Improve your mood: how technology is helping Black Americans address mental health

By Tashi McQueen, AFRO Political Writer,
America Corps Member Report,
[email protected]

America’s health care system is unaffordable for the average uninsured American these days. Additional health services that help prevent or manage mental health may become more accessible.

Mental health can be debilitating if left untreated for a long time, and quick access to services is essential for those suffering.

Mental health tracking phone apps like Blackfullness, Bloom: CBT Therapy & Journal, Exhale – BIWOC Well-Being and the Mood Notes – Mood Tracker can help people face and manage mental health challenges like depression, anxiety and body dysmorphia at no cost.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic method used to treat a variety of mental disorders. According to the American Psychology Association’s (APA), CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change behavioral patterns by confronting a person’s fears instead of avoiding them. Role-playing to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others is used along with instructions on how to calm one’s mind and body.

The main goal of CBT is to empower the patient to be their own therapist, therefore, interventions include tracking the results of coping skills that are used outside of the session as “homework.”

The Blackfullness app was created by Sonia Russell and David Walker for Black people who want to take control of their mental health. (Photo by Blackfullness on Facebook)

The darkness

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The Blackfullness app is designed to promote overall well-being and reduce stress, especially in the minds of black people.

A virtual space created by Sonia Russell and David Walker, Blackfullness focuses on the physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of Black people in relation to their overall mental health. They believe that Black people are unique and should have resources that reflect that.

Minorities make up less than 10 percent of the population enrolled in clinical trials, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. This means that health care rarely takes into account the experiences of Black people, making health care less effective for people of color.

The app provides guidance for meditation, prayer, music, and physical activity. It’s an all-in-one service compared to individual sleep tracking and motivational quote apps, which can be difficult to manage.

The Blackfullness app has a rating of 4.9 stars. The app is free to download and use. Requires iOS 10.0 or later for Apple users.

Bloom: CBT therapy and journal

Bloom app: CBT Therapy and journal aims to help people get better through self-directed CBT therapy.

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According to CEO and founder Leon Mueller, Bloom has been around for three years and has touched 2.5 million people.

Over 2.5 million people have improved their mental health by downloading the app Bloom: CBT Therapy and Journal, founded by Leon Mueller. Users learn cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques through a pre-recorded video. (Photo by Bloom: CBT on Facebook)

“While the price of a single session with a 1-1 therapist can range from $75 to $400, Bloom’s annual price is a fraction of the cost,” Mueller told AFRO. “Each session is 5 to 15 minutes and teaches you to do your own therapy.”

Users learn and practice techniques in CBT through pre-recorded video sessions.

Mueller said Bloom is a 10-year project with many plans for expansion and collaboration.

The app has a rating of 4.8 stars on Apple’s software platform. Available on all Apple products with iOS 14.0 or later.

Exhale: BIWOC Well-being

Exhale is an emotional health app for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a woman of color (BIWOC).

Exhale: BIWOC Well-Being is an app focused on improving the mental health of people who identify as Black, Indigenous, or women of color. The platform uses visualization commands, breathing exercises, coaching and daily affirmations to help improve mental health. (Photo by Exhale: BIWOC Well-Being on Google Play)

It is made to be an accessible shelter again by BIWOC. It aims to improve self-care, which is especially important in the fast-growing digital and post-pandemic world.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expresses the importance of managing mental health more when demands exceed resources and capacity to deal with them. They focus on creating inner strength by encouraging investment in the self with energy and love.

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Features include: Guided Meditation related to BIWOC people, visualization instructions, breathing exercises, coaching and daily affirmations.

Exhale is available for Apple iOS devices with 12.0 or later and Android phones. It’s free to download and use. It has an average of 4.8 stars in the Apple store.

Mood Notes: Mood Tracker

One in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. Moodnotes is a CBT-based thought and mood tracking app that supports people on how to change and develop better thought patterns in the moment. Users choose emojis and write notes that reflect their current situation. The paid version of the app includes unlimited entries and a “Thought Test” option to help consumers challenge negative thoughts.

Moodnotes: Mood Tracker is the perfect app to help deal with those pesky negative thoughts! CBT-based journaling and emotion tracking is offered by this app. (Photo by Moodnotes: Mood Tracker on Facebook)

Moodnotes has an average of 4.7 stars in the Apple App Store. The app is available for Apple users with iOS 13.0 or later.

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