[ Question ]

Making a collection of freely available mental health resources

by FJehn1 min read3rd Mar 20216 comments

11

Self-Care
Frontpage

Keeping your mental health intact is quite important for your long term impact and wellbeing. However, it can be difficult and/or expensive to get professional help. Therefore, I think it would be valuable to have a collection of mental health resources that can be used free of charge and without any hassle upfront. 

To tap in the knowledge of this community I think a crowdsourced solution might work best to find high quality and reliable resources. If you want to contribute:

  • Upvote resources that were already posted and which you think are valuable.
  • Add an answer under this post with a mental health resource that helped you or people you know. This could be for example an app, a blog post or a podcast, but feel free to add other kinds of suggestions as well.

Please limit yourself to one suggestion per answer so the single resources can be upvoted independently. To keep things tidy use the following template for your suggestions:

  • Name: 
  • What is it? 
    • Give a short description of the kind of media and what its general topic is.
  • Why do you like it? 
    • Give a short description of how this resource helped you and why you recommend it
  • Where to start? 
    • Some resources might be quite big (e.g. a podcast), so it is a good idea to point to a starting point (e.g. a single episode).

Looking forward to your suggestions.

New Answer
Ask Related Question
New Comment

6 Answers

  • Name: Replacing Guilt Series
  • What is it? 
    • This is a collection of blog articles by Nate Soares that tackle the problem of using guilt as your main motivator. 
  • Why do you like it? 
    • Motivating yourself can be hard and the default motivator is often guilt and the feeling that you “should” be doing something. These posts try to show that guilt is not a good (and especially not a sustainable) way to motivate yourself and explore more long term approaches to keep your motivation running.  
  • Where to start? 
  • Name: Where Should We Begin Podcast
  • What is it? 
    • relationship therapist Esther Perel anonymously interviews couples and talks them through their problems
  • Why do you like it? 
    • her advice is great and the intimate stories and problems that the couples bring with them are so wide ranging that I feel like I learned a lot
    • plus it's really touching and heart-warming when the couples have small breakthroughs and seem better able to express and enjoy their love for each other
  • Where to start? 
    • the podcast has a listening guide with a couple of suggestions for first episodes
  • Name: List of mental health apps.
  • What is it? 
    • Mental health apps from a systematic review, research papers and pilot studies.
  • Why do you like it? 
    • I have not tried these. But they seem to be promising because of the research behind them.
  • Where to start?

The list of the most promising apps against mental illness according to a systematic review (Miralles et al., 2020):

  • Actissist and UCSF PRIME reduced psychotic symptoms and symptoms of schizophrenia.
  • Virtual Hope Box reduced self-harming and suicidal behaviour.
  • Agoraphobia free reduced symptoms of agoraphobia.
  • Challenger reduced general anxiety and social anxiety.
  • MoodHacker and SuperBetter reduce depression.
  • SuperBetter increased pain management and reduced depression (d= 1.05) (Roepke et al., 2015; Devan et al., 2019; Miralles et al., 2020).
  • PTSD Coach reduced PTSD symptoms (d= .41), depressive symptoms (d= .45) and increased psychosocial functioning (d= .51) (Kuhn et al., 2017).

Some additional apps are listed here:

  • Mindease reduced anxiety. A pilot study showed a 51 % reduction in anxiety (Brietbart, 2018). 
  • Happify increased positive mood with 27 % and well-being with 11 % during a 8 week trial and it had a dose-response relationship (Carpenter et al., 2016; Parks et al., 2018).
  • TeleCoach reduced hazardous alcohol use (d= 1.37) (Berman et al., 2020). 
  • ‘Calm’ and ‘Headspace use mindfulness and guided meditation. Headspace reduced anxiety and depression. It also increased positive affect and well-being (Bostock et al., 2019; Wang et al., 2020).
  • ‘CBTi Coach’ and Moodmission uses CBT principles and techniques (Wang et al., 2020).
  • Additional evidence-based apps against mental illness can be found at the United Kingdom National Health Service: https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/ 
  • There are many systematic reviews, meta-analyses and other research that look at more apps. It would be good to do an overview over the evidence and accessability in the field of mental health apps.

References

Berman, A. H., Molander, O., Tahir, M., Törnblom, P., Gajecki, M., Sinadinovic, K., & Andersson, C. (2020). Reducing Risky Alcohol Use via Smartphone App Skills Training Among Adult Internet Help-Seekers: A Randomized Pilot Trial. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11.

Bostock, S., Crosswell, A. D., Prather, A. A., & Steptoe, A. (2019). Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being. Journal of occupational health psychology, 24(1), 127.

Brietbart. (2018). Mind Ease: a promising new mental health intervention. https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/kuZz3aB6Z7tciEhG5/mind-ease-a-promising-new-mental-health-intervention 

Carpenter, J., Crutchley, P., Zilca, R. D., Schwartz, H. A., Smith, L. K., Cobb, A. M., & Parks, A. C. (2016). Seeing the “big” picture: big data methods for exploring relationships between usage, language, and outcome in internet intervention data. Journal of medical Internet research, 18(8), e241.

Devan, H., Farmery, D., Peebles, L., & Grainger, R. (2019). Evaluation of self-management support functions in apps for people with persistent pain: systematic review. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 7(2), e13080.

Fu, Z., Burger, H., Arjadi, R., & Bockting, C. L. (2020). Effectiveness of digital psychological interventions for mental health problems in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry.

Kuhn, E., Kanuri, N., Hoffman, J. E., Garvert, D. W., Ruzek, J. I., & Taylor, C. B. (2017). A randomized controlled trial of a smartphone app for posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 85(3), 267–273. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000163

Miralles, I., Granell, C., Díaz-Sanahuja, L., Van Woensel, W., Bretón-López, J., Mira, A., ... & Casteleyn, S. (2020). Smartphone apps for the treatment of mental disorders: systematic review. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 8(4), e14897.

Parks, A. C., Williams, A. L., Tugade, M. M., Hokes, K. E., Honomichl, R. D., & Zilca, R. D. (2018). Testing a scalable web and smartphone based intervention to improve depression, anxiety, and resilience: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Wellbeing, 8(2).

Roepke, A. M., Jaffee, S. R., Riffle, O. M., McGonigal, J., Broome, R., & Maxwell, B. (2015). Randomized controlled trial of SuperBetter, a smartphone-based/internet-based self-help tool to reduce depressive symptoms. Games for health journal, 4(3), 235-246.

Wang, L., Fagan, C., & Yu, C. L. (2020). Popular mental health apps (MH apps) as a complement to telepsychotherapy: Guidelines for consideration. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 30(2), 265.

  • Name: The Happiness Lab 
  • What is it? 
    • The Happiness Lab is a podcast by Dr. Laurie Santos which discusses new scientific insights about happiness research.
  • Why do you like it? 
    • I enjoy listening to this podcast because it is basically a self-help guide, but deeply grounded in scientific research. Also, it has a cheerful tone to it, which makes me more likely to tune in. I think it has helped me to build a more optimistic view on life.
  • Where to start? 
    • In march 2020 The Happiness Lab started a mini series  to help with the mental problems that arose due to the global pandemic. For example, loneliness or struggling to keep relationships intact. As Coronavirus is still around those episodes might be a good starting point, but even after the pandemic they can provide valuable tips on how to cope with more extreme situations.
  • Name: Woebot
  • What is it? 
    • Woebot is a chatbot that does cognitive behavioural therapy with you. 
  • Why do you like it? 
    • While a chatbot is obviously not the same as having a therapist, it is easily available and for some cognitive behavioural therapy exercises you basically only need someone to talk you through it. Woebot is more on the cute side, which I guess could be annoying for some people, but I think it sets a friendly atmosphere. It also helps you to track your mood and has a vast collection of exercises to help with sleep problems, stress and other mental health problems. 
  • Where to start?  
    • You can just download the app (e.g. via Google Play) and start talking to it immediately.