4 apps to boost your mental health

| Emily Delzell

Among people with psoriasis, about 24 percent have anxiety and about 10 percent have clinical depression, according to research. Studies show people with psoriatic arthritis have even higher rates of mood disorders, finding a third have anxiety and about 22 percent have depression. When used with appropriate care, apps can help people cope with mood problems, says Steven Chan, M.D., MBA, a clinical informatics and digital health fellow at University of California, San Francisco.

“A psychotherapist can provide guidance, activities, and behavioral interventions,” he says. “Finding apps that take on the role of this coaching can be supremely helpful. For instance, we may prescribe meditation. Traditionally, this would come in the form of in-person classes, written transcripts, and audio recordings. Apps can provide a portable, interactive way to step through these exercises.”

He recommends looking for apps created by reputable institutions and backed by scientific evidence, cautioning that many aren’t.

“Quite often, the development of these apps doesn’t involve physicians, psychotherapists, or even any research background,” says Chan, who is part of an American Psychiatric Association task force evaluating mobile apps.

Happify is one app to which research scientists and practicing clinicians have contributed to the design. It uses games and exercise to help decrease negativity and build positive thoughts.

Chan recommends the suite of Intellicare apps that are part of a U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded trial. The 14 apps target common causes of depression and anxiety, including sleep problems, inactivity and obsessive thinking. They include:

Worry Knot gives you a guided tool to address specific problems you can’t stop thinking about, as well as tips for coping with issues such as “tangled thinking.”

Slumber Time tracks how well you are sleeping and takes you through a nightly bedtime checklist to clear your mind before going to sleep. You can also use it as alarm clock that wakes you with your choice of music or natural sounds. 

Purple Chill unwinds stress with relaxation and meditation exercises, as well as short recordings that give you tips for mindfulness in your diet, body awareness and more. 

Download the individual apps or the entire suite for free onto Android and Apple devices at the Google Play store or onto your computer.

 


Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

Recent Advance Posts

Doctor and patient in the exam room
What does your primary care provider have to do with managing your psoriatic...
The Patient Navigation Center helps a woman whose PsA went undiagnosed for...
hands holding signs numbers 1 through 5
Psoriatic arthritis is a complicated disease. Learn something new today.
FDA approval stamp
Clinical trial data show drug may help you achieve clear skin.
NPF volunteer at a Team NPF Cycle event
When a new doctor finally took a close look at all of Erin Faulhaber’s symptoms...
Innovations in drug therapy have changed the landscape since these individuals...
Rheumatologists and dermatologists join forces to defeat a common enemy.
For some psoriasis patients, getting the right diagnosis isn’t always so black...
bullhorn
Clinical trial data show drug may help achieve clear skin.