New mobile app helps young people manage moods

A mobile app designed to help young people manage anxiety levels has been launched in Canada. The Android and iPhone compatible app, called Mindshift, was launched last week to coincide with students’ exam period, CTV News reports.

The app, which is free, aims to help students keep track of their anxiety levels and identify symptoms of anxiety, and contains tips and strategies to hep users “put their negative feelings in perspective”. Strategies featured in the app include breathing exercises and visualisation. According to Anxiety BC, “ Rather than trying to avoid anxiety, you can make an important shift and face it.”

The app was created by Anxiety BC and BC Mental Health & Addiction Services (BCMHAS), organisations both based in the western Canadian province of British Columbia. More than 800 people downloaded the app on its first day of launch,  according to BCMHAS.

Mindshift joins a growing number of ‘happiness apps’ designed to help users track and improve their moods. In 2010, Harvard researchers launched Track Your Happiness, an  app that intermittently notifies users asking them to report how they’re feeling. Last month, the University of Cambridge launched their own mood-tracking app called Emotion Sense which aims to pull together data on emotions and mobile usage.

Optimism about the role that apps can play in promoting emotional wellbeing is far from universal.  Last month, concerns were raised about addictive use of smartphones after research in South Korea linked overuse of smartphones with “psychopathologies in adolescents”.

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