'Mental Health is lonely and accessing help and support is difficult. The idea of having something so close is comforting.'
Today is another review, one that I am quite excited to do. I was given a free time period to check out the app, navigate it and pretty much use it for my own mental health problems to then review back to you. As always, however, this will be completely honest and unbias. I won't go into everything because it would be great for you to explore it yourself but I will talk about my favourite things, some criticisms and the bits I felt were most helpful! As a little background, I have suffered from anxiety and depression since I was 12, so a little over 12 years. I take medication, use all kinds of techniques and have been in therapy.
Thrive is an app that claims to detect, prevent and help manage common mental health conditions, using clinically proven techniques. I do think the prase they use 'detect and prevent' is probably not the right term. Mental health problems are very serious and to think it could be detected/prevented by an app seems like a very strong claim and personally, I do not think possible.
The first thing you have to do is make yourself an account. This was simple to do and was fairly quick. After that was done, everything downloaded I started properly using the app properly. You open up onto a sunny, blue sky island with relaxing music playing. They call this Calm Island. This was actually effective in reducing my current mood which was great, I had started using this when I was in a fairly stressful environment.
After exploring the app myself I got really stuck into everything. I noticed the user interface was very easy and quite fun to use. Not only does it prompt you to interact with certain areas it thinks are important for you but its weirdly cute to me. It was so easy finding my way around and it's very easy to see what everything is with the addition of labels. It was however quite apparent that it lags sometimes. Whether this was my internet connection or the App I cannot say for sure but I rarely have Wireless issues which leads me to believe it was the app. Nothing major but something annoying that may need tweaking. The main areas I notice the lag are videos.
The app allows you to track your mood via a mood meter which I think is essential for any app dedicated to mental health. This is a great way to see how you're doing, periods of increased mood, triggers etc. However, after reporting your mood it goes a little more in depth allowing you to really think about why you are feeling this way.
- First, it asks you to Describe the situation? There are many different answers you can click for example; Your relationship, Your Health, Family, Watching TV but it also allows you to enter our own option which is a nice addition. There are a lot of options so make sure to go through them all.
- It then asks What thoughts made you feel that way? I love this. This makes you think hard about what you are truly thinking for example; I feel supported, I won't cope, It's my fault. This allows you to go deeper into your thoughts rather than just skimming the surface as some mood trackers do.
- Now depending on what your mood is you come to the next question Is there a better way to think about this? Which is again a great option and has statements such as; Not everything is my fault and I have coped in the past. This forces you to think positively about your emotions and what could help you. This is sometimes an important step in combatting growing anxiety which when alone we don't tend to reach.
All of the relaxation techniques such as Meditation and Self-suggestion are Evidence-Based; basically, they are proven techniques that are used that is correct and a true statement from the app itself. In fact, I would say they are very important. However, I did find it hard to use some of the techniques when based on my phone and being talked through it all. I already do most of the techniques and have for some time (especially breathing and deep muscle) and find the added use of a phone quite distracting so for me, it wasn't much help. Never the less for those who have never accessed or cannot access these techniques this is a brilliant way of learning and practice them. I cannot fault the techniques or how they present and walk through them; it is a purely personal preference to not use electrical devices for me.
The overall app is fun to use. Moving around the app, interacting with different areas of it and discovering all it has to offer is more like a game in a way. They do actually have 2 mini-games included in the app which for a mood tracker/mental health app is a bit different. The Zen challenge and the Zen garden. I loved the zen challenge is a lot like other games but it is fun and quite a distraction but for me, I loved the Zen garden. It wasn't overly detailed, it only had a few options but making it perfect became an obsession and by the time I had got my garden looking lovely, I could remember what exactly had stressed me out! I had a lot of fun doing that.
An addition was the ability to randomly message people. You make a random name (mine was Optimistic Graceful Princess) and you add a pre-made template message of encouraging and friendly words and just send it to a random person also on the app. You will never know the person at all, and you de also receive them but if im totally honest this is strange. It did make me feel encouraged but it also made me wonder who these people were.
All in all, I did like this app and I did use it. I have used much worse apps in my time and I do highly rate this. However, as for whether I continue to use it doubtful. After your free trial, you do then have to pay for this app. While worth it for what you get; for someone on a limited budget because of disability I just cannot afford it and honestly I cannot see myself ever paying for an app. I could probably find a free app that tracks my mood etc, however, I doubt it would give me the same level as this app does. This goes a lot deeper than just wondering; Am I sad or happy today. The idea that it is right at your finger tips is the most appealing thing of all. Mental Health is lonely and accessing help and support is difficult. The idea of having something so close is comforting.