The Best Mental Health Apps For Depression, Anxiety & Beyond
By: Julia Thomas
Updated January 12, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
We are fortunate that in today's era of technology we have access to a wide array of devices and applications that are useful for assisting with the treatment of mental health conditions. Even with the many mental health focused apps available today, seeking appropriate support and therapy from appropriate mental health professionals is important.
What makes some apps beneficial for people is that they can access it at any time during the day. Some of these apps educate patients on how to manage their symptoms and promote calm. Other apps are geared toward helping individuals through specific mental health issues. These apps are not meant to replace professional help—simply to give you some tips, guidance, or distractions that will help you cope with certain symptoms. A doctor or mental health professional is always going to provide more thorough treatment so that you can address the root of your issues. These apps, however, can be great tools for coping when you’re on the go and need a little support.
The Best Mental Health Apps for Depression, Anxiety & Beyond
Happify is an app that helps with relieving stress and anxiety. This app can help users build resilience and strengthen coping skills with the use of games and other activities. It is science-based, and users can plan their goals using this app. This app is available for both Android devices and iOS.
This app is designed for those who have or may have post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people associate PTSD with veterans, but anyone can endure traumatic events and develop PTSD.
This app offers tools for users to track their symptoms and it also helps them with managing symptoms. Apart from these useful tools and trackers, it also helps the user with locating the nearest treatment programs. In cases of emergencies, it can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline quickly. This app is only available in the USA, and it can be downloaded on both Android and iOS devices and is free on both.
TogetherAll is an app offering support networks and live therapy in the UK and Canada. Users can share their problems with one another while remaining anonymous. Users can also take self-assessment tests. This is a paid app, but it's also affordable, and some users may qualify for free access, like those who are certain government employees or whose employers have enabled free access to the app. Apart from it allowing users to connect with one another, it also provides discussion boards, and support from licensed therapists is provided. With this app, you will never feel as though you're alone in whatever you might be living with. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Calm is an app that offers guided meditation, and it can help with bringing peace and joy to your daily life. It's even suitable for people who are unfamiliar with meditation, as it's designed for beginners. Basic courses on meditation are available for free. Advanced meditation guides are available, but these have subscription fees. This app is ideal for people that are experiencing anxiety, depression, and stress. Calm is available on both Android and iOS devices.
Sanvello offers clinically validated techniques and support to help with the relief of anxiety and depression symptoms. It's available on the App Store and Google Play.
Breathe2Relax is an app that's specifically designed for stress management. The app teaches therapeutic breathing exercises. It is available for both Android and iOS devices.
Need a new hobby? Then Recolor is the perfect app for that. Recolor is an adult-friendly coloring app. The coloring is also another therapeutic technique that will help with calming the mind. You can set the difficulty also, which makes it perfect for both beginners and advanced users. This app is free, and it is available for both iOS and Android devices.
This guided tool helps with managing worry with helpful techniques. It also provides distractions and provides daily tips on how to cope with worry. IntelliCare also provides you with statistics on your progress. You can download this app on both Android and iOS devices.
Sober Grid is an app that's geared towards recovering substance users. The app provides 24/7 access to support networks where users can share progress, experiences, and both give and receive support. It's available on both Android and iOS devices.
Headspace has become a popular app. It has many benefits, and it can help with multiple issues. It offers meditation lessons which focus on most aspects of the user's personal life such as relationships, wellness, and performance. It has hundreds of themed sessions—even insomnia sessions. Even busy individuals can benefit from this app, as it accommodates users with busy schedules by providing them with shorter sessions. Its available for both Android and iOS devices.
Recovery Record is an app that's geared towards people who are living with and recovering from eating disorders. It offers meal plans, meal logs, and you can allow your chosen medical and mental health professionals so they can help you in recovery. This app also allows users to journal their way through their recovery and feelings. Progress can also be tracked through this app via questionnaires. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Online Counseling With BetterHelp
There are numerous recent studies showing that online therapy administered through apps or online platforms can be useful for those experiencing issues with anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma, and a number of other mental health concerns. In a study published in Current Psychiatry Reports—a peer-reviewed medical journal—researchers examined the effects of mobile therapy apps for symptoms of depression and anxiety. The report notes that these modalities offer increased accessibility, particularly due to the proliferation of smartphones, and that there is evidence that shows that mobile apps can successfully reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Researchers mention that these apps often include many useful aspects of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a widely accepted form of treatment that helps individuals reframe negative thought patterns that may be underlying unwanted actions or feelings.
As discussed above, online or smartphone-enabled therapy can help you work through complicated emotions arising out of mental health issues. You can check out the BetterHelp application available on both iOS and Android app stores, where you can sign up for therapy with a licensed counselor who will provide you with unique and personalized support through whatever difficulties you may be facing. You’ll fill out your preferences and specific issues you’d like to work on, and BetterHelp will match you with a therapist you'll work with remotely—by video, phone, chat, and messaging. A licensed online counselor knows how to properly utilize the resources available through the BetterHelp app as they guide you on the path to improved mental health. Read below for counselor reviews, from those who have sought help through the BetterHelp app in the past.
“I love the BetterHelp app because it allowed me to put in the specifics of what I was looking for in a therapist as well as what I needed from my therapist. Beverly was the first profile I reviewed and it matched perfectly. She has helped me get through short term concerns as well as long-term problems even when I didn’t have counseling sessions because she gave me so much knowledge I was able to continue practicing the skills that she had taught me when I was not able to have sessions on a regular basis. I’m excited to begin regular sessions again and I’m happy that she is available for me.”
“John is a great listener and engages well across all tools available via the application. He’s responsive to email and text messages and makes the most of any face to face/zoom type sessions. I found his techniques very helpful in working through family issues. Highly recommend John as a counselor. Demonstrates keen insight and empathy.”
Whatever your challenges might be, there's likely an app designed to help. Many of these are either free, or offer free trials, so you can try a few different ones out to see what works for you. Remember, a mental health app is not meant to be a substitute for a doctor or therapist. If you are experiencing serious symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other disorders, you should first reach out to a professional. These apps can, however, help provide you with some useful resources as you work through difficult-to-process emotions.
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