Accessing a therapist can be as simple as pulling out your phone.
Since a quarter of Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness and admit to seeking professional help, there are several smartphone applications that can help the coping process.
Whether you’re looking for something to boost your mood or a serious guide for an emotional condition, there are a variety of apps that serve as “surrogate therapists.”
While counselors advise against solely using technology over professional one-on-one care, they do believe that the apps can be a supplemental tool.
"You can definitely utilize and capitalize on the smartphone technology to create tools that people have with them all the time," said Kristen Mulcahy, a psychologist in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Mulcahy developed a free app catering to those suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder equipped with comprehensive tools for children and adults. The app, available on the iPad and iPhone helps reduce the anxiety experienced when they feel repetitive behaviors coming on. For example, a patient can use the tool to measure how long they can go without checking a door lock repeatedly when leaving the house. If they give in during the time allotted, they have to hit the “Just Gave In” button.
The app also emails charts of a patient’s progress to their therapist.
"It holds (patients) a lot more accountable, because they know I'm going to be able to see everything they are or aren't doing," Mulcachy said. “The price tag is steep at $79.99, but it may help patients cut back on their more expensive in-person sessions a lot faster.”
Another app developed by University of Texas Medical School psychiatrist Dr. Rakesh Jain helps monitor fluctuating moods. The app known as MoodyMe allows users to take photos depicting a mood such as “manic”, “excellent” and “depressed” while tagging them with a list of relevant words describing the event or action that triggered their mood. Users can also share their photos with friends, list the type of medication they are taking, and use the “Ask a Doctor” feature for advice on a particular condition or disorder. The app comes with graphs illustrating mood patterns.
Since some studies have linked depression to body weight, Dr. Jain recommends that his patients use the BMI by Nutrisystem app to watch their weight. He also advises that they use the LiveHappy app which offers activities that can boost positive thinking including the “Best Possible Self,” the “Gratitude Journal,” and the “Replay Happy Days” activity.
"It is extremely scientifically based and (an) unusually powerful app," Dr. Jain said.
The smartphone market provides apps that help detect disorders such as “depressioncheck” and apps that connect people living with disorders such as “Bipolar Disorder Connect.”
The National Center for Telehealth and Technology, a division of the U.S. Department of Defense has also developed a range of mental illness applications that offer aid to veterans and military members. Apps such as PTSD Coach and Tactical Breather were created in partnership with the VA’s National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to offer information about the condition, as well as tips on anger management and relaxation exercises.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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