Feeling depressed? Take heart, a novel suite of 13 speedy mini interactive-apps may help you de-stress and lower anxiety and depression, suggests a study.
The apps — called IntelliCare — offer exercises to de-stress, reduce self-criticism and worrying, methods to help your life feel more meaningful, mantras to highlight your strengths, strategies for a good night's sleep and more.
"We designed these apps so they fit easily into people's lives and could be used as simply as apps to find a restaurant or directions," said lead author David Mohr, Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Illinois, US.
In the study, 96 participants robustly used the IntelliCare interactive apps as many as four times daily — or an average of 195 times — for eight weeks. They spent an average of one minute using each app, with longer times for apps with relaxation videos.
The participants reported that they experienced about a 50 per cent decrease in the severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms.
The short-term study-related reductions are comparable to results expected in clinical practice using psychotherapy or with that seen using antidepressant medication, the researchers said.
"Using digital tools for mental health is emerging as an important part of our future. These are designed to help the millions of people who want support but can't get to a therapist's office," Mohr said.
The study will be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.