Tackle COVID Stress with Free Mental Health Apps

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No matter what your situation during the coronavirus pandemic, you're probably stressed as all get-out. You might even be beating yourself up for being so torn up — after all, lots of people clearly have it worse than you do. Of course, stress isn't a contest, and prioritizing your mental health is always worth your time. If you're struggling with day-to-day thoughts and feelings, you might find some worthwhile help on your phone.

Not Twitter or games, much as we love them, but a suite of free apps from Northwestern University, called IntelliCare, available for both iPhone and Android. "They're designed to fit easily into people's lives and to help the millions of people who want support but can't get to a therapist's office," said senior study author David Mohr in a press release. The apps have gone through three clinical trials, which have shown remarkable efficacy, with similar improvement in user levels of anxiety and depression as traditional psychotherapy.

The research and development team advises users to start with an app called The Hub. (All the apps are collected here.) The Hub will help you get a high-level feel for your mental health, and then recommend further apps for you, like the Thought Challenger (spot and change negative thoughts), the Worry Knot (distracts from worries), and Daily Feats (celebrating accomplishments). Mindfulness apps have a good track record when used properly, and while these programs aren't fully a substitute for consulting a mental health professional, they're a big help when you're trying to get things done and your brain isn't cooperating.