By Paula Bostrom updated on 05/13/2014
The month of May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Millions of Americans wake up to face each day living with a mental health condition—myself included. Two years ago I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I have good days and bad days, but for the most part I am managing my illness.
I have to admit, at times it's more difficult to talk about having bipolar disorder than if I had a physical ailment such as diabetes. The difficulty comes with trying to explain what it's like living with a mental illness.
That's why I appreciate the goal this month of building public recognition about the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness. The more people talk about mental health, the less stigma there is involved. There should be no shame attached to evaluating your mental health and taking action as needed. I encourage you to check out these apps and seek help if you have any mental health issues. After all, the mind is everything.
1. WhatsMyM3 (Free)
A great app to help you do this is WhatsMyM3. In three minutes, the app will assess your risk of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and PTSD. After completing a 27-question checklist, the risk assessment can be printed, faxed, emailed, or securely accessed online by a designated health care professional who can then make a possible diagnosis. Just be aware that while sometimes a diagnosis is discovered easily, other times it's not as black or white.
2. PTSD Coach (Free)
If you are diagnosed with an illness (and even if you're not), another helpful app is PTSD Coach. This app is designed for veterans and military personnel who have, or may have, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and works for civilians as well. In addition to a self-assessment, it provides information about the disorder and how to access professional care and support. Users can also find tools that range from relaxation skills and positive self-talk to anger management that will help manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD.
3. T2 Mood Tracker (Free)
An app that I use often is T2 Mood Tracker. It helps me monitor my moods on a daily basis. My ratings are then displayed on a graph so that over time I can see where my moods have been and if I need to be wary of any patterns, such as feeling depressed. Notes can be recorded as well as any medication changes. I use T2 Mood Tracker to provide my doctor or therapist with information that can help with my treatment.