In response to Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to create a blog post reviewing some of the applications I use to help with my mental health. I am now at a point where I am trying to maintain good health, after receiving diagnosis and treatments. I try to use the following applications every day (when I’m not buried with uni work!) so that I can review my progress and help myself when times get difficult and there’s not always someone around to help.
These are my own personal opinions and experiences of using these applications, and I think they’re all fantastic! They have really helped me deal with the day to day struggles of life, and I hope they can help someone else too.
Daylio is a lovely app which is free on iOS and Android. I can’t remember when I first downloaded the app but I have been using it for quite some time and it really helps me to track my moods.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget to use it, especially when I have had a good day, but it’s so simple and user friendly; I would really recommend it.
Passcode: Daylio is like a little virtual diary, because you can add your own 4 digit passcode to keep all your data and information safe. I am quite a secretive person, so the passcode feature gives me assurance that only I will be able to see the data I have recorded.
Mood Tracker ‘Emojis’: Everyday Daylio can send you a push notification asking ‘How are you?’ and you can choose from 1 of 5 emojis which each represent a particular mood. You can choose which time of day suits you best to receive your notification or you can simply go onto the app each day and record your mood. (I have terrible memory, so I have to use the notification feature!)
Activity Log: The app also features an activity log where you can select which activities you have done that day. There is also a button to add your own customised activities if the ones you need aren’t listed. Another great feature of this section is that you can add a note for each day. I would really recommend this as you can write down exactly what you have done and what you have been feeling, and then reflect on this at a later date.
Monthly mood chart: This feature is perfect for tracking your mood over the past month. It shows you your peaks and troughs and which activities you have done. I really like this feature because it gives me an overall view of how my mood has been. As I suffer from a mood related disorder, it allows me to see how erratic my moods have been which is helpful when speaking to doctors and mental health professionals.
‘Often together’: This is my favourite feature on the app! It allows you to choose a specific mood from a drop-down menu, and then tells you which activities you usually have done when that mood is selected. As you can see from the picture below, when I’m feeling ‘awesome’ its usually if I have been working, relaxing and eating good food (no surprise there). You can use this feature to track which activities result in low mood (for me this is oversleeping/staying in bed) and avoid these activities in the future. You can also get to know yourself better by seeing which activities make you feel good and which ones make you feel bad.
There are lots of other great features of the app, such as the mood and activity counter (which allow you to see how many times a particular mood occurred and how many times you did a certain activity) and your longest day streak. Overall I think this is the perfect app for anyone who is currently receiving treatment or planning to speak to their doctor for their mental health, because it can tell you exactly what you were feeling and when you were feeling it. Daylio is like a little mobile diary, which is perfect because sometimes it’s easier to write things down and carrying a pen and pad everywhere is highly impractical.
MyTherapy is a very simple app so needs little explanation! I use this app to remind me to take my medication, which is really important otherwise there can be serious effects on your mental health.
This app is again free on the App Store, and is really simple to navigate. Because mine is already installed on the phone, I was unable to screenshot how it looks when you first open it.
From what I remember, you are able to add the medication you take to the ‘Therapy’ section on the left panel in the drop down menu. You can choose a specific time that the app will remind you to take your medicine, again using a push notification. There is also the option to set the app up to remind you every 5 minutes to take your medicine, until you have confirmed that you have taken it. This is a really handy feature if you’re forgetful like me! You are also able to enter how many tablets you have left, and this is shown at the top of the screen, underneath the name of your medication.
When you have taken your medication, click confirm and you will be shown a screen like this:
There is also the option to create an account which allows you to access extra features, but I haven’t done this as the medication reminder is all I need!
It may seem like a pointless app, but as I said previously it is super important to remember to take your medication every day. In an age where we rely on our phones more so than tablet dispensers, this app is perfect for simply reminding you to take your medicine. (I also think this app would be perfect to remind ladies to take the pill each day!)
