May marks Green Ribbon month, the national campaign that encourages us to talk to each other about our mental health and to challenge the stigma the still remains around depression and a whole host of psychological issues.
So as the month draws to a close we decided to have a look at a couple of apps that might come in useful if you’re feeling a little bit stressed or need some time to think things through. However if you are in distress please seek the support of a medical practitioner. Details of the HSE’s information website and the Samaritan’s free phone number are available below.
You’ve probably heard about Headspace, it was made famous by Harry Potter actress Emma Watson in 2013 and it’s since gone on to gain over five million followers.
Basically Headspace is a guided meditation app. To start with it offers a ten day programme of ten minute sessions, for free. After that you can subscribe and if you like, focus on particular areas you’d like to improve on. It aims to promote a more mindful way of living, in bite size chunks, for people too busy to take time out. It will also give you free bonus gifts if you complete seven straight days of meditation and sends you reminder emails if you haven’t made use of the service in a while.
It’s a good app and well designed, and even if you haven’t tried it out yet you’ve probably heard about it given how successful it’s been, anyone I’ve spoken to says it’s popular for good reason.
There’s nothing more Irish than sitting down to solve the World’s problems over a cup of tea. Well 7 Cups aims to take the tradition one step further.
It works by connecting users to a registered listener for a chat. The service has provided training for all of its listeners. It says those who join have experience of feeling in distress or in need of support and want to give something back. It aims to provide a support network to those who might not be ready to discuss their problems with family and friends. The course is designed by Pyschologist Glen Moriarty. However please note this does not replace direct treatment by a trained medical practitioner.
And then there’s the Calm App. Calm reminds me of those “soothing sounds” cds and tapes that were popular in the 90’s. Yes they were a bit kitsch, but you have to admit you did get a better night’s sleep after using them. This app like Headspace is another guided meditation programme. It aims to bring you “clarity and peace of mind”. The idea is to help you fit in moments of quiet relaxation into your daily routine. It starts off with a simple breathing exercise and then moves onto areas that you’d like to focus on. As I said this one is very similar to Headspace, so I think it’s down to personal preference. I quite like this app, it’s very simple to use and doesn’t immediately require you to create an account, which in my opinion can be off-putting.
These are just some of the apps aimed at the growing number of people who want to take better care of their mental health. There are dozens more out there so it’s about finding which one suits you. Calm and Headspace are my favourites, I particularly like how they but work with short segments of time, for some reason it makes it less daunting.
If you’d like more information about the Green Ribbon campaign go to www.greenribbon.ie. For support services available offline check out www.yourmentalhealth.ie or call the Samaritans for free on 116 123.