Mindfulness app help to young people Technology can help you cope with mental illness
One in every five Australians will experience a mental illness each year, according to the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Well-being. What’s troubling is that only 50 per cent of young people with the most severe mental health problems receive professional help. Technology has stepped in, with mindfulness, meditation and anxiety apps taking centre stage to help people cope with mental illness.
“Smiling Mind is a mindfulness meditation app and website that is full of educational programs and guided meditations for ages seven right up to adult, broken up into four different age groups,” says Jane Martino, who co-founded the not-for-profit initiative with Melbourne entrepreneur James Tutton. “People can just login, free of charge, whether they are at school or at home and just go through the five, 10, 15 or 20 minute programs,” says Martino.
Parents reported they couldn’t give their own children help because it was either too expensive or they didn’t know where to get it and thought they could manage on their own.
“When you look at those statistics and you’ve got young children, you think wow! If I had that tool when I was young, imagine how powerful it would have been,” says Martino. “It was always about accessibility, putting something in the hands of young people where they were already operating or engaging.”
For Jane, the app makes it easier to juggle lots of things and cope with stress.
“Meditation is a form of attention training. It helps you really focus your attention on what’s important and be productive,” says Martino.
The app recently hit a major milestone with over a million downloads, and the couple decided to launch a Smiling Mind book to go with the app.
“It’s another way for us to connect people with meditation in a different way and a different form,” says Martino. “Anything that we can do to get people meditating regularly is a plus, and all profits go back into Smiling Mind. That’s really important.”
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