16-Year-Old Develops App to Help Other Teens with Anxiety, Depression

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Amanda Southworth came up with AnxietyHelper to help teens with mental health issues. Here’s how it works and how to know if a mental health app is helpful.

Can smartphone apps help people cope with anxiety and depression? A 16-year-old software developer in California thinks they can.

Amanda Southworth is the young creator behind AnxietyHelper, an iPhone app designed to help people learn about and manage panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. Inspired by her own experiences, Southworth wanted to create an easy-to-use platform for people living with these mental health challenges. “This started for me back when I was in middle school, when I had a lot of issues regarding my own mental health, with depression and anxiety,” Southworth told Healthline.

“After I went through that, I wanted to create an all-in-one place where anybody could go and find information, resources, and tools,” she explained. “Instead of spending hours looking on the internet,” she continued, “they could maybe spend 15 minutes perusing what I created, and they would have a solid idea of what they’re up against, how to fight it, and what they need to do next.” 

How the app works

AnxietyHelper provides information about depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, as well as resources related to other mental health conditions.  It also offers interactive tools, designed to help users cope with mental illness on a day-to-day basis.

“The app has different tools that allow you to deal with mental health on the go, which kind of gamifies a lot of the aspects of therapy,” Southworth said. For example, the app’s “guided vent” feature invites users to talk through their feelings to experience emotional release.

Its “guided breathing” feature promotes relaxation through meditative breathing breaks.

The app can also help users locate mental health services during a crisis.

“One of my favorite quotes is ‘be the person you needed when you were younger,’” Southworth said. “I wanted to create something that I would have wanted and something that I really needed when I was going through all of this.”

In addition to designing AnxietyHelper, Southworth is also the executive director of Astra Labs, a nonprofit software development company that she co-founded earlier this year.

Read More at: Healthline.com

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