Mental Health Maintenance

Words by Keven Amfo

18 June 2020

Amongst the many other concerns brought to the forefront during the current crisis, mental health has deservedly garnered much attention. Isolation, lack of routine, anxiety, and dealing with loss—of income, loved ones, lifestyle—can take a toll on our collective mental health.

Polls have said that 1/3 of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression since having been under lockdown. Standard recommendations include keeping in regular touch with friends and family, implementing mood-boosting activities, making sure to sleep well and trying to get some form of exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Aimee-Louise Carton, a founder of new mental health app KeepAppy, also suggests practising gratitude. ‘Setting yourself small but achievable goals to tackle each day and week can improve low mood,’ she says. ‘Tracking and exploring triggering factors that impact your mood—just as you would with your physical health—is an excellent way to manage your wellbeing. For example, hydration can be a huge factor around low mood, while caffeine can contribute to increased anxiety.’

It’s essential to try to distinguish between low mood and a more pervasive, potentially chemical problem. ‘Individuals should approach a medical professional before exploring any advice on the internet,’ Aimee-Louise says. Regardless, after clarifying the issue internet resources such as KeepAppy can be implemented either as treatment or in support of professional therapy or prescribed medication. ‘KeepAppy focuses on empowering, educating and cultivating a wellness-oriented lifestyle, through ten vitals that are split into four primary mechanisms: Prevention (journaling, goal setting, medical pill reminder, period tracker), Growth (individualised content, gratitude diary, community challenges), Care (geo-specific partnered helplines), Gamification (utilisation of Keepies, animated characters that combine personification and gamification of each user’s wellbeing). Using a data-driven approach, it encourages users to engage with their wellbeing based on theories behind positive psychology.’

Other apps, such as The Breathing App which encourages conscious breathwork, Headspace for meditation or Calm which promotes sleep and lowers stress can all support wellbeing and coax users to be more mindful and involved with their mental health. ‘Any engagement with your wellbeing is a positive step in the right direction,’ Aimee-Louise says. Acknowledging that screen time in and of itself can negatively impact our mental health, especially when interacting with platforms that may damage by making us feel insecure about our looks or life, she says KeepAppy encourages users to use the features of the app offline as well. ‘The tools are positive regardless of where they’re practised,’ she states.

For more information about mental health and referrals, please contact your lifestyle manager.

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