Mental Health Apps Review
Have you been feeling overwhelmed lately by the large to-do lists or everyday stressors that come up in our lives? Big feelings, frustrations and stress are normal, we all have them. However, there are tools available that we can use and incorporate into our days to help support ourselves and those around us. Here is a list of three mental health apps that you can try out and incorporate into your day to help regulate those big feelings and keep stress hormones down. Each app has their own tools that can be customized to your needs. Whether you’re having trouble sleeping, feeling dysregulated, learning to problem solve or needing help focusing.
*Island Clinical Counselling is not associated in anyway with these third-party apps. This is just our review of some options available.*
What is Calm?
Calm is a mindfulness app that is available for iOS (iphones), Androids and desktop computers. They have a basic free version for their users as well as a few different paid subscription options for more content.
The mindfulness app features hundreds of calming exercises, guided breathing exercises and techniques to help bring us into the present moment, as well as sleep stories narrated by celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey and Lebron James. Calm is generally pretty user friendly and they are constantly adding new content to try.
What to Expect?
When you open the calm app it welcomes you to take a few slow deep breaths. A menu will then appear that asks you questions to help customize the app’s resources to your needs. The App will display content that they think will be helpful to you. Calm focuses on mindfulness based stress reduction which often consists of different meditations or breathing exercises to help regulate our bodies. The goal of the Calm app is to help and teach people to use their own personal resources to help manage their stress so that they can get good quality sleep.
How Can Calm be Helpful?
The Calm app encourages slow deep breathing, has sleep stories to help fall asleep and creates opportunities for people to tune into their bodies. If you are struggling to sleep or notice your body feeling tense or anxious, this may be helpful to try. When our bodies are dysregulated we can feel irritable and reactive. Taking a few minutes to take slow deep breathing helps regulate our nervous systems and encourages our bodies to relax. When we get a good quality sleep it improves our health as well as mood.
What is Headspace?
Headspace is another mindfulness App that is available for iphones, androids and desktop computers. It is known for being easy to navigate and provides opportunities to destress throughout the day. It has guided meditations, mindful workouts, breathing exercises as well as sleep exercises
This app has a free download and trial, however to fully access this app’s library of resources there is a monthly subscription with discounts for families and students. They also give free memberships to all k-12 teachers, school administrators and support staff in a few different countries.
What to Expect?
When you download the app on your device and first open it, it asks you to breathe in and out similarly to the Calm app. Then it asks you to create an account before entering their home page where it then asks what you are wanting help with. When you look through the app there are four main categories that you can look through: Meditate, Sleep, Move and Music. If you don’t have a subscription some of these categories have locked resources.
Under Meditate you will find different courses or activities such as guided breathwork for a variety of different needs. Some of these needs include de stressing, unlocking creativity, navigating injustice, anxiety, self compassion and more. There was even a Star Wars meditation to relax your mind and find your light side with your favorite Star Wars characters.
Under Sleep you will find relaxing guided sessions with short breathing exercises and visuals to help calm your mind. As well as sleep casts, audio tours of fictional realms, and a sleep radio with rain, ocean, or music sounds to help you doze off.
Under Move you will find some low to medium level workouts ranging from 10-30 minutes long that try to reconnect you with your body while paying attention to your breathing. The goal is not intensity but rather connecting your mind and body.
Under Music you will find different sounds to help you focus. Some of these included sounds for studying, movement, work, organizing thoughts and breathing.
How can Headspace be Helpful?
Using headspace could boost your mood, promite positive things as well as help emotionally regulate when we are having a stressed day. Mindfulness can help reduce distress and relieve symptoms from anxiety or depression. Creating opportunities for us to reconnect with our body will help us monitor our stress levels and keep us connected with ourselves and what we need.
Breathe Think Do with Sesame Street
What is the Breathe, Think, Do App?
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is an app for parents to use with their children that helps teach and model skills such as problem solving, self control and patience. We can use “Breathe, Think, Do” to help children learn strategies to calm down, how to identify their feelings and work to solve their problems.
What to Expect?
Breathe Think Do, is an interactive game where children help a monster solve a number of challenges by helping them think through and learn skills on how to “breathe, think and do. Users progress through different levels and activities where the character faces different challenges such as getting ready to go to school. Users will help the character take deep breaths, think through a plan, and choose different ways to cope with the problem.
How can it be Helpful?
Breathe Think Do, thinks it is helpful for children to learn how to calm themselves down, problem solve and learn breathing techniques. Through each problem they will be given three possible strategies to work through. For example, when the monster is standing in a line and feeling frustrated about waiting their turn, strategies like singing a song, counting items around them could be possible solutions. The goal is that children will remember the situations they problem solved with the character and apply them when they face challenges. Parents can use these activities to role play and model with their children different ways they can respond to difficult situations.
There are many helpful apps out there that can help us cope with the business of our lives. If you are not finding the tools or resources you have, feel free to contact one of our counsellors to learn some new way to manage stress and anxiety.
Written by Melissa Laird