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Apps that can support nurse well-being: tried and tested options

With nurses less likely to rely on traditional mental health services, here's how to choose a sleep, anxiety, mindfulness or meditation app from a tested and clinically assured library
Picture portrays a nurse looking at a smartphone

With nurses less likely to rely on traditional mental health services, here's how to choose a sleep, anxiety, mindfulness or meditation app from a tested and clinically assured library

With busy schedules and changing shift patterns, it can be hard for nurses to stay on top of their well-being – but there are tried and tested apps that can help.

Studies suggest that key workers such as nurses are the least likely groups to use traditional mental health services . Organisation

With nurses less likely to rely on traditional mental health services, here's how to choose a sleep, anxiety, mindfulness or meditation app from a tested and clinically assured library

Picture portrays a nurse looking at a smartphone
Picture: iStock

With busy schedules and changing shift patterns, it can be hard for nurses to stay on top of their well-being – but there are tried and tested apps that can help.

Studies suggest that key workers such as nurses are the least likely groups to use traditional mental health services. Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) chief executive Liz Ashall-Payne said apps can provide significant results when the right one is used. ‘Always do what’s right for you; one particular well-being app may not be the right answer for everyone,’ she told Nursing Standard.

Health and well-being apps tested against NHS standards

‘What’s important is that the choice is available. When the right app meets the right person the results can be significant. But it’s important to make sure apps are tested and vetted,’ Ms Ashall-Payne added.

Of the 375,000 health apps currently available on app stores, only 20% are clinically safe and safe in terms of patient data, she said.

ORCHA tests health and well-being apps against 350 standards, including NHS standards. The organisation works in 70% of NHS regions to provide a tested and clinically assured app library, as well as working with clinical commissioning groups including those in Bolton, Liverpool and Rochdale.

‘If you download an app from an app store it could be hard to verify its quality,’ said Ms Ashall-Payne, who suggests looking out for apps that have been assessed against standards including DTAC (digital technology assessment criteria) and the evidence standards framework (ESF) set by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Some well-being apps recommended by ORCHA

Stress and worry

Download the Happify app

The Happify app uses proven activities and games to help reduce stress, overcome negative thoughts and build greater resilience by providing effective tools and programmes to improve emotional well-being. It has free and paid-for content available.

Relief from anxiety

Download the Mindshift CBT app

Mindshift CBT is a free self-help anxiety relief app that helps reduce worry, stress and panic by following evidence-based strategies. Using CBT tools, it aims to help the user challenge negativity, be mindful, relax, learn more about anxiety and develop more effective ways of thinking.

Meditation and sleep

Download the Headspace app

Headspace uses guided meditations on a variety of topics, from stress and anxiety management to sleep, personal growth and mind-body health. It teaches mindfulness and meditation skills, helping users to develop tools to focus, breathe, stay calm and create balance in their life. Both free and paid-for content are available.

Mental health support

Download the Wysa app

The Wysa app is an anonymous, emotionally intelligent chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to react to the emotions expressed by the user. It teaches techniques of cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy and meditation to support users with depression, stress, anxiety, sleep and other mental health and wellness needs. The app has free and paid-for content available.


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