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Mind the apps

Some available apps help with maintaining a healthy mentality

During the 1990s, there was a lot of speculation concerning the 21st century. People imagined flying cars, metallic outfits and robots that could do everything from wash your car to remind you to take your pills.

Disappointing expectations aside, technology has made great strides in ensuring that everyday life is smoother and quieter than ever before. You needn’t worry about memorising telephone numbers, addresses and pesky birthdays anymore; your “smart” phone will remind you at the opportune moment. Today the pressures of existence should be relieved as everything is readily available (well, not for everyone, but for a big chunk of the planet).

Yet, our minds remain troubled. More and more people are relying on anti-depressants and anxiety medication to get through the day. Some are even checking into mental health facilities voluntarily to prevent nervous breakdowns. At every dinner party or gathering, people will share their tales of mental anguish and help sought. Some have been able to prevent  total mental breakdowns by identifying the signs and seeking medical assistance early on. Designers of mobile applications have realised the need for programmes which help people regain their sanity and mental health. Today, as a result, there are is an array of mental health applications to choose from.

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For example, the Mindshift application was developed to help young people identify and cope with anxiety.  The app provides general information regarding anxiety as well as a test to check if you suffer from stress-related angst. The test offers you choices regarding common stress related symptoms and based on your choices, determines how stressed you might be. The application then provides you with information and options to help relieve stress.

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Another app is Previdence, which provides users with assessment tools to determine if they or someone they know suffers from depression, alcoholism or suicidal tendencies. Based on the diagnosis the app will suggest a tailored course of treatment.

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DBT Self-Help assists users with developing mindfulness and overcoming negative emotions. The app is intended to be used alone or with psychotherapy. It provides users with skills needed to maintain a healthy outlook on life, and helps them use these skills and maintain them. Mimicking the activity of a therapist, the app creates sessions for the users to determine their level of emotional well being and supplies them with rationale based on the assessment.

The world might not have functional robots yet, but our Smartphones seem like a close second.

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