Mental Health Apps: What do young people think?

Mental Health apps are increasingly being used by young people as an extra form of support.

For young people struggling with mental health there’s a new form of support becoming widely available. Not a therapist in a doctors office or a traditional service, this type of support comes from their smart phone and can be reached anywhere there is an internet connection.

2018 has seen an increase in the number of apps available aimed at young people to help support their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

A rise in young people experiencing ill mental health along with severe cuts to services which would traditionally support them has lead to in increase in the number of apps available as well as the number of those downloading and using them. But are they a suitable substitute for traditional support? Which apps should young people use? Where can they find them?

Chilypep spoke to the young people we work with in Barnsley, aged between 15 and 19, to find out what young people really think about this digital support network and found mixed feelings and opinions.

“I think it’s good thatyoung people are turning to self-help methods. It’s easier to access support and self-help on phones and apps especially out of hours.” Said one young person.

Another young person commented “It’s good that we can get some help at anytime through the use of apps but it’s bad that we can’t get that help in person.”

When asked whether the young people found the apps personally helpful one young person said: “Sometimes but not when I’m at crisis point, you need to be calm enough to be rational and able to concentrate to use and understand the apps.” Another said: “I use them as they can give good advice but aren’t always helpful.”

The young people said that some of the most commonly used apps they has personal experience with were Alive, Safety Plan, WYSA, and Calm Harm.

Chilypep have been working with young people in Barnsley with funding from Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group to develop resources for young people experiencing ill mental health.

This includes the groundbreaking Youth Mental Health First Aid Kit which launched in October 2017 and the Open Up Barnsley Directory or mental health services. This includes a guide to young people mental health friendly apps and websites. You can find the Open Up Barnsley Directory here.

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