The Panda mental health app has a range of unique features.

This smartphone app is here to help tackle the mental health crisis in South Africa

Panda mental health app has a bunch of unique features.

Getty Images / Jelena Stanjekovic

  • Access to mental health services is largely unaffordable, and the stigma against mental illness prevents many people from seeking help.
  • With the rise of technology, smart phone apps for mental health are booming.
  • A single app created by South Africa provides unique features to help you on your mental health journey.

Access to mental health support is limited: it is expensive — seeing a therapist can set you back around R500 to R1,000 per session — and the stigma surrounding mental illness has prevented many people from getting the help they need.

The truth is that hundreds of thousands of South Africans suffer in silence because they are too embarrassed to ask for help, or they don’t know how or where to get help, or they simply can’t get it.

But with the increase in technology, mental health services are now more accessible than ever, with plenty of smartphone apps available for people to get support.

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Alon Lets, Co-founder of Panda, a mental health support app launched a year ago, says its goal was to provide as many people as possible with access to a supportive community where they can get treatment and get better. Letts and his business partner Alan Swedan, a clinical psychologist, knew that the way to do this was through technology.

Whether you are looking for help managing financial stress, dealing with bullying, achieving work-life balance, dealing with stress at work, setting healthy relationship boundaries, having a positive body image, or just starting your mental health journey, Panda is dedicated to helping you overcome these challenges.

Some of its features include:

  • Join Sessions in the Jungle: Here, you can participate in live audio-only sessions on a variety of mental health related topics. Join the community and connect anonymously with experts and peers facing similar challenges.
  • Tracked evaluations: This will help you evaluate what you are doing more objectively and provide you with more insights into your mental health.
  • Life Skills Training: Check out our library of resources that will provide you with content to learn and practice skills that will help you live a life worth living.
  • Chat support: Panda allows you to make an appointment with a registered professional and receive 1:1 support therapy.
mental health app

A look at some of the features of the Panda app.

Lits says:

Anyone with a smartphone can access the Panda app. We’ve made the platform very easy to use so we can try to democratize access to mental health support, and help people find the right care at the right time.

The app is available for Android And the iOS users.

The biggest problem people deal with

Lits adds that their data so far has shown a critical need for support for anxiety, depression, exam stress, sleep deprivation, and self-esteem.

“By far, the biggest issue people deal with is anxiety, which has a huge impact on younger age groups,” he explains.

results from World Mental Health Report 2021 South Africa has the lowest mental health quotient in the world, which means that our country is facing an unrecognized mental health crisis.

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This is evident in South Africa, where suicide is the second leading cause of death among those under the age of 29, claiming 23 South Africans every day. For those experiencing poverty, unemployment, and violence, the risk of suicide is higher.

With nine out of 10 people dying by suicide and suffering from a mental disorder, often unnoticed, undetected, and untreated, it’s time to break down the barriers that prevent them from getting help.

To help curb the broader mental health crisis, Panda has made a wide range of assessments available on its app so that users can proactively understand and manage their mental health.

The app also provides users with personalized recommendations on taking the first step to managing their mental health journey.

Here are the main benefits of using technology to support mental health:

  • Support Anyone, Anywhere – Technology means more people can access help, no matter where they are. As long as they have a smartphone and internet access, support is at their fingertips.
  • More Affordable – The Panda app is free to download, and access to live interactive group sessions, content, and ratings is free. It also provides a low-cost 1:1 intervention in the form of text chat support.
  • Anonymity – While the Panda team hopes to reduce the stigma around mental health, it still exists, and there are people who prefer not to be identified when seeking help. Technology enables it.
  • Helping sufferers take the first step to getting help Technology provides a platform for mental health patients to take the first step to getting the care they need. It can be intimidating to make an appointment with a mental health care professional; Technology removes this barrier and makes it easy to join a live session and listen or review content on your own time.
  • Convenience – Support sessions are accessible to users and can be conducted anytime, anywhere and are the solution for those who are afraid of personal appointments.

Read more | Workplace bullying should be treated as a public health issue

visit Anxiety and depression group in South Africa (SADAG) for important contact numbers and more information. In the event of an emergency suicide, call the SADAG Helpline at 0800567567, or alternatively, call a counselor on 011234 4837 between 08:00 and 20:00 Monday through Sunday.

October is World Mental Health Awareness Month and aims to highlight and destigmatize the silent epidemic affecting millions of people.

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