Apps to help stroke survivors with anxiety

A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off. Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain. Without blood, your brain cells can be damaged or die.

Speech is often affected. Speech problems include aphasia (this leads to problems using language correctly, and understanding words), apraxia (where you can't move the muscles in your face mouth or throat) and dysarthria (slurred or quiet speech). 

According to the Stroke Association, 44% of people who have aphasia suffer from severe anxiety, and a third of stroke survivors suffer from depression.

The Stroke Association has a comprehensive guide to dealing with anxiety and depression after a stroke, which includes signposting to other organisations.

There are also apps that can help with anxiety, guided meditation and also to aid sleep. 

Breathe2Relax (Free)

Breathe2Relax aims to teach you diaphragmatic breathing or 'belly breathing' as a way of combatting stress.

The app is developed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

The app includes various practice sessions. You can customise each session, adjusting the length of the session and breath rate, for example.

You'll be asked to rate stress levels before and after each session and the app will create a chart of your progress.

Download Breathe2Relax for iOS

Download Breathe2Relax for Android

DARE (free download, subscription model)

Four screens from the DARE appRecently updated (November 2019) the DARE app claims to help you to break free from anxiety. 

The app offers training on overcoming 'anxiety, worry, insomnia and panic attacks.'

Anxiety 'training' covers a number of areas and potentially stressful situations including flying, driving and eating out. The app is free to download but has a subscription model. 

Download DARE for iOS

Download DARE for Android

Headspace (Free for Basic, then subscription-based)

Headspace is a popular app for relaxation, guided meditation and to help you sleep.

The app offers a variety of guided meditations and mindfulness techniques, whether you're new to meditation, or are more experienced. It also claims to be able to create the perfect conditions for a good night's sleep. 

The Basics course is free and will teach you the fundamental techniques of meditation and mindfulness but to access the full library of packs, you'll need to pay a subscription. Meditations include those tailored to tackling stress and anxiety. 

There's also an option to join others meditating.

Download Headspace for iOS

Download Headspace for Android

Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep (Free)

Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep has a bank of different nature sounds.

All the sounds are completely natural and include thunder, ocean sounds and waterfall. The makers claim the relaxing sounds can aid wellbeing in a number of different ways, including headache therapy, helping with depression and aiding sleep. 

Download Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep for Android

Rootd (Free, in-app purchases)

Picture of the small anxiety monster 'Ron'Rootd is an app that comes with a built-in 'panic button' called the Rootr for people who suffer from severe anxiety or panic attacks.

Press Rootr and it kick-starts a guided process for bringing a swift end to a panic attack, or you can choose to face the panic attack head-on.

For calmer times, there is also a deep breathing tool, an active meditation tool, lessons and a collection of nature sounds.

Guiding you through is a friendly pocket monster called Ron. 

There's also a point system to assist you in tracking your progress. 

Download Rootd for iOS

Download Rootd for Android

Worry Watch £3.99

Screen shot from Worry Watch app. Question on screen read 'what if I lose my job'Worry watch aims to reduce anxiety by allowing you to record and track every day worries.

The app works by taking you through five keys steps as a means of reducing anxiety; 'record' (writing down what's worrying you); 'refect' (reflecting on whether it was as bad as you'd expected); 'reason' (journaling and analysing thought patterns); 'realize' (recognising fears may be mostly unfounded) and finally 'refute' (challenging your worry perceptions).

Download Worry Watch for iOS


Free webinar for stroke survivors

A stroke can impact in a number of ways. It is the commonest form of aphasia. People who are affected by aphasia, and can cause issues of cognitive and physical impairment and is a common cause of anxiety and depression.

Technology can be part of the solution. Our free webinar will showcase the Stroke Association's online tool My Stroke Guide, which offers information as well as access to peer support from other stroke survivors.

AbilityNet volunteer Lawrence Knight will be on hand to share his experiences of helping stroke survivors find solutions that can help them to adapt.

The webinar will take place on March 31 2020. Sign up to our free webinar for stroke survivors and their carers

How AbilityNet can help stroke survivors

AbilityNet has a range of products and services that can help you make tech more accessible including consultancy, design reviews, auditing and user testing.

AbilityNet provides a range of free services to help disabled people and older people.

Call our free Helpline. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will discuss any kind of computer problem and do their best to come up with a solution. We’re open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm on 0800 269 545.

Arrange a home visit. We have a network of AbilityNet ITCanHelp volunteers who can help if you have technical issues with your computer systems. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone.

We have a range of factsheets which talk in detail about technology that might help you, which can be downloaded for free. You may find our factsheets talking about voice recognition and keyboard alternatives useful.

My Computer My Way. A free interactive guide to all the accessibility features built into current desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Related Factsheets from AbilityNet

Support for stroke survivors

Call the Stroke Association Helpline: 0303 3033 100

Connect to other stroke survivors and carers via My Stroke Guide

Search the stroke association for local support by postcode

Think Ahead Stroke: 01942 824888

Factsheets from the Stroke Association