We know that there is a rise in young people using apps to stay connected, particularly those between the ages of 12-18. Here at HOPELINEUK, we hear from callers who tell us that they like to have information at their fingertips that is accessible from anywhere at any time, anonymously. Often they like being able to receive instant support, distraction and relaxation techniques and even counselling services at the touch of a button, with all of their information in one place.
As well as apps for social media, there are apps appearing for pretty much everything from puzzles to shopping, bus timetables to star gazing and everything in between. The HOPELINEUK team took a look at some apps that we have found useful when we have been supporting young people who are experiencing thoughts of suicide and some that we have used ourselves.
So, while some young people are using apps to keep up with the latest trends, for shopping or to keep up with the news, some are using them to stay safe from suicide and support their mental health and wellbeing.
The Suicide Prevention Advisers at HOPELINEUK have heard a lot of positive feedback from callers about various apps so we’ve had a look at some of the apps that stand out in terms of suicide prevention.
One of those is the Stay Alive app which is packed full of features. Our callers tell us that they use it to access a mini safety plan, helpful resources, phone numbers, breathing techniques and strategies for staying safe from suicide.
Calm Harm is another app that some of our callers have given us positive feedback about. The app was developed by a Clinical Psychologist and is designed to help people to resist or manage the urge to self-harm. As with lots of apps, it is password protected making sure that all information can be kept private. It can help you to express feelings in a different way and provides safe alternatives to self-injury.
Mood Panda is an interactive mood diary. It enables users to update and track their moods, helping young people to understand what’s happening and what has an effect on their mood. It even has a feature to print out personal weekly and monthly mood history for use in therapy sessions or for self-care.
MoodGYM is an interactive program to help young people with low mood. Based on cognitive behaviour and interpersonal therapy, it consists of five modules which help to explore why you feel the way you do. The app helps you to recognise what makes you upset and helps you to change the way you think. It also features interpersonal and assertiveness training skills.
A couple of the apps that some of our Suicide Prevention Advisers have used and would recommend include:
Pacifica: Described as being more than a meditation app, Pacifica receives rave reviews and it also gets a massive thumbs up from one of our Suicide Prevention Advisers too! What our SPA loves about it is that each time you open the app, it asks you how you are feeling and then gives you a series of prompts based on this, including taking control, building confidence and mindfulness. Our SPA really loves that it is quite high guidance so instead of just suggesting you do a particular task, Pacifica guides you through it with clear prompts. Bear in mind that, while most of the content is free, there are some parts of it that you have to pay to unlock. We think it is still totally usable without paying.
Headspace was a great introduction to mindfulness and meditation for another one of our SPA’s – it is beautifully presented and offers short mediations which can be done with guidance. This is important as, for many, meditation is a completely new activity. With the app the meditations can be done anywhere. Some of the shorter meditations are brilliant because it means that you can take some time out for self-care, even on the busiest of days. The gentle guidance means that focusing is easy with the prompts. The new ‘Sleepcasts’ make for a more restful sleep and calmer feelings during the day.
That was just a few of the apps available – with lots of health and wellbeing apps around, we are sure that with a quick search you can find an app that is best suited to you.