By: Dani Kessel
Maintaining my mental health is a daily activity. I am constantly using workbooks, journaling, staying mindful, taking medicine, and using the techniques I learned in therapy. Some days are easier. Some days are harder. I still have to do regular maintenance otherwise my mental illnesses can take over quickly, leaving me to backslide into unhealthy coping mechanisms. This past month or so, I’ve been neglecting my mental health. It isn’t good. I’ve been taking meds, but that’s about it. In order to get back on track, I turned to the internet for ideas on holding myself accountable. I was recommended the phone app “What’s Up?” and it is honestly incredible! I would recommend this application to anybody trying to maintain their mental health. The “Help Right Now” tab, it’s informational resources, and its personalization options are truly invaluable.
The shining star of “What’s Up?” is the “Help Right Now” tab. Within this portion of the app, users can go through a variety of mindfulness, grounding, distraction, and breathing techniques. There are also uplifting quotes and affirmations which you can favorite and save for harder moments. Not only this, you can add your own quotes and affirmations. I find the “Here and Now” option really helpful for anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and dissociation. Breathing is a tool that helps many folks calm down when upset or angry. Positivity can be the thing keeping you going when you feel like falling apart. The “Help Right Now” tab really does help in the moment you need it.
(Caveat: I DO NOT recommend going on the forums in the “Help Right Now” tab. Forums can be toxic when there isn’t guidance. These forums have little to no interaction, but they can be cruel and mean when they do have responses. Be careful if you choose to go that direction. You don’t want to cause your mental health to get worse because of negativity.)
The “Information” tab provides guidance on depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and self-esteem. It defines them and provides suggestions for healthy coping mechanisms specific to each topic. Being educated in psychology (studied in college and 8 years as a mental health activist), I found the information accurate with strong ties to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy techniques. If you’re struggling with one of the issues in this tab, there is a ton of information that can help you. The self-esteem breakdown and suggestions were personally extremely helpful since I have a horrid self-image. It would like to see this tab expand in future updates to include other mood disorders and anxiety disorders, but there is certainly a lot of helpful information on here as it currently stands.
The personalization options on the app also makes it a strong resource. One of the main tabs is called “Personal” which includes a diary, a record of positive habits, a record of negative habits, and a place to put down notes for later. Every diary entry records the time and date, allows you to rate your emotional state, and gives you a place to write out anything. Tracking habits can help you if you are trying to minimize habitual symptoms of your mental illnesses or increase positive habitual coping mechanisms. Probably the best part about the app, when it comes to personalization, is that you can add a password to protect your internal thoughts, experiences, and habits. You don’t have to worry about anybody snooping around your phone finding vulnerable content.
Overall, the “What’s Up?” application is a huge resource for maintaining mental health. It isn’t and shouldn’t be considered a replacement for therapy; however, the app has a lot to offer people in need of extra support. The only major weakness is the “Coping Strategies” tab. The information in there is underdeveloped. But, even taking into account the slight weakness, the application provides a major service to those with negative or struggling mental health. I know that I will continue to use “What’s Up?” for my mental health. I hope you consider using it as well.