The past year or so has been tough for everyone. As a student, you may have especially felt the impact of the ongoing change caused by coronavirus. So much change, that our team’s prediction that demand for student wellbeing support was going to continue into 2021 has certainly been true.
We’ve been working with NUS and Totum to provide support for students’ minds, bodies and goals. Looking after your mental health is incredibly important. We should also add that you don’t need to be at ‘crisis point’ in order to take control of it. It should be a part of your everyday self-care, just like having a bath, or taking time to play your favourite games.
We know that nearly all students have phones and laptops, so we thought it was a good idea to point you in the direction of some apps that can help you take charge of your wellbeing - so you can be your best, most confident self.
Best mental health apps
Instagram is great for when you’re feeling motivated. TikTok is a good resource to give you a laugh and cheer you up. But too much time on any social media app isn’t good for anyone. They can even lead to worsening anxiety and depression if used too much. This is why it’s important to counter-balance time spent on social media with time dedicated to maintaining and improving your mental health. Here are a handful of mental health-focused apps that can help you prioritise your wellbeing.
Mindbox is the UK’s first 24 hour instant access online therapy centre (co-Founded by Anna Richardson!). There are different subscription options, but if you have a Totum card, you’ll get completely free access to mental health support from certified specialists. Its aim is to help students like you manage and overcome stress, anxiety, performance nerves, panic attacks and more.
Headspace is a meditation app where you can pick an area of your life you’d like to work on (like sleeping, or anxiety), and you’ll have access to lots of different guided-meditation sessions to help. You have to pay to use Headspace, but you can get a free trial to see if you like it. As a student, your subscription will be discounted from $49.99 per year, to just $9.99*. Or if you have a Spotify Premium account, you’ll get access to Headspace for free.
*Correct at time of writing
Calm is very similar to Headspace in that it focuses on meditation and sleep to lower stress and reduce anxiety. You’ll be able to try Calm for free, use a limited free version, or choose the subscription version to get full access.
• Aura Health
Aura Health focuses on mindfulness meditations, stories and life coaching to help users focus on sleep and their ‘emotional health’. You can grab a free trial before paying for the subscription to see how you find it.
Moodfit is a sleep and lifestyle app which claims to be “Fitness for Your Mental Health”. Its primary purpose is helping users track, learn and increase awareness of key parts of their lifestyle to help them understand how their mood is being affected. It’s subscription-based but you can have a generous 30-day free trial to make sure it’s for you.
Sanvello is an app that provides support to help improve your mental health. It focuses around self-care, peer support, coaching and therapy. You can download the app for free, but you’ll need the premium version to make use of its complete suite of tools.
Happify is an app for stress and worry. This one’s a little different as it uses games and activities to help you overcome stress, challenges and negative thoughts. There is both a free and ‘plus’ (paid for) version depending on which features you’d like to access.
Shine app prides itself on being ‘your daily mental health check in’. It works with you to develop a daily self-care routine utilising meditation. Aside from the free trial, you’ll need to purchase a subscription in order to use it.
notOK is a free app with a free digital panic button. It’s dedicated to getting you help if you’re feeling vulnerable. It notifies your trusted contacts and gets you support ASAP. It’ll try to help you with your breathing whilst you wait for help and also puts you in contact with other crisis text lines if your contacts aren’t available.
• Mood Tools
Mood Tools is an app that uses six different tools to focus on helping users lift their mood if they’re feeling sad, or dealing with anxiety or depression. The app is free to download.
NHS mental health apps
Did you know that the NHS recommends a selection of different mental health apps which are mostly free and have been tested by the NHS themselves?
Some apps include support for self-harm, managing emotions, assist with breathing and relaxation, anxiety, stress, depression and more.
Free mental health apps
Here are a list of some of the free mental health apps as recommended by the NHS. Head here for a full list
• Student Health App – Support with reducing worries, feeling more confident and getting health information as a student
• BlueIce – Help with managing emotions and reducing urge to self-harm
• Catch It – Managing negative thoughts and looking at things differently
• Chill Panda* - Support with breathing techniques for relaxation and worrying
• Cove* – Reflecting emotions by creating music
• distrACT – Information and advice for self-harm or suicidal thoughts
• MeeTwo – A forum for teenagers to discuss issues they’re dealing with
• My Possible Self – Help with managing fear, anxiety, stress and unhelpful thinking
• Stress & Anxiety Companion – Teaching breathing exercises and using music and games to calm your mind
• Thrive – tracking your mood and teaching stress and anxiety control via games
• WorryTree – A place to record and manage your worries using specific techniques
*Currently being tested by the NHS
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