31/08/2015 8:37 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Free App Gives Young Aussies The Key To Simple Stress Relief

Michael H via Getty Images
Boy using a smartphone outside

We are busier than ever -- our to-do lists are getting longer and our emails are piling up, not to mention the dirty washing. Sadly it’s accepted that we feel rushed and flustered as we power through each day. But it's not just adults who are feeling overwhelmed.

Children as young as seven are being encouraged to try mediation as a way of treating anxiety, among other issues.

Smiling Mind is a web and App-based program developed by a team of psychologists with expertise in youth and adolescent therapy, mindfulness meditation and web-based wellness programs. Having launched three years ago, the app has been downloaded 800,000 times.

In recent years mindfulness meditation has risen in popularity for use in the treatment of anxiety, depression, stress and other physical and mental illnesses.

Well respected institutions such as UCLA, Harvard, Oxford, Monash and Melbourne Universities have developed clinical studies into the positive impacts of mindfulness meditation.

“The world needs mindfulness and in this fast-paced, stressed and distracted world, the children of today probably need it more than any previous generation," said Dr. Craig Hassad, Smiling Mind ambassador.

"Smiling Mind is taking Mindfulness Meditation to where it is needed most -- into the hearts and minds of young people. It’s more than just a technique, and more than just a life-skill. Mindfulness is a way of life."

Co-founder Jane Martino agrees.

“Our vision is for mindfulness meditation to be on the curriculum by 2020."

One in five Australians aged 16-85 suffer from a clinically diagnosable mental health issue -- and one in four secondary students and one in seven primary students will experience a mental illness.

Soberingly, a study by the Department of Health found that 560,000 children experienced a mental health disorder in the past year and 1 in 13 of those children aged between 12 and 17 had considered suicide.

Smiling Mind offers a preventative tool to support mental health, increase the ability to focus, and pay attention to the present. When you consider that the average office worker check their email 30 times every hour, and that the typical mobile phone user checks their phones more than 150 times per day, learning how to be in the present is imperative.

“Smiling Mind took something which was a bit fringe -- meditation -- and packaged it in a way that used technology far more effectively," said James Tutton, Co-founder of Smiling Mind.

Smiling Mind is free to download.

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.