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?

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.

Family

Brace yourselves, folks, because this is almost too friggin' adorable to handle.

A 911 call can be a scary thing, and an emergency call from a dad having chest pains and trouble breathing is no exception. But thankfully, an exchange between that dad's 5-year-old daughter and 911 dispatcher Jason Bonham turned out to be more humor than horror. If you missed hearing the recording that has repeatedly gone viral since 2010, you have to hear it now. It's perfectly timeless.

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Image by Brent Connelly from Pixabay and sixthformpoet / Twitter

Twitter user Matt, who goes by the name @SixthFormPoet, shared a dark love story on Twitter that's been read by nearly 600,000 people. It starts in a graveyard and feels like it could be the premise for a Tim Burton film.

While it's hard to verify whether the story is true, Matt insists that it's real, so we'll believe him.

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Culture

Can the teens do literally anything without being blasted? Apparently not...

Katie Cornetti and Marissa Bordas, two Pittsburgh teens, were involved in a car crash. After taking a sharp turn on a winding road, the car flipped twice, then landed on its side. The girls said later on that they weren't on their phones at the time. The cause of the crash was because the tires on Bordas' car were mounted improperly.

The girls were wearing their seatbelts and were fine, aside from a few bruises. However, they were trapped in the car for about 20 minutes, so to pass the time while they waited for help, they decided to make a TikTok video. They made sure they were totally fine before they started recording.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, and the balance between lefties and righties has been the same for almost 5,000 years. People used to believe that left-handed people were evil or unlucky. The word "sinister" is even derived from the Latin word for "left."

In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

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