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New Mental-Health Apps For Iphones Like a 'therapist in Your Pocket'


iPhone with mobile therapy app

The iPhone will soon host mobile therapy applications.

Credit: Handout, Journal of Medical Internet Research

Researchers are developing iPhone apps designed to alleviate the symptoms of mental illness. The apps enable users to track their moods and experiences, and provide advice on how to change negative affective states or ways to assist mental-healthcare providers with making psychological assessments.

For example, Mobile Therapy, developed by Intel clinical psychologist Margaret Morris, activates a "mood map" on the user's cell phone. Users can chart their energy levels, sleep patterns, activities, and diet, and the application will generate suggestions on ways to manage stress, improve mental health, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another app, Mobile Mood Diary, developed by Trinity College in Dublin researchers Gavin Doherty and Mark Matthews, is geared toward teenagers who suffer from clinical depression and are undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy. And University of Pittsburgh researcher Judy Callan, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University researchers, developed CBT MobilWork, an app designed for adults with severe depression. The app provides steps, such as making the bed, to help patients get through the day.

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