Staying connected during COVID-19 Everyone stays connected differently, but in the modern era many more people are relying on apps to help them monitor and manage their mood. We here at Bipolar UK have collated a list of apps that we know of, but we're always accepting submissions! Do you have an app that helps you out? Send us an email to [email protected] and let us know! stay alive An app for those at risk of suicide and those worried about someone. People with serious mental illness (SMI) are at high risk of suicide. StayAlive provides useful information for people with suicidal ideation and their families/friends. You can develop your own suicide prevention plan and it links you to national support services, and local services in locations that have signed up. DHSC has part-funded the app through the 'Beyond Places of Safety' grant scheme – it was selected by a panel of DHSC, NHSE and MoJ staff. An improvement would be to get all local areas to sign-up (Grassroots, the charity behind this were charging around £7k per area). It is currently going through the apps library assessment. Free to use. bnf In recent years, it has become very difficult for people with SMI to remain 'on-the-books' of secondary mental health services. Advice and information about medication can be hard to come by. This app is a fantastic digital version of the British National Formulary, the big book about medication that doctors keep on their desks. It contains information on safe dosages, side effects, alternative drugs in class, which is helpful if side effects become problematic etc. It can be very empowering to have all this information readily available on your phone. Free to use. moodscope This app came top of a competition run by DHSC in 2011 to find the nation's top digital health products, so it's been around a long time. There are many mood trackers out there but this one stands the test of time. It's quite fun to use involving a playing card mood assessment, graphs to track over time and it emails a daily blog. It's not perfect and other mood trackers are available like Daylio – see below. But the daily blog email and community interaction could be more helpful at this time. Basic version is free. mindfulness/meditation podcasts Learning mindfulness and meditation techniques can help manage SMI conditions. There is no point in paying subscriptions to apps like Headspace when there are so many free podcasts. This series from Michael Chaskalson is excellent and you can listen to his structured meditations on the Podbean app. Free to use. beating bipolar Beating Bipolar is an online psycho-education programme with 8 modules on how to manage the condition, including videos from medical professionals and interviews from people with the condition. It was developed by psychiatrists in Cardiff with input from the bipolar community. You can get the best out of it if you set aside some time and work through methodically. As people have time on their hands at the moment, that might not be a problem. Free to use. woebot This is a fun little app – you have text conversations with a 'robot friend'. The programme was developed by psychologists at Stanford and teaches Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques. It's not specific to SMI, but it has a great user-interface. Recommended to by Bipolar UK peer support group members. sleepio People with SMI often suffer from poor sleep which exacerbates their condition. Sleepio incorporates an animated facilitator – 'The Prof', so cleverly addresses the issue that digital tools are most effective if they include facilitation to prompt people to stick with the programme. nhs app This app has the potential to be really useful to help manage SMI conditions. The app promises to help people book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and access a range of other healthcare services. The login set up is quite demanding. But it's still worth using as it has information about health conditions and links to support. chill panda Chill Panda is for children and adults who want to learn how to manage stress, relax and feel better. It uses your phone’s camera to measure your heart-rate and suggests playful tasks to suit your state of mind. Tasks include simple breathing techniques and lighter exercises to take your mind of off your worries. calm harm Calm Harm is suitable for people who are trying to manage urges to self-harm. It is based on the principles of dialectical behaviour therapy – a type of talking of therapy that is often effective in people with mood disorders. The app suggests tasks to encourage users to distract themselves from urges to self-harm and help manage their emotional mind in a more positive way. headspace Headspace helps you to let go of stress and relax with guided meditations and mindfulness techniques that bring calm, wellness and balance to your life in just a few minutes a day. There are exercises on topics including managing anxiety, stress relief, breathing, happiness and focus. cove Cove lets you create music to capture your mood and express how you feel. Instead of using words, create music to reflect emotions like joy, sadness, loneliness and anger. You can store your music in a private journal with text, or send it to someone when you are struggling to express yourself through words. happy not perfect Is a toolkit for your mind. Backed by science Happy Not Perfect enables you to play the daily happiness workout to reduce stress and improve sleep, learn breathing techniques, let go of negative thoughts, practice a positive mindset, meditate, set goals and track progress. thrive: feel stress free Feel Stress Free helps you to manage stress, anxiety and related conditions. Use the app to relax before a stressful situation or as part of your regular routine. iprevail iPrevail connects you with people who face similar situations and know what you're going through, with communities on stress, anxiety, depression and more. daylio Daylio allows you to create a private mood diary and track your mood using emoticons, without writing down a single line. Simple and easy to use but you might need to set up your own daily reminder with a Google calendar entry (or similar) if you stick with the basic free version. catch it Learn how to manage feelings like anxiety and depression with Catch It. The app will teach you how to look at problems in a different way, turn negative thoughts into positive ones and improve your mental wellbeing. my possible self The My Possible Self app aims to help you take control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Use the app to help manage fear, anxiety and stress, and tackle unhelpful thinking. pzizz The Pzizz app aims to help you stop your mind racing, get to sleep, stay asleep and wake up refreshed. big white wall Big White Wall is an online community for people who are stressed, anxious or feeling low. The service has an active forum with round-the-clock support from trained professionals. You can talk anonymously to other members and take part in group or one-to-one therapy with therapists. health unlocked Use Health Unlocked to find and connect with people with mental health conditions, including low mood, panic and anxiety. feeling good Feeling Good uses the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy to help improve thoughts and feelings, self-esteem and self-confidence. blue ice BlueIce is an evidenced-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. It includes a mood diary, a toolbox of evidence-based techniques to reduce distress and provides automatic routing to emergency numbers, if urges to harm continue. distract The distrACT app gives you easy, quick and discreet access to information and advice about self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The content has been created by doctors and experts in self-harming and suicide prevention. Donate to Bipolar UK today Your donation will help provide a range of services offering the support people need, when they need it. You can make sure there's someone at the end of the phone to listen, a nearby group to share experiences, a 24-hour peer forum and more. Together, we can support the person behind the diagnosis of bipolar.