By Kylee Seamans
Most applications (apps) created are made with the goal of providing entertainment to those who download them. While there are many apps created for the enjoyment of users, there are also other apps that can be used to help those who have anxiety and other mental disorders. These apps are becoming more common as attention is brought to these disorders.
Prune is an app developed by Joel McDonald which won numerous awards including Best Upcoming Game from the Eleventh International Mobile Gaming Awards, Apple’s Game of the Year award, and The International Magazine of Events (TIME) Magazine Game of the Year award in 2015. The objective of the game is to “cultivate what matters” and to “cut away the rest.” By trimming back the trees, the user allows the tree to get bigger, new growth taking over the previously chopped branches until the tree reaches sunlight where its branches blossom into a bundle of white and yellow flowers. This reminds the player that there is always room to improve after harsh circumstances. “The calming atmosphere helps with stress and anxiety. It helps to calm me down since the entire [game] is based around cutting out the unimportant stuff and focusing on the better aspect of life,” explained Freshman Jasmine Brannon. To further reassure the players, the game uses a soft soundtrack and a monochromatic, simplistic, and minimalistic Japanese-inspired art style to help sooth the player, making it easy to focus on the task at hand as there are few distractions. The app costs $3.99 in the App Store, a small price to pay for its many benefits and high popularity.
Calm Harm, however, is a free app created with the hopes to help those struggling with self-harm but can be used to help those suffering from anxiety, depression, and other disorders as well. The app provides a multitude of ways to help “ride” the urge to harm oneself. Ranging from comfort to distractions, the app supplies the player with six activity types all fit to perform different tasks. The user would press on which activity type they would prefer to do and the app supplies a list of activities that a person could use in order to help them. For example, after pressing “Comfort,” the app asks whether or not they should set a timer for five or fifteen minutes, the player then presses their preference and is then given a long list of helpful tasks. If overwhelmed by the number of options, the user could press the random button on the bottom and will then be given a random prompt. These prompts range from grounding oneself, which would be helpful during an anxiety or panic attack, to drawing over the place where a person would want to hurt themselves. Every time a user opens an app, it asks for a password, ensuring the privacy of the individual and does not mention what the app is about until the password is correctly put in.
Stem4, the developers of Calm Harm, also created an app called “Clear Fear” which helps an individual manage their anxiety. Clear Fear educates the user on the different types of anxiety and their symptoms and has an “Immediate Help” button for the user to press if their anxiety was becoming unmanageable. The “Safety Net” option allows the user to call a friend or family member from inside the app while the “Gritt Box” holds inspirational quotes as well as a “my positive thoughts” option where the user can add their own personal thoughts to help cheer them up on a future day. By pressing “Clear Your Fear,” the user is asked what they need assistance with and would press the option that best suits them, much like Calm Harm. There, they could quite literally “battle” their negative thoughts by pressing “Combat Negative Thoughts” or organize their worries using “Deal with Worries One Step At A Time.” Both Calm Harm and Clear Fear were created by professionals with the help of some teenagers and is tailored to fit the needs of whoever is in need of help.
Although these apps are created to help lessen the effects of anxiety in an individual, they are still only aids. They are not proper treatments but instead are a guide to help reduce the impacts of anxiety. If a person is suffering from constant anxiety or any feeling of being overwhelmed, they should go speak to a professional. There are counselors on and outside of campus who are there to help guide and get help for any individual suffering from anxiety or depression.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT