The Mental Health Foundation is once again hosting the Mental Health Awareness week. Starting today, the week raises awareness into mental health problems and this year has a particular focus on stress.
Digital solutions are becoming more important to the mental health landscape and could be a real way to help speed up access to mental health services and reduce pressure on the NHS.
85% of UK adults experience stress on a daily basis and it’s thought that tackling stress goes a long way in helping to treat mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
SilverCloud is an online course currently featured on the NHS App’s library which offers a way for people to help manage stress, anxiety and depression. Users work through a series of topics that are selected by a therapist specific to their needs. Better yet, the eight-week course can be completed by users at their own pace and on their own time.
Considering that 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24, the importance of mental wellbeing at a young age is vital.
BlueIce is a prescribed app available to young people, intended to be used alongside face-to-face mental health care.
Designed to help young people manage their emotions and reduce the urge to self-harm, BlueIce includes a mood diary and a range of evidence-based techniques to reduce distress and also automatic routing to emergency services if self-harm urges continue.
The app lets users track their mood and also allows them to add notes based on how they’re feeling. Users can identify patterns and triggers and also access a personalised set of activities designed to reduce distress.
Text-based service Ieso is designed for people with mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD, phobias and stress.
The service puts users in touch with a therapist trained in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Sessions ranging from 30-60 minutes are designed to help users change the way they think and feel about things.
Appointments can be schedules for anytime of the day, including weekends and users can expect to have between four and 12 therapy sessions depending on their needs.
The Actissist app was developed as a way to help treat people with symptoms of early psychosis.
Developed by researchers at the University of Manchester, the Actissist app targets a number of areas that people with early psychosis often have trouble with including perceived criticism from others; getting out and about; cannabis use; and distress caused by symptoms such as paranoia and hearing voices.
The app works by inviting patients to choose an aspect of their mental health they would like to work on and complete a set of questions.
Patients receive messages and hints and tips suggesting ways of coping with any experiences they identify as distressing.
The app also contains information and activities such as videos, a diary, external links to useful websites, factsheets, mindfulness and relaxation exercises. It also includes a graphical read-out of any changes in patients’ psychotic experiences.
Although only available through self-referrals or care teams, the app has been so far effective with a small patient group reporting that they enjoyed using the app.
Big White Wall
The Big White Wall service is for those affected by stress, anxiety, or general low feelings. It takes a unique approach and offers an online community where users can talk anonymously to other members to truly express their feelings.
The service has as an active forum and support is available from trained professionals. Users can also take part in group or one-to-one therapy with professionals.
Online tests are also available for users to track their anxiety or depression and users can set targets for themselves.
Lastly, online courses are available with health professionals and cover areas such as sleep problems and anger management.