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Phone Apps Help with Mental Health

May 11, 2021 -- For younger students and teenagers in crisis, there's no substitute for face-to-face intervention and professional help. However, since phones are tools most teens use, they can offer timely resources and help for those who need it.

Our Family Ambassador team in the Department of Engagement recently worked our partners at Bark - an online tool to help parents monitor their children’s online and text activity - to come up with a series of smart phone apps that focus on coping with anxiety, depression, and difficult circumstances.

These apps encourage meditation, connection, and thoughtfulness - good skills for any age. When used in conjunction with other approaches, these apps might offer teens a little peace of mind.

  • Calm: This app promotes relaxation through meditations, sleep stories, nature images, and sounds. The guided meditations give users choices in topics (calming anxiety, deep sleep, forgiveness, gratitude, and more), length of time (from three to 25 minutes), and nature scenes. There's a Calm Kids section of meditations that helps kids learn calming techniques like belly breaths and loving kindness, as well as sleep stories for kids 3 and up.
  • COVID Coach: This tool for reflection, guided-meditations, and other wellness activities was originally created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Still, anyone and any age can use these exercises for handling stress at any time.
  • Three Good Things: This “Happiness Journal App” is a simple, free journal app that enables users to record three positive experiences every day. Created by a teenager, the app is based on brain research that suggests focusing on positive moments daily can increase happiness. Users can "level up" every time they add a daily journal entry.

So much of the time, our technology is a way to escape. But our Family Engagement team reminds us that, instead of distraction, we can use devices to work for us and help us get things done.