Individuals enduring the symptoms of mental illness such as Anxiety, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and/or Bipolar Disorder, usually treat with psychotherapy, medications or a combination of the two. Often therapists recommend that patients’ journal their emotions, behaviors and symptoms on a consistent basis as a tool to gain greater insight of their condition. Tracking patterns and potential triggers can be extremely helpful to patient and therapist in managing their disorder, including the critical advantage of early recognition of changes that might lead to an exacerbation of their condition. With greater insight and ability to act early, frequency of therapy sessions and/or medications can swiftly be modified to prevent a worsening of a patient’s condition. In addition, greater insight and journal feedback may encourage patients to seek immediate professional support during a crisis.
Daily journaling can sometimes feel cumbersome and time consuming, but with digital technology, this doesn’t have to be the case. Software Developers are creating Apps to help those with mental disorders track and manage their symptoms. However, users should bear in mind that a psychiatric/medical background is not required to create a mental health app, and that this software should only be utilized as an additional part of a comprehensive treatment plan rather than a replacement for treatments such as prescription drugs, therapy, or TMS Therapy.
While TMS NeuroHealth Centers does not endorse any of the apps listed below, some apps have been recognized by mental health and other medical organizations and/or have been developed by a team of experts in mental health, which may make them better options for those interested in trying them out. All apps are free to download unless otherwise noted.
- Emotion Sense – Developed by a University of Cambridge research team, Emotion Sense harnesses smartphone data to measure, monitor and improve health behaviors. Users input moods, thoughts, and symptoms while their device measures physical activity, sociability and mobility using onboard sensors. Built using open source software, Emotion Sense can be configured to run sampling studies using personal experience data as well as global anonymous user data.
- ReliefLink – Designed by Emory University specifically for suicide prevention, ReliefLink enables users to create a personalized profile that includes their mental health professional’s contact information, insurance coverage and current medication, track mood, create a personal safety plan, set up reminders and alerts (e.g., therapy appointments, medication, etc.) and also offers a range of coping methods such as guided mindfulness meditations for on the spot support.
- Personal Zen – An evidence based smartphone app developed by the Emotion Regulation Lab, Personal Zen is a mobile game that focuses a user’s attention toward the positive. The game uses a cognitive approach to help the user regulate anxiety symptoms.
- HealthyMinds – A problem-solving tool to help people deal with stress and emotions, Healthy Minds was designed by The Royal for students but can also be used by people of all ages. HealthyMinds combines a mood tracker, problem solving, breathing, stress busting activities, and a journal function to log mood and symptoms.
- PTSD Coach – Designed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD Coach provides users with information about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), support opportunities, a self-assessment tool for PTSD, and other tools (e.g., relaxation techniques, positive self-talk guides, etc.) to manage the stresses of daily life.
- My3 – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline created the MY3 app to help users stay connected when struggling with tough emotions or having thoughts of suicide. MY3 prompts users to define a personal support network and safety plan, as well as provides them with direct access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Always consult with your treating health care providers before using any of these apps.
If you have had any experience using these types of mood tracking apps, please feel free to share your stories, thoughts and opinions below.Click to share this post: