The most useful apps for people suffering with depression

Sep 12, 2016
Health
depression

Mental disorders are not so rare and curing them is the most difficult of all. Mental illnesses can affect also the physical health and as its name indicates, the treatment should start on the level of thoughts. There are many applications out now with the purpose of helping these people’s life at least a little. They are very diverse: some are focusing on positive thoughts, while others help to monitor mood and symptoms and there is also a group of apps for providing urgent help in the darkest moments. Here is a collection of the most useful ones.

Learning about

When someone is freshly diagnosed with a serious illness getting scared is a normal reaction which partly origins from the lack of information. Doctors sometimes don’t have the capacity to answer all questions and to give a full disclosure while knowing more actually helps the patient to stay calm and start fighting the disease with strength. The American National Institutes of Health launched an app called NIH Depression Information, reaching out for providing all the answers a depressed person would want to know. Starting from explaining what are the different types of depression through symptoms and differences varying by gender and age to the possible treatments and medications.

Monitoring and recognizing

Monitoring symptoms and changes of mood is important for recognizing and defining an illness or the way it’s evolving. Having a diary of these all is also a huge help for the doctor to make a diagnosis. Depression CBT Self-Help Guide is actually a smartphone diary application – but not a simple one. Depression CBT is a cognitive diary, it is focusing on emotions, moods – not on the events of a day but on the impact of those events on the person. The user writes about an event that caused problem for him, selects his current emotion, pairs it with its intensity and also writes about what made him feel that way. The end of the daily diary page is of course about challenges to set and positive thoughts. With the help of monitoring apps it is possible to follow every step of the disease and see what influences the mood of the patient in a positive or in a negative way – making easier to choose the right treatment methods.

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Mood boosters

One thing that everyone knows about depression is that it is accompanied by a fluctuating mood which means many ups and downs – and those downs are very deep ones. Meditating activities can be efficient to banish the dark moments. Smiling Mind has a well-built system of meditation programs The user first gets to choose which age groups he belongs to. There are programs for little children and for adults as well. Every program consists of a certain amount of modules, each of them concentrating on different senses or fields of life. There are for example modules also for preparing for sleep, eliminating stress, or for improving interactions in a relationship. It is easy to build it into the daily routine, mainly as it also offers short sessions to prevent „I don’t have time for that” kind of excuses.

Introducing Smiling Mind with Co-founder James Tutton

Co-founder James Tutton gives a brief introduction and background to Smiling Mind. Videography by Kim Nguyen

When help is needed quickly

We talked already about those dark moments. Well, those can come all of a sudden and any time if the person is suffering from depression – and mostly of course they come in lonely situations. Operation Reach Out aims to prevent self-harm or suicide. It provides suicide prevention hotlines but the user can also add emergency contacts. What is great about this application is approaching the problem from both sides. Right after starting Operation Reach Out the user needs to choose if he is concerned about himself or about someone else – thus it involves close friends or family as a potential help. People who start using the app to help someone else receives useful advice on how to handle situations and how to ask questions to find out if the ill person is planning to end his life – all presented in short videos. This both directions approach is way more effective than providing only hotlines, as a constant consciousness about the other’s condition fastens intervention and can prevent to reach the lowest point.

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Noemi Arki

I work on the field of tech journalism for three years. My favorite topics are tech and media related subjects as I am an enthusiastic user of new media and tech innovations.

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