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  • Shae Young

Finch: Self-Care Pet. An App Review

Waitlists. That tedium associated with seeking help, known all too well by the general public. Unless you’re blessed with private healthcare, the long stretch of time to wait to receive mental health support can be more damaging than hopeful - with average wait times exceeding twelve months for some services.

Self-care is often recommended for those who are waiting, whether that be journaling, anxiety relief techniques like breathing exercises, reaching out to friends and family - or trying meditation apps on their phones. Having tried many of these apps, I always found them helpful to begin with but by no means a long-term solution, and given that waitlists can themselves be long-term these apps aren’t always suitable.

On hearing about a ‘self-care pet’, I was intrigued. Like most young people, when I turned eighteen the availability of mental health support became drastically minimised and I looked to find a self-care routine or app that could help fill in these gaps. Having been given a good foundation of support, and techniques I could use to relieve anxiety, I didn’t want to lose the progress I had made over the years - just because I had turned eighteen and was considered an ‘adult’. The adult waiting lists for therapy/support were even longer than the waitlists I had already been on in the first place.

I had tried apps like ‘Headspace’, and ‘Calm’, in the hopes that these would help, but unless you’re willing to pay for the ‘premium’ versions of these, the features they offer are limited and, frankly, repetitive. What the market seems to miss is the fact that most young people don’t have eighty pounds to spend on a yearly subscription to these apps. That’s when I learnt about ‘Finch’. Unlike most self-help apps, this one promised a motivational ‘self-care pet’ as part of the package. Completely functional, without in-app purchases or subscriptions, Finch helps individuals complete various tasks from the most basic, like getting out of bed in the morning, to more demanding goals like a cleaning day. The beauty of Finch is that you can set your own goals. Nothing is too small of a task, and there is complete freedom with the tasks you wish to complete each day. Unlike most ‘to-do list’ or ‘motivational’ apps Finch gives you ‘energy points’ for each task you complete, and with enough ‘energy points’ you can send your ‘pet’ on an adventure where they discover new maps or items. With each completion of an ‘adventure’, your pet grows from a toddler, to a teenager and so on. This incentive technique, I found, was incredibly effective. It gives each completed task an added sense of achievement, and the app also offers reflective exercises for you to journal or simply vent about something that’s bothering you. The app will then customise ‘first-aid’ tasks based on keywords you use. These ‘first-aid’ tasks were a nice touch, and included things such as breathing exercises and meditation prompts.

The app was certainly uplifting and, for the duration of time that I have used it, has been very motivational on days when my motivation to do even the smallest task was low. The app itself is very versatile and can help not only individuals with mental health troubles but also individuals with ADHD, who may struggle to focus or hold themselves accountable to tasks. The app itself is well-reviewed and can be really helpful for individuals who either need a nudge in the right direction or are waiting for support. But, it isn’t a long-term fix or a solution. While apps like Finch are helpful, I would urge those who are struggling with their mental health to seek professional support. Despite NHS waitlists and how discouraging those wait times can be, there are other resources and hotlines to help people in need of urgent support or care - these include but are not limited to:


Students Against Depression -

UMHAN (University Mental Health Advisors Network) -


Young Minds -


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