Can your Phone help you Achieve Better Mental Health?

by CPA Assist

Disclaimer: CPA Assist does not have any financial interests in any of the products listed in this article. We have not evaluated the apps listed in this article; they have been provided for information purposes only.

We live in a fast-paced world, bustling at an increasing rate—a time where work is accessible 24/7 in the palms of our hands, and the expectation of instantaneous results, prompt replies, or instant gratification is increasingly becoming the norm. With so many demands for our attention, our mental well-being can quickly deteriorate. While technology may be partially to blame for the increasing demands of our day-to-day lives, some companies are finding innovative ways to use this same technology to better our overall health.

There’s an app (or 1,000) for that!

You can get a smartphone or tablet application for practically anything—grocery and to-do lists, flash lights, levels and rules and recipe indexes, to name just a few—so why not an app that promotes better mental health? Not surprisingly, there are several hundred of such apps available.

A great source for finding an app that is right for you is the Alberta Health Services’ Addiction and Mental Health Research Partnership Program. They have created a Mobile Application Directory which provides a comprehensive listing of currently-available apps for areas such as substance-related disorders and addictive disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety and trauma/stress-related disorders, as well as other areas of mental health.

A few such apps (not all of which are included in the Directory) are highlighted below. While an app can’t replace a professional counselor or psychologist, it can go a long way in monitoring your mental well-being, educating individuals on mental health topics, and providing assistance as a resource to those in a moment of need or stress.

Mood Tracking

T2 Mood Tracker
Allows users to track their emotional experience over time and share this information with their healthcare provider. Users can customize what is tracked with categories of anxiety, depression, general well-being, head injury, post-traumatic stress, and stress.

Stress

StressTracker
Tracks stress, coping strategies, history and trends, and provides rankings for stress sources and symptoms.

Headspace (on-the-go)
Daily guided meditations, science facts and figures, with the ability to track progress.

Nutrition & Health

Calorie Counter – MyFitnessPal
Contains a large food database permitting users to keep track of their calorie intake. The app also includes a fitness tracker and has a goal setting function.

<30 Days Challenge
Developed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, this app gives users a customized risk profile showing the long-term impact of daily lifestyle choices. It then guides them on how to break bad habits to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke in 30 days or less.

Canadian Diabetes Association App
An educational tool that provides information about various types of diabetes, as well as signs and symptoms of the disease.

Sodium 101
Developed by the Canadian Stroke Network, this app allows users to track their daily sodium intake, and provides a quick sodium reference for over 2,000 food items. The app also features a recipe counter to track the salt added to foods while cooking and calculates the sodium content in meals.

MyMedRec
Keeps track of the medicines that you and your family members are taking and many other elements related to your health. It also reminds users when to take a dose of medication and when to refill prescriptions.

Suicide

The LifeLine
The first Canadian Suicide Prevention and Awareness app, The LifeLine connects users to a 24-hour hotline in Canada, has a text line and also has mapping capabilities that connects to local Crisis Centres, based on a user’s current location, for instant guidance, support and awareness.

Addictions

Directory for Addiction Treatment in Canada
The app lists low-cost and no-cost detox and treatment centres in every province and territory across Canada for people seeking help for alcohol or drug addiction. It also provides listings of meetings for Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon across the country.

Crush the Crave
Designed by the University of Waterloo’s Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, this Android app helps people stop smoking and live a healthier life. The app shows things such as monetary savings realized over time from not smoking and the health benefits associated with your life changes.

Right Fit for You

While apps can be very effective and useful, they might not necessarily be right for everyone. Likewise, because of the plethora of apps in the market, it is important to do research on the company and/or app developer before purchasing. Reading reviews of the product prior to purchasing/downloading is a useful first step.

Know When to Seek Additional Help

When it comes to serious problems or mental distress, an app should not be the place to start.

If something is impairing your life, seek professional help immediately. Technology cannot replace the assistance of a professional counselor or support network.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please reach out. CPA Assist provides confidential 24/7 help to Alberta Chartered Professional Accountants, candidates, and their immediate families. Call for 24-hour toll-free confidential support at 1-855-596-4222.

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