Top 5 Mental Health Apps To Get You Through The Holiday Season
Insight Timer is a meditation app with over 6,000 available meditations, which can be filtered based on various criteria, e.g. meditation type and topic, popularity, age, etc. While the app can be used without creating an account, users can create an account to connect with friends, track progress and bookmark meditations. In the profile section of the app, users can track their progress, for example the number of consecutive days spent meditating. In the home section, the number of users currently meditating using Insight Timer is shown and users can see activity of friends who they have connected with on the app. Personalized meditation tracks can be created by customizing the background ambient sound, bells, etc. Discussion forums can also be accessed via the app. The app is free but there are in-app purchases; additional background sounds and bells for customized meditations must be purchased.
Available for: iOS 9.0 or later (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch),Android 4.0 (e.g. 2.3)
Developer: Insight Network Inc.
Type of Treatment: Mindfulness
Targeted Conditions: Stress & Anxiety
Target Audience: Not specified
Designed to be used in conjunction with a healthcare professional: No
Languages Available: App in English; meditations available in various languages
Cost: Free with in-app purchases
Get it on: iTunes, Google Play
Practice of mindfulness meditation is associated with decreased stress in an in-person context, as demonstrated by a randomized control trial of 83 students reporting distress (average age 25 years; 16 men and 67 women) (Jain et al., 2007). The effects of a 1-month mindfulness meditation (consisting of four 1.5 hour in-person sessions) versus somatic relaxation training were compared to a control group. Both meditation and relaxation groups experienced significant decreases in distress and increases in positive mood states over time, compared with the control group. The meditation group showed a larger effect size for positive states of mind than relaxation, and demonstrated significant decreases in both distractive and ruminative thoughts/behaviors compared with the control group.
MIndfulness meditation practice also shows promising results in an online context. In an RCT (Cavanagh et al., 2013), 104 students (age range 19-51 years) were randomly allocated to a wait-list control or to a two-week, self-guided, online, mindfulness-based intervention, which included an invitation to daily mindfulness meditation practice. Immediately following the two-week program, the treatment group showed reduced stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression, with small to medium magnitudes of effect in intention to treat analysis. A strong association was found between improvements in mindfulness and reductions in self-reported stress and anxiety/depression.
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