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8 mental health tools that fit in your pocket and won't break the bank

Technology has made is easier to talk, shop, bank ... just about everything. What about getting care?

8 mental health tools that fit in your pocket and won't break the bank

Mental health stigma is an unfortunate thing. It makes it so much harder to take care of yourself when you're having a moment (or a long moment) of struggle because you feel like you have to hide.

Problem: I just need some help chilling out.



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There's a ton of research supporting how meditation is super good for your mind and body. Have you caught the mindfulness bug but you're not sure where to start? There are some great apps that can help you get started with just a few minutes a day. Some options are completely free, some are have a one-time fee, some have both free and paid features.

Problem: I want to be more aware of how I'm feeling.


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It's easy to go about our day just riding the emotional wave. But having more awareness of our feelings and the contexts in which we feel them makes it so much easier for us to live happier healthier lives. Downloading a mood-tracking app to the little gadget in your back pocket can make that so much easier. The best mood-tracking apps remind you to take note of your moods as well as what is affecting them.

Problem: I need some help managing my moods.

If you're dealing with a specific issue like anxiety (like I do), a specialized app like Pacifica might be really be helpful. Its features were developed with cognitive behavioral therapy in mind so it's very good at helping me reframe my thoughts when I'm feeling negative emotions.

Problem: I want a therapist, but I can't do the appointments.

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Many therapists offer sessions over webcam (they usually cost the same as in-person), but you may still find it unaffordable or difficult to block off the necessary time. Companies like BetterHelp and Talkspace are making therapy easier and cheaper to get by giving you in a private, secure chat room with your therapist. You pay a subscription fee to have unlimited access to your chatroom via your computer, tablet, or phone.

Problem: I want a live therapist, but I don't even know where to start.

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Even if you're sure that the thing you need is some one-on-one face time, trying to find a provider can seem intimidating. Psychology Today's Find a Therapist tool to the rescue! You can search by your location then refine by whatever facets are important to you including insurance, specialty, and treatment orientation. A list of pictures and bios will tell you everything you want to know about the providers you have left. It's completely free. You don't have to sign up for anything.

As we all work to get rid of stigma, it's good to know there are some great solutions that let anyone, anywhere get care.

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

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Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

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The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

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