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Services and Apps For Emotional Wellness: COVID-19 and Beyond

Digital technology has much to offer by way of coming alongside the therapeutic process. While not a replacement for psychotherapy, it can certainly complement it.

Services and apps are available for a variety of challenges, including suicide / crisis, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and more. 

Know that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK / 1-800-273-8255) is available 24/7. What’s more, NSPL offers a web-based chat service called Lifeline Chat.

Another resource for those in acute distress is Crisis Text Line. This resources can be accessed from a smartphone or tablet by texting HOME to 741741.

While the aforementioned resources are national in scope, it’s also a good idea to know your local crisis hotlines such as these:

McHenry Count Crisis Line:

800-892-8900

Lake County Crisis:

847-377-8088

Another useful phone number and service is referred to as a “warmline”. Most states offer a warmline that people can call to receive emotional support; to that end, Illinois offers:

Illinois Warmline

866-359-7953.

(Available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

An emotional text support line, Call4Calm,  is also available for Illinois residents during the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic; Text TALK (or HABLAR) to 552020. 

On to apps . . .

Many apps are appropriate for a broad spectrum of emotional distress such as the ones that teach skills such as mindfulness and mediation. One example:

Insight Timer (Free; iOS, Android

Offers more than 40,000 free meditations along with soothing musical tracks to promote calm and happiness, improve sleep as well as reduce anxiety and stress. 

Some apps focus on one skill or technique such as the following: 

Breathe2Relax (Free; iOS, Android)

Teaches a skill called “diaphragmattic breathing” which activates the body’s parasympathetic or calming nervous system. Learn how to counteract the stress response / “flight or flight” response.  

Those who have been in counseling before may have learned skills from models such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Respectively, both of these approaches help people to handle thinking patterns that lead to emotional distresss as well as teach ways of working with unpleasant emotions:

ACT Coach (Free; iOS, Android

Helps you to live with unpleasant thoughts, feelings, memories, images, bodily sensations – – without being mastered by them; provides information, skills, metaphors, and values inventory. 

What’s Up? (Free; iOs, Android

Combines methods from CBT and ACT, including teaching people how to become aware of negative thinking patterns (“cognitive distortions). Also provides useful metaphors, breathing exercises, grounding techniques, inspirational quotes, and more. 

Next, other apps focus on a specific condition: 

PTSD Coach  (Free; iOS, Android)

Offers education about post-traumatic stress as well as relexation strategies in addition to anger management skills. 

MoodTools (Free; iOS, Android

Helps with depression by providing information about depression, a depression assessment, behavioral activiation tips, scheduled activities, coping skills, a daily mood tracker / though diary, a safety plan, and inspiring videos. 

Quit That! (Free; iOS)

Change your relartionship to bad habits and other unhelpful behaviors. 

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