Can Online Apps Help Your Mental Health?
This article was written by the Peer Health Educators’ Mental Fitness team—Cassidy Fu, Riley Mayhew, Mckenna Perlin, Kate Hunker, and Daniel Moshe.
Did you know that 1 in 4 (25%) of Canadians aged 18 or older have symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD? Although it may seem like experiencing negative mental health symptoms is rare, it’s actually incredibly common across Canadians of all ages. What’s more? These numbers have increased in the pandemic, due to prolonged isolation, financial disparities and feelings of loneliness and uncertainty caused by COVID-19. In response to Canada’s uptick in mental health woes, the Canadian government has recently unveiled the PocketWell app, which acts as an accessible hub of mental health resources for Canadians. Read below to discover some of the pros and cons of the PocketWell app.
PocketWell’s main benefit is that it offers its users (like you!) quick and easy access to mental health resources. The app offers a mental health assessment tool, lists of external mental health resources (e.g., crisis and counselling numbers), and will be releasing a daily mood tracker in the future. Surveys about the app indicate that many users believe they will use the service frequently and benefit specifically from easy access to mental health tracking on their phones. This indicates that PocketWell may make mental health resources more accessible and useful for many Canadians.
With all these potential benefits in mind, it’s important to take a critical eye too! PocketWell will not single-handedly improve the mental health of Canadians. In fact, the development of thousands of mental health apps and the growing quantity of mobile health, or mHealth material, has far outpaced the speed of comprehensive research to demonstrate their effectiveness. Overall, although PocketWell may be able to provide you with a handy mental health resource or two, it’s important to remember that talking to a health professional, or seeking other avenues of support is important as well.
If you have time, be sure to check out the PocketWell app as well as other apps or virtual resources that can help improve your mental health. At Queen’s, there is the Therapy Assistance Online (self-help resources), Empower Me (a counselling service that can be accessed virtually) and many more which you can see here: https://www.queensu.ca/studentwellness/get-help-now.