Last week Smiling Mind reported rapid growth in downloads and usage as concerns around COVID-19 and social isolation continued to mount.
The organisation, which already has nearly 5 million downloads of its leading app, said March was shaping up to be its biggest on record. App use is 47 percent higher than January when the organisation was already experiencing a surge as people searched for support with bushfire fatigue.
On Sunday, March 22, Smiling Mind experienced 150 percent growth in app downloads from the previous Sunday.
On Monday, March 23, it saw 110 percent week-on-week growth following major federal and state government announcements on the preceding Sunday.
Daily website views have also increased seven-fold as Australians look for supporting tools and resources for their mental health.
These core app users are focusing on sessions that targeted sleep and staying calm. There was also an increase in users of Smiling Mind youth programs, in line with announcements relating to keeping children at home.
The organisation focuses on children and young people, and the teachers and parents who influence them, with over 150,000 teachers using its tools and resources.
Smiling Mind CEO Dr. Addie Wootten said people were looking for tools and assistance to help them deal with the uncertainty.
“We are in unprecedented times. Parents, schools and students are having to make very difficult decisions with constantly changing information,” Dr. Wootten said.
“People are looking to Smiling Mind to find a sense a calm and ensure they can stay mentally healthy as they follow the governments recommendations.”
“It is vital that all Australians practice physical distancing and if necessary, self-quarantining. During these times of extended isolation and disruption from the usual routine, people need to look after their mental and physical health, particularly parents and children at home during school holidays.”
“The benefits to children and parents of mindfulness has never been more pronounced. We know through research that daily practice of mindfulness increases resilience and attention spans in children â€“ both vital in this period of distance education and anxiety,” Dr. Wootten said.
To assist parents and children through these challenging and uncertain times, Smiling Mind has prepared five ways to help manage anxiety with mindfulness. These are:
- Establish a daily mindfulness routine for yourself and your family – the Smiling Mind app provides freely accessible mindfulness programs for all ages.
- Stay connected – social distancing might be better thought of as physical distancing – it’s important to maintain a social connection at this time.
- Stay active – physical exercise (even in the confines of your own home) is essential to maintain good mental health.
- Don’t bottle things up – talk about how you’re feeling with those you trust.
- Be proactive – set up ways to support your mental health now – don’t wait until you notice signs or symptoms of stress – prevention is essential at this time.
Smiling Mind has further responded to the growing need for mindfulness oriented support with their new Thrive Inside initiative. Specifically designed to promote calm and a healthy lifestyle in the physical constraints of your home, Thrive Inside fulfils a widening gap in the trifecta essential to mental health. Accompanied by daily exercise, a balanced diet and sound sleep, the app provides guidance and support at a time many of us have never needed it more.