Smartphones & Apps for Mental Health & Wellbeing




Choosing a Smartphone or Tablet

Mobile Device Operating Systems

Smartphones and tablets come with one of three operating systems (OS):

  • Apple iOS - used on iPhones & iPads.
  • Android - used by many phone manufacturers.
  • Windows Phone OS - used by a few phone manufacturers.

A phone's operating system can be found in 'Settings'.
It's a good idea to check whether the OS can be upgraded to a later version than the one that comes pre-loaded on your phone.

For a full listing of operating system versions see: Mobile Device Operating System Versions

Smartphone OS Market Share - 2016

  • iPhones - 13.8%
  • Android - 85.2%
  • Windows Phone - 0.6%
  • Other - 0.4%

See: There's no hope of anyone catching up to Android and iOS | Business Insider

Number of Apps for each OS - 2016

  • iPhones - 2,000,000
  • Android - 2,200,000
  • Windows Phone - 669,000

See: Number of apps available in leading app stores 2016

Mobile Device Specifications

  • Operating system (iPhone/Android/Windows)
  • Processor - determines how fast the phone operates
  • Screen size
  • 3G or 4G
  • Storage - expandable with SD card?
  • Tablets - can they take a sim or are they or wifi only?

Mobile Device Reviews

Sometimes simply googling a device's name and model number will return online reviews.
You can also check and compare smartphone specifications at: (Phone reviews, news, opinions, votes, manuals etc.), although many of the cheapest phones aren't listed.

Where to Buy a Mobile Device

  • Network providers - e.g. Telstra, Optus, Vodafone.
  • Retailers - e.g. JB Hifi & Officeworks.
  • Supermarkets - e.g. Woolies & Coles.
  • Post Shop.
  • Online.

Smartphone Apps

Where to Find Apps


On your Device:

The App Store via App Store app on the iPhone or iPad.
The Google Play store via the Google Play app on an Android smartphone or tablet.
The Store app on a Windows smartphone or tablet.

On the Web:

The App Store for iPhones & iPads -
The Google Play Store for Android phones and tablets -
Microsoft Store - Windows Apps for Windows smartphone or tablet -


  • Always check operating system compatibility before downloading apps (although this is usually automatic).
  • Apps can be quite large, so consider only downloading them when connected to free wifi.
  • Apps often update in the background. In your phone's settings you should be able to make it so that apps only update over wifi. This will save data.

Types of Apps

  • MyGov (Centrelink, Medicare etc.) - Online and apps
  • Psychology & self-help - CBT, positive psychology, emotional intelligence, brain training etc.
  • Mindfulness, meditation, relaxation & visualisation
  • Music & soundscapes - a mix of music, nature sounds, white noise etc.
  • Goal-setting, life coaching & motivation
  • Affirmations and inspirational quotes
  • Psychological trackers - moods, emotions, symptoms, sleep, energy levels, medications
  • Physical trackers - diet, weight, fitness, sporting activities etc.
  • Exercise - yoga, gym workouts etc.

Evaluating Apps

  • Is the app free, or does it cost?
  • Has the app been developed by a reputable body - universities, research bodies or government - or has it been developed by a commercial vendor or individual programmer?
  • What is the app's popular rating in the online store?

Mobile App Tutorials

Need more help to learn about mobile apps and where to get them?
Try these tutorials from Go Digi:

What is a mobile app? | Go Digi
How do I get a mobile app? Part 1 | Go Digi
How do I get a mobile app? Part 2 | Go Digi

Accessing the Internet

Phone & Data Plans

  • Is the phone unlocked, or locked to a network. If locked, how much does it cost to unlock it?
  • Is the plan prepaid, postpay or contract? Postpay and contracts direct debit from a bank account.
  • How much do 1800 (free from landlines) and 1300 (charged from landlines) calls from a mobile cost?
  • Are calls to phones on the same network cheaper, or free?
  • What speed - 3G or 4G? Remember - the faster the speed, the more data you'll use.
  • Does the data roll over each month?

Compare Australian mobile phones and plans: WhistleOut.

Free or Cheap Internet Access

Where to find free Wifi in Sydney - Sydney Moving Guide

Free Wifi Finder Apps

Warning - Free wifi isn't secure, so it's safest not to transfer sensitive data over free wifi - e.g. MyGov.

Creating a Free Email Account

You can create a free Gmail account. You will have to create a Google account first at:

Online Mental Health Resources, Self Help & Support

Information and Resources

Many websites offer a range of information and resources on general mental health and for specific mental health conditions.
For example:

SANE Australia
Provides information and support for Australians experiencing mental illness.

beyondblue (University of Sydney)
Information and support to help everyone in Australia who is experiencing depression or anxiety to achieve their best possible mental health.

Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD) (UNSW and St Vincents Hospital)
Resources on depression and anxiety disorders, such as General Anxiety (GAD), Social Phobia, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia, Phobias and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

WayAhead - Mental Health Association NSW
Mental health information, support and promotion, especially for those experiencing anxiety.

One Door (formerly Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW Inc)
Provides people living with mental illness and their families inclusive community, innovative services and advocacy support.

Find trusted mental health and wellbeing information, online programs, helplines and news.

Digital Mental Health Gateway
Yet to be launched.
The Australian Government's online portal providing access to high-quality digital mental health services.

Self-help & E-therapy

Online therapy (e-therapy) can be either self-guided or done in conjunction with a therapist or coach.
Research-based Australian examples:

myCompass (University of New South Wales)
The Black Dog Institute's personalised self-help program to help people better self-manage mild to moderate symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.

MoodGYM Training Program (Australian National University)
Learn cognitive behaviour therapy skills for preventing and coping with depression.

e-couch Self Help (Australian National University)
A self-help interactive program with modules covering depression, generalised anxiety and worry, social anxiety, relationship breakdown, and loss and grief.

For a more detailed list of these sites see: eMental Health Resources

Online Forums & Support Groups

Many mental health-oriented websites have online forums and support groups.

beyondblue's Online Forums
Forums for Australians experiencing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and trauma.

SANE Lived Experience Forum
A safe, anonymous community for people living with mental illness, moderated 24/7 by mental health professionals.

SANE Carers Forum
A safe, anonymous community for the friends, family and carers of people living with mental illness, moderated 24/7 by mental health professionals.

Mental Health Self-care

If you are experiencing emotional or mental distress please contact one of the following support services:

Your doctor or mental health practitioner.
In an emergency call 000 or visit your local hospital's emergency department.

Lifeline Australia - or call 13 11 14 (24 hours)
Suicide call-back service - or call 1300 659 467 (24 hours)
MensLine Australia - or call 1300 78 99 78 (24 hours)
beyondblue (for depression) - or call 1300 22 4636 (24 hours)
Kids Helpline - (aged 25 and under) or call 1800 55 1800 (24 Hours)
eheadspace - (aged 25 and under) or call 1800 650 890 (9am to 1am AEDST)

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