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

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

While sitting in mass at the University of Notre Dame, White was aghast by the spandex attire the young women in front of her were sporting.

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Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

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