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The Rise of Self-Help Platforms

Woman using self-help app on her phone

Technology is changing the way we live. From online courses and habit trackers to sleep advice and breathing exercises, there’s never been a better way to explore and embrace how tech can help our mental health.

In 2019, the App Store editors have named self-help the breakout trend of the year. The ever-growing list of options aims to give people fuss-free, accessible ways to focus on the self from the comfort of their own home.

Self-help involves the actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.

Moments of self-help add value, energy, purpose, and creativity to everything we do. No matter how fancy or indulgent the term may sound, acts of self-hep are vital in our quest for a healthy, balanced and enjoyable life. Self-help apps can be a helpful way to bring emotional regulation to the forefront of your mind. They are also a great way to get more skilled at thinking, feeling and engaging with the world in a healthier and more productive way.

As self-help can mean different things to different people, the apps can focus on a range of activities including monitoring breathing and stress levels to meditation and mindfulness techniques – all of which can have an enormous impact on our functioning.

Below are some of the most popular apps available online:

Beat Panic

A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes. Beat Panic is designed to guide you through a panic attack or raised anxiety using your phone.

Price – 99p

Be Mindful

An NHS recommended online course to help reduce stress and anxiety and open up life opportunities using mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Price – £30 (One off Payment)

CALM

CALM provides daily challenges to deepen your mindfulness practise and learn more about yourself that include sleep advice, exclusive music to help you relax and focus as well as video lessons on mindful movement and gentle stretching.

Price – £7.99 a month or £29.99 a year

Catch It

Learn how to manage feelings like anxiety, depression and stress with this NHS recommended app. Catch It will teach you how to look at problems from a different viewpoint, deconstruct thoughts into associated behaviours and attitudes and overcome negative emotions.

Price – Free

Chill Panda

Chill Panda is an NHS recommended guided breathing app. In 5 minutes you can start to enjoy the deep relaxation and other health benefits of slower therapeutic breathing. These breathing techniques will help you relax more, worry less and feel better.

Price – Free

Cove

Create music to capture your mood and express how you feel with Cove. Instead of communicating through words, make music to reflect emotions like joy, sadness and anger. You can store your tunes in a journal or send them to a loved one and let the music do the talking for you.

Price – Free

Headspace

Relax with the help of Headspace‘s guided meditations and mindfulness techniques. Meditation has been shown to promote subtle improvements in focus, attention and the ability to ignore distractions.

Price – £7.99 a month or £29.99 a year

My Possible Self

This NHS-featured wellbeing app sets out a personalised self-help toolkit for your mental health. You can track how you feel every day with their Mood Tracker and highlight activities, places and people that influence your mood, so you can focus on the things that make you feel great and keep you well.

Price – Free

Strides Habit Tracker

The Strides Habit Tracker makes it easy to track the goals and habits you have been striving to incorporate into your life. After adding each of your individual goals and healthy habits, you’ll be able to see a daily checklist of tasks to keep you on target.

Price – Free

This story was originally published in the Summer 2019 Community Living Well magazine. It has been edited for website purposes. Subscribe today to receive mental health and wellbeing tips straight to your inbox, four times a year!

Refer to the Community Living Well service here.