Are you prone to emotional spending? That means making impulse purchases when you’re experiencing a bout of emotions, such as unhappiness, stress or frustration. Often though, these purchases don’t necessarily mean you want something; you may simply be looking to fill a void, or distract yourself from a pressing issue.
To keep this habit in check, in order to avoid spending needlessly, it starts with caring for your mental health. Consistently check in with yourself with these five free mental health apps.
CARA Unmask: For anonymous counselling support and therapy
CARA is a free-to-use emotional support platform that allows users to have anonymous, secure conversations with its network of counsellors or, for a fee, its therapists. The Singapore-developed app doesn’t collect personal details, so complete privacy is assured.
Apart from trained volunteers who’ll be able to offer simple advice and a fresh perspective, you’ve the option of taking things further by speaking with a therapist.
Each therapist’s area of specialty is listed on the platform, along with in-person and tele-therapy fees, which vary from anywhere between S$150 to S$200 per 60-minute session.
To get the conversation started, you’ll first have to register your personal details. Then you’ll be given a complimentary, two-day window to chat with the therapist and ascertain if the therapist is a suitable fit. From there, you can then secure an appointment and make payment via the platform’s payment portal.
CARA isn’t just about seeking out advice, though. You can also chronicle your thoughts in an online mood journal, which can be published or kept private.
Of course, these (mostly) free features are capped. More features, such as unlimited access to CARA’s network of therapists, and community resources on mental health, are available at S$4.99/month, or S$49/year.
Safe Space: For tele-therapy and in-person therapy
If you’ve been looking for counselling or therapy options without the hassle of having to commit to an in-person chat, Safe Space may just be your answer. The Singapore-bred app focuses on making therapy inclusive and accessible to everyone, and offers tele-therapy support through discreet yet affordable means.
From personal issues to relationships, finances or career-related woes, Safe Space covers the whole spectrum through its portal of counsellors and therapists, and makes automated matches based on your profile.
It’s a three-step process to booking your first session: choose your preferred mode of therapy (whether online vs offline) and a therapist based on their profiles and areas of specialisation, input your personal details, then confirm your timeslot and proceed to payment.
Here’s a price comparison of tele-therapy video call sessions, and face-to-face therapy sessions.
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Youper: For affordable, AI-powered therapy
Does AI therapy actually work? Youper thinks so. The app’s namesake AI therapist, Youper, was developed by a team of doctors, therapists and engineers.
The Youper team claims that 83% of 100,000 users reported a reduction in negative thoughts and moods after a seven-minute conversation with Youper. While we can’t vouch for it, the app’s makers back these claims with research, and over 14,000 ratings on the Apple App Store.
Here’s how it works: you’re guided through a series of questions, followed by therapy exercises based on your responses. Youper also draws from strategies taught in mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help users better address their mental health issues.
The app also offers premium features from around S$61 (US$44.99)/year. Unfortunately, Youper’s only available on the Apple store at present.
LumiHealth: For rewards-based workouts and wellness challenges
Apple’s collaborated with the Singapore’s Health Promotion Board to bring their LumiHealth app to anyone with an Apple Watch. While not strictly a mental health app, this is essentially a personalised health programme that aims to help users to eat and sleep better, stay active, and practise mindfulness.
It also tries to incentivise users in the form of digital vouchers with HPB partners valued at up to S$380. The programme allows you to earn up to 40,000 points over two years, which can then be exchanged for rewards.
Here’s the catch, though: you’ll need to grant Apple access to personal details, as well as your health, daily activities and demographic data. All information is encrypted, so HPB will only be granted access to unidentifiable data, such as activity completion.
To get started, you’ll be prompted to sign up via your SingPass account. Then you’ll be given timed challenges in order to accumulate points, such as closing all three Activity rings on your Apple Watch, or taking a minute to practise slow-breathing.
Moodfit: For mood-tracking tools and charts
Here comes an app that offers a detailed overview of your moods and daily lifestyle habits. Moodfit aims to help users better understand themselves, and includes ten key features.
The first, mood readings, helps you identify patterns you may not be aware of. Second, you can log your sleep cycles and how often you exercise. These two variables, in fact, play a direct role in affecting your mood.
Other notable features include breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation techniques, and figuring out which medications and types of therapy might be best suited for you. The app will help you track your mood fluctuations over time intervals, which you can visualise through a chart.
Ultimately, and like all mental health platforms, Moodfit is not designed to replace advice from a professional. However, it can be helpful to use the app in tandem with counselling or therapy sessions—or simply to give you a clearer idea of what your triggers are.