Calm Harm ♡
Calm Harm is an app used to help stop self harming. Although I think the app is geared more towards teenagers, it is important to remember that self harm can be a concern at any age, specifically for those of us with mental health conditions.
Password: Calm Harm allows you to choose a password and also a memorable word in case you forget it. I think this is a really cool idea, as it keeps all your information safe and allows you to access your data even if you forget your password, without having to go through the hassle of sending a new password to your email.
Choosing ‘mascots’: I love anything that’s bright and cute, so I always choose the animal mascots. The mascot is essentially a little cartoon shape or animal which will guide you through the app, and help you ‘ride the wave’ (I’ll get back to this later). If you prefer not to have any small neon creatures jumping around your screen, you can always select the ‘no thanks’ option and you won’t have a mascot.
‘Riding the wave’: The ‘wave’ describes the up and down urges you sometimes feel to hurt yourself. I rarely get these now, however when I was younger I really struggled with this. When you press ‘ride the wave’ you are taken to another screen with different options to help you get through the urge without hurting yourself.
Activity type selection: This feature allows you to select which activity you would like, to help you get through your urge. Breathe, for example gives you breathing exercises to work through, and the Random selection taken lots of different activities from the other sections. I almost always choose the Distract condition, which is my way of coping. It’s best to have a look through them all and see which suits your personality best.
You then choose whether you want to do the activity for 5 minutes or 15 minutes. The 5 minute activities are best for low urges, and the 15 minute activities suit more severe urges.
You can then select your favourite activity from a long list, and the app will countdown in one minute intervals with one of those cute mascots. The activities in the distract condition are super helpful. I find that its best to get a pen and pad so that you can complete them, because a lot are memory tasks or maths games!
My log: This feature allows you to discover when your urge is strongest, which is really helpful because you can try and make sure you are with someone you trust at that specific time, or doing something which makes you happy. You can also let others know when your urge is strongest, so they can try and help you as much as they can.
I love this app so much. I think it’s so cute, and really helps you to get through a difficult time, especially if you are by yourself. There are so many different activities to try out, and I’m sure you will find one that suits you perfectly. If, like me, you get bored easily, the ‘random’ option is perfect because it collates so many different activities!
Elefriends is a website which was created in association with Mind – a well known mental health charity. Elefriends is basically a community of people who support each other. It’s a bit like an anonymous Twitter, where you can post messages or ‘statuses’ to a feed, and people can reply and react. It’s a great website to get things off your chest and speak to other people who are going through similar struggles to you.
As I mentioned before, you can ‘react’ to any post, and you can choose from ‘thinking of you’, ‘I hear you’, and ‘I like this’. Of course, try to choose an appropriate reaction! If someone posts that they are feeling good today I tend to like it, and if someone says they’re having a bad day I’ll either say that I hear them or I am thinking of them. It’s a really lovely community, and it’s so nice to see that people are thinking of you and listening to you when you are going through a difficult time.
If you are having a really bad time and need urgent help, you can press the button at the top of the screen next to the elephant which says ‘I need urgent help’. This takes you to another section of the website, where you can choose what you need help with and are given tons of advice pages and activities. This website has so much amazing information, its difficult to list it all! I would recommend heading over and creating an account so you can have a browse around and see what you find.
I hope this blog post has helped anyone who has been looking for apps to support them on their journey.
These are my own personal recommendations and what work for me daily. If you are really struggling, it is best to call 111 or a Mental Health Hotline (the NHS and Samaritans provide them). It is also really important to speak to someone, and if you feel like therapy hasn’t worked / isn’t working for you its best to speak to your GP and not to go through things alone. If you are yet to receive a diagnosis, I really recommend that you go and speak to your GP when you next can, because they can help you with the next steps.
Despite last week being Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s really important to keep raising awareness about mental health so that we can remove the stigma and everyone can receive the help they deserve.
Speak up ♡