Apps today are opening up channels of communication on several ‘uncomfortable’ topics. From sexual health and addictions to depression and mood tracking, help is just a click away.
By Shriya Roy
In this age of social media and constant communication, everything seems to be out in the open for all to access. The problem of accessibility and communication seems all but solved. Be it delivery of food, grocery shopping, travelling or getting your house cleaned, there seems to be an app for everything. But even in this fast-paced, constantly-evolving environment, there still exist some issues which many feel uncomfortable discussing or even sharing with closest people. The discomfort can rise both from embarrassment or just the reluctance to share because they think it is not something others would understand.
But there’s help at hand for them too now, as many apps and websites are aiding a discussion around such issues as well. Most people still have a reserved attitude while talking about sex and taking advice on their sexual health from others. But sexual health is important as it can lead to further health complications if not addressed. Based in the UK, the SMART SAA app helps in dealing with these problems. The app, developed by the Sexual Advice Association, is designed to allow men and women to ask questions about their sex lives that they don’t feel comfortable asking. Be it erectile dysfunction or a loss in sex drive, you can get advice in just five minutes.
In India, Bold Care, founded by Rajat Jadhav, Rahul Krishnan, Mohit Yadav, and Harsh Singh, has made an attempt to address the sexual problems in India that are on a steady rise and find a way for people to talk about them without feeling conscious. Their focus is on men’s sexual health, an issue which they believe is affecting relationships and society at large. Bold Care aspires to be India’s first mentech startup—using smarter technologies to improve every aspect of men’s health. Bold Care Assistant is available 24×7 via WhatsApp, ready to answer any questions about treatment plans or just lend a ear to the problems. “Problems like erectile dysfunction have a
huge impact on your mental well-being,” says co-founder Jadhav. “Just by opening up to someone, you’ve won half the battle. On our platform, everyone has a dedicated assistant.”
Smart apps have snuck into personal parts of people’s lives. Millions of people deal with addictions every single day. While there exist programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous, many are afraid to face other people, or having to sit in a room talking about it. Sober Grid is a smartphone app that offers recovering addicts a chance at staying sober by connecting with others in similar situations. Users can send out SOS signals to the community whenever they feel they’re on the edge of a relapse. Members can share their experiences and offer tips on how to stay clean. The best part about the app is that the support is at the touch of a button. No more social stigma.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a nerve disease that cripples motor function in patients, as individuals become unable to move, eat or even speak independently. Other medical conditions, including Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy and autism, make speech difficult. Many times those suffering from it think of themselves as a burden for others and refuse to ask for help. An app called Talkitt aims to give a voice to these patients by translating their broken or garbled speech into clear language, understandable by those around them.
Navigating around an unfamiliar place can be extremely difficult. Add to that not knowing where the nearest toilets are when it’s really urgent can be frustrating. And asking random people can be awkward to say the least. The Flush app locates the nearest toilets using your mobile’s GPS to avoid embarrassment and discomfort and comes in handy even at the remotest locations. The app contains locations to more than 190,000 bathrooms across the globe and offers directions and extra information as well.
The issue of mental health and anxiety is one that is common throughout the world. The topic of mental well-being is one that a majority of people are not comfortable about sharing or even discussing with others. Many times this ignorance leads to worsening conditions, and often a face-to-face therapy does not help. The fear of being judged is way too much.
But there is an alternate to therapy. What’s Up is a free mental health app that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) methods to help one cope with Depression, anxiety, stress, and more. The app contains over 100 different questions to pinpoint what one is feeling, and teaches ways to stop negative internal conversations.
Apart from that, eMoods is a mood tracking app designed specifically for people with bipolar disorder. Users can track depressive and psychotic symptoms, elevated mood, and irritability throughout the day, and it gives an indication of the severity of their symptoms as well. Users can also then see their mood changes in a colour coded format on a monthly calendar and export a summary report to identify any specific triggers.
With the ever-changing patterns of the world, it becomes harder to adjust and change with it. For each person, their pace of adjustment is different, and everyone needs their space to settle in. Technology has brought us to a doorstep where everything is possible. So, where there is technology, there is always a way.