A plethora of mental health apps is available now to help track moods, manage symptoms of anxiety or depression, practice mindfulness, and more. The number of these apps continues to grow constantly, and they are becoming increasingly popular with adolescents and young adults. Are these apps just a fad? Or can these mental health apps actually help your clients?
Types of Mental Health Apps
Adolescents have a wide range of apps to choose from for their phones and other devices that they can use to support their mental health. Apps are available that offer coping strategies, guided meditation, or stress management techniques. Other apps offer affirmations, inspirational messages, or help with daily routines and self-care. Some apps provide simulated coaching based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), while others offer specific crisis support to help those struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Apps have also been developed that help identify and track moods. Many of these apps feature specific tools such as coping strategies, journaling options, goal setting, affirmations, medication reminders, support and safety plans, sleep tracking, and various activities to improve moods. A key feature of most of these apps is the ability to download and share mood-tracking information with mental health providers. All of these apps are designed to be user-friendly and particularly appealing to adolescents and young adults.
Apps That Provide Support for Your Clients
Many mental health apps are designed to provide daily support available in the place most adolescents spend much of their time–on their phones or other devices. Much of the support is interactive, and many of the apps have customizable features to provide support that can be specifically tailored to the user. All of these apps are available through the app stores to download for your phone or other devices. Some of the most popular support apps include:
- Simple Habit—meditation
- Stop Breathe and Think—meditation
- Pacifica—stress management
- Happify—stress management
- Fabulous Self Care—daily routines and self-care
- Unique Daily Affirmations—affirmations
- Three Good Things—daily journal
- Emotionary—identifying/managing emotions
- Insight Timer—guided meditations, talks, and music
- MindShift—simulated coach for coping based on CBT
- PTSD Coach—support for PTSD
- My3—crisis support for teens with suicidal ideation
- Calm Harm—crisis support for teens who self-harm
Mood-Tracking Apps Can Help You as a Provider
The apps that track moods are helpful for both clients and treatment providers. Your clients can track their moods daily or even throughout the day and view their moods over time by day, week, or month to help them better understand and manage their moods. The simple act of tracking their moods can help create more self-awareness for them and help them understand when they need help in real life.
For providers, the apps that offer downloadable information to share can be incredibly helpful. These reports can give you mood-tracking information that is likely to be the most accurate due to the easy-to-use interface. Some apps are even specific to your client’s diagnoses, providing the best questions and data for their experiences. A few of the most popular mood-tracking apps for teens include:
- Worry Watch (anxiety)
- Mood Tools (depression)
- eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker (bipolar disorder)
Benefits of Using Mental Health Apps
A key benefit to mental health apps is that they are available 24/7. These apps provide support and tracking of moods for your client 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While many providers might like to offer that type of support to their clients, it is not at all feasible. Having the app accessible can constantly help your client to self-calm, learn to cope, and learn more about themselves as they track their moods and learn about what influences their moods. Some of the apps can even provide crisis care, with access to important phone numbers and information to help them in the moment.
No App Can Replace Mental Health Care
Obviously, no app can replace actual mental health care from a licensed provider. Not even the best artificial intelligence is capable of reading moods and subtle nonverbal cues, let alone providing complex therapy or even understanding how the human mind works. However, having these apps available to adolescents can provide them with an extra measure of support in their daily lives and in times of need. The mood-tracking information can be integrated into your care and offer you more insight as a mental health care provider to help you better serve your clients and their needs. While these apps could never replace the mental health care you provide, they can be helpful for adolescents.
Can mental health apps help your client? If your client is willing to use them, they absolutely can. Mental health apps can provide support in the form of meditation, stress management, and coping skills. Other apps provide important methods for tracking moods as well as other tools to help identify and improve mood in teens. As a provider, having access to mood-tracking information can be an invaluable resource for you in your therapy. Sustain Recovery believes in the responsible use of technology for teens. Our Irvine, California, facility offers extended residential care to teens with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We understand the value of support and strive to ensure that each client has the opportunity to build support in their own community before returning home. If you have a client you think may benefit from our program, call us at (949) 407-9052 to learn more.