me and treat me as required. I hope that others who are in my position and struggling with their mental health are able to keep their head up and press on until they receive the help they need.

Good luck and much love.

How can I help?

One of the most frustrating things can be trying to help someone who refuses your help. My brother has needed help regarding his mental health for years, but has always refused. When he was younger my parents took him to various psychologists and counsellors in hopes that someone would be able to help him, or at the very least get him to open up. But every time it was the same thing. An hour would pass and he would walk out of the room having not said a single word. He would then repeatedly tell my parents how much he hated them for forcing him to see a “shrink.” We also tried family counselling, but here my brother felt as though he was being integrated and threw a fit. We left the session early and never returned.

Once my brother got a little older it became impossible to get him to even go to his appointments. And now that he is an adult he still refuses to seek help. He has been told by numerous family members and close friends that he should talk to someone and get the help he needs, but he still refuses. It has gotten to the point where myself, as well as my parents have stopped trying to convince him to speak to somebody, as it is too frustrating of a task and always ends the same way.

If anyone has any suggestions as to try and help someone who constantly refuses help, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear any and all suggestions you may have!

how-can-i-help

Continuing the Conversation

Every year on Bell Let’s Talk day we hear thousands of individuals discuss their mental health. People feel as though this is the best day to come forward and share their experiences with mental illness. It makes it much easier to come forward and talk about our own mental health when we see others doing the same, especially over social media where we can hide behind our screens. The numerous posts with the familiar hashtag #BellLetsTalk make us feel like everyone will accept our mental illness and applaud us for sharing. But this is not how we should feel.

We should not feel as though only because it is Bell Let’s Talk day our friends, family, and followers will support us and be there if we want to talk. It seems like this is the one of the only times we reassure our friends and family that we are here for them if they want to talk about their depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc. We should be doing these things everyday. A day should not go by in which anyone feels although they cannot talk about not being okay.

In order to stop the stigma we need to discuss mental health on a daily basis. We need to accept that everyone faces different struggles in life and some cannot be seen by the eye. We need to treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve.

And that is why I love this blog. It provides an opportunity for individuals to talk about mental health in a safe and judge-free environment everyday, not just once a year. It allows us to support one another and reassure each other that we are not alone. It allows us to continue the conversation.

Helping a friend in need

A few years ago my friend came to class with marks on his arms. It was clear these were from self-harm. Since I had met him, he never had such marks. Everyone in my friend group noticed, but none of us asked him about it. Later that day, another one of my friends told me that he had a rough night which involved a lot of tears and blood.

On the following weekend I was texting this friend, just having a normal conversation when he asked if I could call him. I was out running errands with my mom, and asked if I could call him when I got home. He said this was fine.

Many hours later, I got home. I was tired from being out all day and just wanted to go to bed. But, I knew my friend went through a rough patch earlier that week and wanted to talk. So, I called him. Almost immediately into our conversation he began telling me why he had self-harmed that week and that he used to do so regularly. I spoke with him for over an hour. I made it clear to him that I understood that he did what he did because in the moment it seemed like the only option. I advised him to first speak to someone when he’s upset, as this can often make people feel a lot better. I made sure he was alright before hanging up the phone.

After our conversation, I was very thankful he reached out to me. I was happy that I could be there to listen to him and offer a hint of advice. He has not come to me to for help since this incident, but I am still in contact and know he is doing much better today. I hope he knows I am always hear to listen.

My advice to anyone in a similar situation, is to call the individual. Even if you don’t feel like talking in that moment. Someone who reaches out, may desperately need you to listen. A call can save a life.

telephone-call-tree

Useful Mental Health Apps

Online Mental Health Apps do not replace professional and personal support, especially if you are experiencing significant distress or mental illness. However, they can be complementing the help you are getting from professionals, family and friends. There are some great online self-help resources as well as numerous mental health apps that many people find very useful in maintaining their mental health and well-being. Here is a list of FREE mental health apps.

Emotion and Stress Management:

HealthyMinds

iPhone rating: N/A

Android rating: 4 stars

http://www.theroyal.ca/mental-health-centre/apps/healthymindsapp/

HealthyMinds is a problem-solving tool to help deal with emotions and cope with the stresses you encounter both on and off campus, with the goal of keeping your mind healthy. The app helps you identify how you think and react to challenges in your life, and offers problem-solving techniques to help you better react to future challenges and stresses. Other features include stress-busting exercises, information about food and healthy eating, and breathing exercises.

TruReach

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.airnauts.trh&hl=en

Android rating: 4 stars

TruReach is mental wellness on the go. Learn skills that help you deal with anxiety, stress, and feeling down. This app breaks down cognitive behavioural therapy into 18 quick, 5-minute lessons, covering topics including: identifying emotions, identifying thoughts, goal setting, and thought tests.

Anxiety:

MindShift

iPhone rating: 4 stars

Android rating: 4 stars

https://www.anxietybc.com/resources/mindshift-app

MindShift is an app designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety. The app will help you learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and identify active steps that will help you take charge of your anxiety. MindShift includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to deal with test anxiety, perfectionism, social anxiety, performance anxiety, worry, panic, and conflict.

Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)

iPhone rating: 4.5 stars

Android rating: 4 stars

http://sam-app.org.uk/

Self-Help for Anxiety Management is an app designed to help you understand and manage anxiety. You can monitor your anxious thoughts and behaviours over time, as well as manage your anxiety through self-help exercises and private reflection. You can also share your experiences with other app users while keeping your identity private.

Flowy

iPhone rating: 3.5 stars

Android rating: 4 stars

http://www.flowygame.com/

Flowy is a mobile game designed to help people manage their panic attacks and anxiety symptoms in a fun, distracting way. The game is based on breathing retraining, a breathing technique that can be used to combat panic and anxiety symptoms whenever they arise. The app developers conducted a study to prove the effectiveness of the game in managing anxiety symptoms and found that Flowy measurably reduced symptoms of anxiety, panic, and hyperventilation.

Mindfulness:

Headspace

https://www.headspace.com/

iPhone rating: 4.5 stars

Android rating: 4 stars

Headspace is your own personal trainer, here to help you train your mind. Numerous selections of meditation and mindfulness techniques to suit your mood and lifestyle are available. Choose your session length, replay your favourites, and learn how to apply mindfulness to your everyday activities. The app lets you track your progress and stats, as well as lets you buddy up with friends.

Stop, Breathe & Think 

http://www.stopbreathethink.org/

iPhone rating: 4 stars

Android rating: 4 stars

Stop, Breathe & Think is a free mindfulness, meditation, and compassion-building lifestyle tool which is both fun and easy to use. Tune into how you are thinking and feeling, and selection emotions to help guide you in the recommended meditations. Emotions can be tracked both pre and post meditation, and you can even share your favourite calming exercises.

Depression and Mood Disorders:

Moodlytics

iPhone rating: 5 stars

Android rating: 4 stars

http://www.moodlytics.com/

Moodlytics is a mood tracking app which allows you to log your moods and track them periodically. The app has a variety of features: you can track your moods with emojis, attach photos, journal your feelings, set reminders, set mood goals, and log moods from past days. Once you have logged for several days, you can create charts that let you look back and visualize your mood patterns.
T2 Mood Tracker

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/t2-mood-tracker/id428373825?mt=8

iPhone rating: 4.5 stars

Android rating: 4 stars

T2 Mood Tracker allows users to monitor their moods on 6 pre-loaded scales (anxiety, stress, depression, brain injury, post-traumatic stress, and general well-being. Custom scales can also be created. Users rate their moods, which are then displayed on graphs to help users track their moods.

DBSA Wellness Tracker

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/dbsa-wellness-tracker/id638583516?mt=8

iPhone rating:

Android rating: 4 stars

The DBSA Wellness Tracker is a user-friendly app which allows you to keep track of your emotional, mental, and physical health. The app has a report feature which gives you a summary of your health trends. This can help you better recognize potential health problems and mood triggers in your life.

Eating Disorders:

Recovery Record

iPhone rating: 5 stars

Android rating: 4.5 stars

https://www.recoveryrecord.com/

Recovery Record is an eating disorder recovery app with a number of features. Not only does the app allow you to log your meals, you are also able to record your behaviours, thoughts, and feelings associated with each meal. You can also create meal plans and record coping skills. You can even connect with your clinician if they download the clinician version of the app. Your clinician will have access to your meal logs and can keep track of your progress in between in-person sessions.

Rise Up + Recover

iPhone rating: 5 stars

Android rating: 4.5 stars

https://www.recoverywarriors.com/app/

Rise Up + Recover is an eating disorder management app with several features. The app allows you to log your meals, track your emotions, behaviours and thoughts, and export PDF summaries of your progress to share with your treatment team.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

PTSD Coach Canada

PTSD Coach Canada was developed by Veterans Affairs Canada in partnership with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Mental Health Association. The PTSD Coach Canada app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that can occur after trauma. This app provides reliable information on PTSD and treatments, tools for screening and tracking your symptoms, and easy-to-use tools to help you handle stress symptoms.

Suicide Prevention:

DMHS

Android rating: 4 stars

http://dmhs.ca/resources/mobile-app/

The Durham Mental Health Services Suicide Prevention App is designed to provide information about suicide intervention, suicide prevention, and mental health resources. A direct link to a 24-hour telephone support C.A.L.L (Crisis Access Linkage Line) is provided.

Be Safe

iPhone rating: 3.5 stars

Android rating: 4.5 stars

https://besafeapp.ca/index.php

Be Safe is a suicide prevention app that aims to help young adults seek help in a crisis. The app was developed in partnership with youth and professionals. Be Safe allows users to create a digital safety plan, informs users about mental health and addiction resources in their local community, directs users to the best options for their needs through a decision-making aid, and empowers the user to reach out safely.

 

This is not a full list and many other options are available for students. If you are using an app that you find helpful, please share it on the comment section below.