By Tashi McQueen, AFRO political writer,
Report for America Corps member,
The US healthcare system today is unaffordable for the average uninsured American. Additional health services that help prevent or manage mental health may be even further out of reach.
Mental health can be debilitating if left unattended for too long, and more immediate access to resources is imperative for those who suffer.
Mental health tracking phone apps like Blackfullness, Bloom: CBT Therapy & Journal, Exhale – BIWOC Well-Being, and the Mood Notes – Mood Tracker can help people with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia at little to no cost address and manage.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic approach used to treat a variety of mental health conditions. According to the American Psychology Association (APA), CBT treatment usually involves attempts to change behavior patterns by facing a person’s fears rather than avoiding them. Role play in preparation for potentially problematic interactions with others is used, along with instructions on how to calm the mind and relax the body.
The ultimate goal of CBT is to empower the patient to be their own therapist. Therefore, interventions include tracking the results of coping skills that are used as “homework” outside of the session.
The Blackfullness app is designed to encourage overall wellness and reduce stress, especially for the minds of black people.
Blackfullness, a virtual space created by Sonia Russell and David Walker, focuses on the physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of Black people in relation to their overall mental health. They believe black people are unique and should have resources that replicate that.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, minorities make up less than 10 percent of people enrolled in clinical trials. This means that health care rarely takes into account the black experience, making health care less effective for people of color.
The app offers meditation guidance, prayer, music and physical activity. It is an all-in-one service compared to individual sleep tracking apps and inspirational quote apps, which can get cumbersome to manage.
The Blackfullness app has a 4.9 star rating. The app is free to download and use. It requires iOS 10.0 or later for Apple users.
Bloom: CBT Therapy and Journal
The Bloom: CBT Therapy and Journal app aims to help people improve themselves through CBT self-guided therapy.
According to CEO and co-founder Leon Mueller, Bloom has been around for three years and has touched 2.5 million people.
“While the price of one session with a 1-1 therapist can range from $75 to $400, Bloom’s year-round price is a fraction of the cost,” Mueller told AFRO. “All sessions last 5 to 15 minutes and teach you to do therapy yourself.”
Users learn and practice CBT techniques through pre-recorded interactive video sessions.
Mueller said Bloom is a 10-year mission with many plans to expand and collaborate.
The app has a 4.8 star rating on Apple’s software platform. It is available on all Apple products running iOS 14.0 or later.
Exhale: BIWOC Wellbeing
Exhale is an emotional well-being app for individuals who identify as black, native, or as a woman of color (BIWOC).
It was created to be an accessible retreat for and by BIWOC. It aims to improve self-care, which is extremely important in the fast-growing digital and post-pandemic world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expresses the importance of significantly managing mental health when demands exceed resources and ability to cope. They focus on creating inner strength by encouraging investment in yourself with energy and love.
Features include: guided meditation relevant to BIWOC individuals, visualization prompts, breathing exercises, coaching, and daily affirmations.
Exhale is available on Apple iOS devices running 12.0 or later and on Android phones. It is free to download and use. It has a rating of 4.8 stars on the Apple Store.
Mood Notes: Mood Tracker
One in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. Mood notes is a CBT-based diary and mood tracking app that supports people to change and develop better thinking patterns in the moment. Users select emojis and make notes that reflect their current mood. The paid version of the app offers unlimited inputs and a “Check a Thought” option to help buyers challenge negative thoughts.
Moodnotes has a 4.7 star rating in the Apple App Store. The app is available for Apple users with iOS 13.0 or later.
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