Phone Apps Help Manage, Treat Depression and Anxiety

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Depression and anxiety affect millions of Americans many of whom don’t have access to therapy or don’t seek treatment.

Because of this, a team of psychologists at Northwestern Medicine along with the National Institute of Mental Health launched Intellicare which are 12 mini apps to help manage and treat depression and anxiety symptoms.

“In that moment when you’re feeling stressed out, you don’t know what’s going to happen next, but you might go to a bad place. That’s a great time that we want you to pick up our apps look at them use them and help yourself get through that situation,” said Billy Carruthers, a patient benefiting from the apps.

Apps like “thought challenger,” “worry knot,” “slumber time,” and “me locate” have been designed to give people the tools they would normally get from a psychologist.

It can help those who have trouble sleeping or just help you get through a bad day.

“I know especially over the winter I had a really difficult time getting out and doing things that made me feel good, and this app really helped me brainstorm for things that make me feel good and motivated me to go out and complete those activities,” said Sr. Katheryn Noth, a Clinical Psychologist at Northwestern Medicine.

Dr. Noth says the apps can teach you new ways to handle hard moments in advance or you can use it in the minutes leading up to a challenging situation.

“You would think about that meeting, go in there and type in the thoughts you’re having and it would walk you through how accurate is this thought is it possible that maybe I’m blowing this out of proportion and how could I think about this in a different way that would be more helpful and get me ready for that meeting instead of tearing me down before I get in there,” Dr. Noth said.

Carruthers said it’s the convenience of having help at the touch of a button that makes him breathe a little easier.

“Something like anxiety or depression can strike inopportune moments, and having an app that supports you supports us and allows us to make improvements in our mood,” he said.

The apps are free and available on Android phones only at this point.

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