Using practical apps to benefit your mental health

05 April 2024

Many veterans have difficulty seeking support for their mental health, especially in a face-to-face environment. Practical apps provide veterans with a way to start working on their mental health from the comfort of their own home.

The unique experience of working in the Defence Force can often create barriers to seeking support for current and ex-serving personnel. There are many factors that can create these barriers, including perceptions and stigma associated with requiring mental health support. However, it is often the case that veterans may just struggle to believe anyone can help them and they don’t know where to start.

Practical apps and their benefits

Practical apps are smart phone applications that can be installed on smart devices to provide strategies and support that can help to improve mental health and wellbeing. They can be used for a range of purposes and may include mindfulness, relaxation and meditation, social support, symptom tracking, self-management, psychoeducation, virtual coaching and online therapy support. Practical apps can provide support in all stages of clinical care provision from immediate crisis intervention to post-treatment management, although engagement with a health professional during times of crisis is recommended. 

Practical apps can provide support to veterans working on their mental health and well-being as they offer an easily accessible, user-friendly, and affordable addition to clinical therapy services. It is important to note they should not replace the benefits of clinical services but can be used effectively to support and maintain strategies learnt though therapy.

What are some practical apps that are useful for veterans and their mental health experiences?

Some practical mental health apps recommended for the current and ex-serving Defence Force community include: 

  • I Am Sober: substance use management
  • Hello Sunday: substance use management
  • Quit Anger: anger management 
  • Calm: mindfulness, meditation, relaxation
  • Mindsight: mindfulness, meditation, relaxation
  • Smiling Mind: mindfulness, meditation, relaxation
  • Headspace: mindfulness, meditation, relaxation
  • GoBeyond:  a program to help support members with transition from the ADF to the civilian world 
  • My Compass: stress, anxiety and depression support and management
  • Sanvello: stress, anxiety and depression support and management
  • Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame: for children struggling with mental health
  • Headspace: for children struggling with mental health
  • Calm: sleep management
  • Worry Watch: anxiety support, tracking and management
  • Veterans Catalogue app: list of support service and ex-service organisations available to help

Considerations when using practical apps

Whilst apps can provide benefit in some situations, there are some things to keep in mind when using practical apps to support mental health. Users should be aware that apps are not regulated in the same ways as those qualified to provide therapeutic services and might not be as confidential or ethical as they should be. The quality of advice or support offered may vary and may not be based on evidence or research.

Diagnosis can also only be provided by a registered health practitioner such as a GP or a psychiatrist and it is recommended that they always be consulted in the case of chronic or severe mental health issues and to determine the most appropriate third-party app to benefit you and your mental health.

Support at Mates4Mates

Mates4Mates offer a range of support services to veterans and their families, including access to psychologists, counsellors and social workers. Veterans and families can also sign up to Skills for Recovery programs which focus on skill-building and self-management of current mental, physical and social challenges.

Veterans can also find social connection and mateship at Mates4Mates social connection activities, offered in each of our locations and other outreach areas. 

For more information about Mates4Mates services and how we can help to support you, reach out to us on 1300 4 MATES (62 837) for a confidential chat.


Written by Trinity Pennisi, Mates4Mates Counsellor

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