03.07.2014

Some Apps can now Help you Overcome Depression

Some Apps can now Help you Overcome Depression

Image | Lel4nd

Smartphones are establishing themselves as very useful tools for numerous applications (which, ironically, seem to have very little to do with what they were originally designed for). Whether we use our mobiles for communicating, surfing the internet, playing videos, as a guide or for taking photos (among many other uses), what we now expect from a mobile is really for it to act as a small computer. That said, there are also new mobile opportunities currently being developed in fields as delicate and important as mental health. Yes, although it seems strange, your smartphone can help you to successfully overcome depression. You only need to know which apps are suitable and commit to a minimum of participation.

Almost a year ago, we published a post in which we delve into the field of mHealth and went into detail on the treatment of various mental disorders using mobile apps such as Viary and Mindfulness, whose validity has been shown by a very successful clinical study. Such apps have mostly been designed by psychologists and other health professionals, but since then many others have come out which may also turn out to be very useful for battling depression, and which haven’t necessarily always been designed by mental health experts.

Some of these apps, those designed expressly by psychologists, position themselves as an aide to traditional therapy and, particularly when it comes to those suffering from depression, should be used as lifetime companions. But not all have this profile. Others are simple games designed to oblige the «patient» to give a smile and, in this way, remember that life can also offer moments of happiness which we shouldn’t let go of. Some have the objective of helping sufferers to express what they’re feeling and identify emotions which it’s sometimes difficult to describe with words. Such apps resort to visual elements which are easy to identify by the person suffering from the depression, and which can be of great help in relieving stress.

Another strategy used by some apps to combat depression is based on helping sick people to detect and alleviate the irrational thoughts which normally lead to desperation and downheartedness. These often draw on cognitive therapy methods, meaning that behavioural psychology experts are often behind the development of these apps. And some have been designed to act as a monitor which encourages the user to recognise their changes of mood, anxiety levels, and even the fact that they’re suffering from a bipolar swing or a posttraumatic stress breakout via a series of questions which appear on the screen of their smartphone.

A couple of apps for fighting depression

Some Apps can now Help you Overcome Depression

Image | Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help

Google, Apple and Microsoft’s respective app stores are adding more and more products which can be categorised in the field of mHealth and, in particular, mental health. The range you can find is very diverse, and can help you fight against depression from all kinds of perspective. Big White Wall, for example, has been designed to help people with a mental disorder to identify their mood and express what they’re feeling via descriptive images. This app is paid (it costs 28.15 euros), but is available for both iOS and Android.

Another interesting option is Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help, which is free and is available for mobiles with Android. This app has been created in order to improve the quality of life of the people who use it by changing the way they think, an objective which it aims to fulfill by identifying the thoughts that interfere with the goals the person suffering from depression would like to attain. This strategy is very similar to that used by T2 Mood Tracker, which is also free, but, unlike the previous app, is available for both iOS and Android.

There’s even been apps designed to detect when someone is reaching so great a grade of desperation or loss of interest in life that they might decide to commit suicide. This is the objective of iStop-Suicide, a free app available for mobiles using iOS that has been designed by various Canadian universities who have used the help of contrasting scientific references in the field of psychology. But it’s not always necessary to opt for such an «aggressive» style of app. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, sometimes it’s enough to remember that small moments of happiness can comes from the most insignificant daily occurrences. As a counterpart to iStop-Suicide, it’s worth mentioning the game Angry Birds, which is recommended by web pages such as MyHealthApps for improving mood in both people with depression and anybody else who needs to take a breather. It’s available for approximately 0.99 euros, for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

The mHealth competence centre forms part of Mobile World Capital Barcelona’s Programme of International Competence Centers (PCCI). mHealth works with a three-fold objective: to identify mobile technology opportunities in the provision of health services, to transform current healthcare models and processes, and promote the interoperability of health services in the field of mobile technologies and connectivity, building foundations that make it possible to integrate mobile health solutions.

Mobile World Capital presents a global vision that effectively integrates mobile technologies into the fabric of the industries transforming our lives. Committed to expanding the mobile experience throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain with strong support of the public and private sector.

Mobile World Capital is leading mobile transformation through commitments in Competence Centres, local Industry Development, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation programmes.

MWCapital offers an open platform and exhibition showroom where citizens can understand and experience how mobile is enhancing our lives: The Mobile World Centre, located in the heart of Barcelona on Plaza Catalunya.

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