The month of October is Mental Health Awareness month in South Africa. Numbers of people suffer in silence with anxiety, depression and other disorders.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 10%-20% of all children and adolescents have some type of mental illness, with 50% of these disorders occurring by the age of 14 years and 75% by the age of 20.
But there is hope, and help…
Even though some experts believe that our increasing reliance on technology can breed more chances for mental illness to develop, there are ways that technology can help those with mental illness deal with their symptoms, such as mental health apps.
Although they are not a substitute for actual health care, the following apps are helping many users cope with their illnesses and get back to the business of living – for free.
Feeling isolated? Connect instantly with one of 160,000 trained volunteer listeners and licensed therapists with 7 Cups. The app engages users in anonymous, free, confidential conversations so you can vent about your day or simply hear a human voice. It also gives the option to connect with multiple users and to participate in guided discussions in group support chat rooms.
RR: Eating Disorder Management
Those battling anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder can work towards establishing a healthy relationship with food via Recovery Record. Using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and self-monitoring research, the app can help users record their meals, thoughts and feelings as well as customised meal plans, recovery goals and coping tactics.
Mental illness is not a game, but the app SuperBetter tastefully takes a gaming approach to managing depression, anxiety, chronic illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Players earn rewards for completing real-life exercises that help them build positive skills and behaviours like resilience and optimism.
Moodpath: Depression & Anxiety
Moodpath, which bills itself as “your mental health companion”, screens users for depressive behaviour via daily questions designed to increase their awareness of their thoughts and emotions. After 14 days, the app will generate a report about your condition that you can bring to a mental health professional for discussion. More than 150 videos and exercises are available, too.