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New mental health app – Mentemia – crosses the ditch

New mental health app – Mentemia – crosses the ditch

The new mental health app Mentemia provides practical tips and techniques to help people take control of their mental wellbeing at a time when levels of anxiety and uncertainty remain high with the impact of COVID-19.

New mental health app – Mentemia – crosses the ditch

As we emerge from isolation in a very different reality, World Champion surfer Mick Fanning is stepping up to support Australians with a new mental wellbeing app which will be available for free for six months.

Created by All Blacks legend and long-time New Zealand mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan, Kiwi tech entrepreneur Adam Clark, and an expert team of medical advisors, the app launched in New Zealand a month ago with more than 17,000 downloads on the first day.

Mentemia – Italian for “my mind” – provides practical tips and techniques to help people take control of their mental wellbeing at a time when levels of anxiety and uncertainty remain high with the impact of COVID-19.

“It’s a great little handbook for how you can help yourself and reminds you about the importance of spending time looking after you,” says three-time world champion Fanning who uses his platform to promote conversation about mental health and wellbeing.

“I think that’s really important in the world today. Mentemia is for everyone to use every day. It’s for all Australians because even people who are well get stressed and anxious, especially at a time like this.”

Kirwan says there is a global need to support people’s mental wellbeing with the aim to get Mentemia out to as many people as possible and the obvious step after New Zealand was to offer it free to all Australians. It will be available for free for six months from May 13.

“Mental wellbeing is borderless, and everyone is looking to bring some balance back into their lives. Finding ways to maintain your normal routine as much as possible when it comes to sleep, nutrition and exercise is key to reducing stress and anxiety.”

Kirwan approached Fanning to support the launch of Mentemia in Australia because of the champion surfer’s focus on the importance of supporting mental wellbeing.

“I got involved with Mentemia and JK for the simple reason to try to help,” says Fanning. “I’ve had my own personal struggles and hardships throughout my whole career. At first, I thought I was a failure if I asked for help, but then I realised it’s the most courageous thing I could do.

“Mental health is usually looked at in a dark light, it doesn’t have to be. Everyone deals with doubts, down times, and anxiety. I know I have. But it doesn’t have to cripple your days. For me, mental wellbeing means being happy on the inside so I have the power to go and do the things that make me happy on the outside.”

The free public roll out of the app in Australia today has been made possible with support from leading life and health insurer AIA, which is committed to helping people live healthier, longer, better lives.

Developed as a mobile app to tackle stress and anxiety in the workplace, the free version of Mentemia has been specially adapted to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mentemia is distinct from other wellbeing apps because it turns medically proven techniques into easy to use and engaging tools that support mental wellbeing. The app also helps a person recognise signs of stress and anxiety in others and provides ways of helping to support them and get them the help they need.

“It’s like having a personalised mental wellbeing coach in your pocket,” says Kirwan. “It coaches mental wellbeing by providing people with small actions they can do every day to help make them feel better.”

“I have a daily mental health plan. I do a few little things every day, and now I’m thriving. That’s where Mentemia comes in. It gives people a better understanding of the triggers that make them stressed or anxious and provides them with little things they can do to improve their mental wellbeing.”

Developed by technology, content and clinical experts the app has evidence-based tools that work to build and nurture greater wellbeing. These include a “Mood Tracker” to help identify what is affecting a person’s mood, and a “Breathing Tool” which has advice on breathing techniques and how these can be used to cope in stressful situations.

The app also provides daily suggestions of simple yet valuable things to try, such as how to relax your mind before going to sleep, and providing “Bite-sized brain science” which breaks down complex ideas into insights that are useful and easily understandable.

Health Psychology Expert, Dr Fiona Crichton, who is part of the development team, says COVID-19 has made anxiety the new normal but there is no one way to deal with those feelings of uncertainty.

“It’s about finding out what works for you and tailoring your daily routine with new habits. With Mentemia we’ve designed a whole range of evidence-based content and ideas so people can find the things that work for them. These are often very simple things, but the research shows they calm our stress response, so we feel less stuck and more able to cope in these uncertain times.”

Mentemia is available from the App Store or Google Play


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