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Technology to Support Your Mental Health
We've now been living through a pandemic for most of 2020. For many of us, the adjustment hasn't always been easy.
Even if you're lucky enough to work from home, adapting to a very different routine can be exhausting. While we're all taking care to safeguard our physical health and boost our immune systems, it's essential to protect your mental health as well.
Stress and Anxiety on the Rise
This summer, a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that depression and anxiety symptoms have skyrocketed compared to 2019.
According to the survey, more than 40% of American adults say that they struggle with mental health and substance use right now. Even anecdotally, that makes sense. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted almost every part of our daily lives. The looming uncertainty has understandably increased feelings of loneliness, stress, anxiety, and depression.
Tracking Worry through Search Terms
A recent study analyzing the pandemic's impact on mental health reviewed Google search trends over the past few months.
After news of the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread, Google searches related to "worry" increased significantly, followed by terms related to the word "anxiety."
We've grown accustomed to finding quick answers via Google—but what if, instead of increasing our anxiety, we used technology to help manage it?
Managing Your Mental Health
Here are a few recommendations if you're looking for new technology to help you manage increased stress and worry.
Note: while many of the below offer both free and paid versions, not all options are available in every state, and some features are gated behind a monthly subscription fee.
Moodfit allows you to track your moods daily, with resources that help you understand your feelings and what patterns may be triggering them. It even offers strategies to help you identify and modify irrational thoughts to "reprogram" your reactions.
Sanvello provides cognitive behavioural therapy tools to support self-care, peer support, therapy, and coaching. Join their (anonymous!) online community and share stories, tips, and questions with others in a similar position.
COVID Coach, an app created by the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, launched in April to help providers offer an easy way to administer psychological assessments and COVID-specific resources to their patients. It provides education, tools, and trackers to help you visualize your mental health progress over time.
Youper is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that guides users through therapy exercises using a virtual "emotional health assistant." The app, created by a team of doctors, therapists, and engineers, claims to offer some of therapy's benefits without waiting for an appointment.
Happify's science-based, mood-boosting exercises come from cognitive behavioural therapy, but they're actually pretty fun! The app allows you to choose which path you'd like to focus on, with options that include stress management, mindful meditation, and improving self-confidence.
Talk to Your Doctor
Remember, while these apps may help support your mental health goals, they're no substitute for talking to your doctor.
If you're struggling with the stress of the pandemic and need immediate support, you can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
We're all in this together. Here's to your healthier, longer life.
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