Improve Mental Health with Your Smartphone
A suite of smartphone apps—called IntelliCare—from Northwestern University work together to fight common causes of depression and anxiety such as sleep problems, social isolation, lack of activity, and obsessive thinking. The apps, which are available from Google Play Store, have been developed as part of a nationwide study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A recent study showed the apps reduce depression and anxiety by 50 percent—results that are comparable to psychotherapy and antidepressants. Users can access the apps up to four times per day to reduce stress, boost confidence, eliminate worry, devise strategies to improve sleep, and more.
In this study, participants (105 enrolled, 96 of whom completed the study) had access to the 13 IntelliCare apps and received eight weeks of coaching for the use of the program. Coaching included an initial phone call plus two or more text messages per week over the course of the study. While most mental health apps offer a single strategy improve symptoms or are difficult to navigate due to too many features, IntelliCare recommends new apps each week to provide new opportunities to learn coping skills and prevent boredom among users.
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