Leading e-mental health organisation ReachOut Australia has launched two new apps to help young Australians reduce anxiety and stress through their smartphones.
ReachOut WorryTime and ReachOut Breathe are free apps that enable young people to use familiar technologies to independently manage anxiety and stress.
The new mobile apps are part of a growing suite of online evidence-based tools and information developed by ReachOut Australia, which launched as the world’s first online mental health service more than 15 years ago and is now accessed by millions of people each year.
In Australia, one in six people aged 16–24 years are currently experiencing an anxiety condition.1 This means that affected young people are constantly worrying, unable to relax, and have trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating on things like work and study.
Jono Nicholas, CEO of ReachOut Australia, said, “Young people today are more connected and digitally savvy than ever before, with technology vital to their everyday lives.
“Digital self-help tools like these apps are simple, practical solutions that can be taken anywhere to help young people understand what’s worrying them, reducing symptoms of anxiety and making it easier to manage.”
ReachOut Breathe is one of the world’s first wellbeing apps specifically designed for Apple Watch, and is also available for iPhone. Using simple visuals, the app helps young people reduce the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety by slowing down their heart rate to increase feelings of calmness in the body. The iPhone version also uses biofeedback to measure heart rate so that users can track changes in real-time.
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Australia’s leading child and adolescent psychologist and Managing Director of the Young and Well CRC, said, “Shallow and rapid breathing is a typical part of the stress response, and hyperventilation can be very distressing for young people with anxiety and stress. This fantastic app encourages young people to use controlled breathing to promote relaxation and reduce the effects of stress.
“It has been clinically proven that this type of abdominal breathing helps control the nervous system and encourages the body to relax, bringing about a range of health benefits.”
ReachOut WorryTime, which is available for iPhone and Android mobile devices, helps users control anxiety by scheduling worry so that it is confined to a specific time each day. Learning to capture and then postpone worry makes it less intrusive and can bring about a greater sense of control.
Bruce Campbell, Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Centre for Clinical Interventions said,
“I regularly use the process of worry postponement to help people experiencing anxiety.
One of the trends I’ve observed, especially among young people, is the preference to record worries on a phone rather than in a notebook.
“It’s great that ReachOut has harnessed this knowledge base and turned a proven anxiety treatment into an easy-to-use mobile app for young people,” Mr Campbell said.
ReachOut Breathe for iPhone and Apple Watch is now available and can be downloaded directly from the Apple App Store.
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About ReachOut Australia
ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation, providing practical support to help young people get through anything from everyday issues to tough times.
Since 1998, ReachOut has worked alongside young people to deliver online tools that address youth mental health and reduce youth suicide. Available anytime and pretty much anywhere, ReachOut receives more than 1.85 million visitors a year.
1. ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008), p 29
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