An App for Mental Health

I have been thinking about an article I read and blogged on a month ago:  21st Century Psychiatry needs to embrace technology.  Fine. I’d like to proceed. Let’s start with apps.

Apps on smartphones are personal advisors; I can think of no better opportunity to embed psychotherapy into the daily lives of my clients.  Vetting apps, however, is daunting; and the wrong app can do more damage than good.  So, with the caveat in mind that self-help is only so good, that talking to a person is far more deeply engaging, and that depression and anxiety are far from “easy fixes”, I offer you one broadly accepted app that seems to pass the safety and efficacy test:  MoodKit.  (in the App stores for Android, iOS).


MoodKit was put together by CBT trained psychologists and works well for the motivated user.  The homework of CBT is built into a journalling function; with proper, regular use, I think it is as good if not better than a weekly CBT therapy so long as you can find internal commitment (i.e. otherwise you need a therapist). The app is easy to use and has one huge strength: over two hundred “good ideas” of “what to do” to feel better.  Plus, it has a Thought Checker that steps you through an analysis of a bothersome situation.  With repeated analyses of different circumstances, you can build up a library of cognitive responses and reframes to challenge maladaptive thinking.  I tried it myself, for example, and was pleased to discover the many ways I was using cognitive distortions, like catastrophizing, intolerance of uncertainty, fortune telling, overgeneralization, and blaming.   It was a great learning experience.  MoodKit helped me challenge these distortions and find new ways of interpreting my situation.  And I felt better.

Very powerful stuff.

Evidence-based.  (I recently blogged on an article about evidence for computer-based treatments.)

I have no financial interest in this product; I was just totally impressed with it.


One other app (in App stores for IOS, Android) based on Dialectic Behavioral Therapy: