Because my health sucks, I’m always on the lookout for things to buffer the suckage. The past five or so years have been a boom for mental health apps and today I’m reviewing a long-time favorite of mine: Booster Buddy.
What is Booster Buddy?
Booster Buddy is a totally and completely 100% free app available courtesy of Victoria-based Island Health, a publicly funded Canadian healthcare provider. It was designed with Canadian youth in mind but anybody can access it. You don’t have to make an account; you can’t, in fact. The app doesn’t even ask for your name or require an internet connection. Booster Buddy is ready to go right out of the box.
How It Works
The premise is simple: you befriend with one of three Buddies, who needs your help waking up in the morning. You wake them by completing three simple tasks every day. Most of them involve some kind of self-care or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) exercise. Others are as simple as changing your socks or imagining something.
It’s a simple app. But it’s one I have a deep and complex love for. I may also owe it my life.
Booster Buddy Saved Me in College
I first found Booster Buddy in the middle of my undergraduate degree. It came to me almost serendipitously at an emotional low-point in my life. Boggle the Owl had also recently gone quiet (RIP), so I was desperately seeking some other cartoon animal to love me unconditionally.
It was either that or adopt a real-life pet and forever ruin my relationship (and housing situation) with my mother. Even I’m not stupid enough to try that twice.
But Booster Buddy ultimately ended up talking me off a ledge I didn’t know I was standing on. Waking up my Buddy was sometimes the only thing I felt capable of doing some days, and that was the magic of it: I knew I could do it. I could fail at absolutely everything else that day but, hey, at least this weird-looking fox is proud of me.
Imagine A Tamagotchi With a Counseling Degree
Self-efficacy is worth its weight in the finest of cocaines when you’re thigh-deep in the suicidal thoughts swamp. Sometimes, all it takes is one win, even an exceedingly pathetic or silly one, to keep from feeling like you might yet be able to carve something useful out of the worthless mound of matter that is you. One win often begets more wins. I call it success momentum.
Having something I needed to take care of also anchored me back into a world I felt so adrift and aimless within. Here I was, in my darkest loneliness, but with at least one tie to the world. One face to look forward to seeing. One good moment in a 24-hour span.
Booster Buddy Can Boost Anyone’s Day
Time has passed and I’m much more stable now. That, plus a few phone changes, set Booster Buddy and me on our separate ways. But having redownloaded it for this review, I find myself just as much in love with it as I was five years ago. In fact, it’s even better now. Recent updates have included features like multiple daily check-ins and a journal to save inspiring quotes. There are also a ton of additional coping skills.
If I am going to recommend any mental health apps on this blog, I can think of no better place to start than this one. Canada has gifted the world with many wonderful things. Booster Buddy is one of them.
I only really have one gripe, and maybe it’s just me, but… the Buddies kind of creep me out.
It’s definitely the eyes.
Pros: FREE, easy-to-use, wholesome and good, bursting with resources
Cons: The Buddies and their beady little eyes make me nervous