By Megan King |
If you’re struggling with mental health, it’s usually best to seek help from a trained professional, but for some of us, perceived and/or actual obstacles may make mental health services feel inaccessible. Sometimes, the thought of seeking professional psychological help alone seems daunting, allowing our inner monologue to run wild. Who wants to hear me whine about my non-issues? So-and-so has gone through way more than I have, and they’re fine! I’m probably just catastrophizing. What if this is just how my brain works? For the record, though, there’s no shame whatsoever in asking for help, no matter how “big” or “small” you believe your concerns to be, whether that means having a conversation with your doctor, seeking support services through your university, calling a helpline for advice and guidance, or even just opening up to a friend or relative to brainstorm how to best prioritize your mental wellbeing! If you’re not quite ready to seek professional mental health services, though, there are a variety of free resources that you can access right from your phone which may come in handy.
What’s Up is a free app that uses methods grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help you cope with Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and other mental health concerns. With What’s Up, you can track positive and negative habits, work to better identify how and what you’re feeling, and combat tendencies for negative self-talk. If you’re struggling at all with mental health, or even if you just want to maintain positive habits, What’s Up is definitely worth a download!
Quit That! is a completely free app that helps users break unhealthy habits and combat addiction. For me, personally, lockdown life meant that I was consuming increasing amounts of coffee (we’re talking eight cups a day sometimes) to try to combat my work-from-home-induced brain fog. Quit That! helped me to “detox” from coffee, and now, I use it to monitor exactly how much I’m consuming each week. Other users have used the app to stop drinking alcohol, quit smoking cigarettes, and assist in various processes of recovery, and with Quit That! you can track as many vices as you need to.
Happify is a mood-training app that essentially conditions you to let go of those pesky negative thoughts. Through games, activities, and gratitude prompts, Happify helps you to actively practice positive thinking, and better yet, it’s free!
Granted, the name might not be the cutest or most creative, but don’t discount Breathe2Relax. The free app was created by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, and much like the (again, kind of cheesy) name suggests, it’s designed to help you breathe to relax during stressful, fight-or-flight situations. Breathe2Relax teaches users diaphragmatic breathing techniques, meaning that it may be particularly helpful for those struggling with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Mindfulness and Stress Management with Rachael Kable
This is a personal favorite of mine! I like to check in with myself periodically because I think it’s important to “maintain” my mental health, and Rachael Kable helps me to do that. With blog posts, podcast episodes, and loads of freebies, including journaling prompts, Rachael Kable’s website offers a wide variety of mindfulness-based activities that you can work your way through!
Megan King is a PhD candidate at the University of Kent, studying the process of radicalization in pre-Revolutionary America, and she serves as the Pubs and Publications social media coordinator. You can find further ramblings from her on Twitter.