Mental health apps can be a convenient way to support your psychological and emotional wellbeing or deliver treatment as a mental health provider.
Whether you’re looking for a better way to meditate, journal, or implement self-help techniques for managing anxiety, here are some of the most valuable, helpful, and evidence-based mental health apps available today.
Overview: Best Mental Health Apps of 2023
- Best for Professionals: Quenza
- Best Free App: Sanvello
- Best for Teens and Students: Calm
- Best for Journaling: MoodKit
- Best for Games: Happify
- Best for Depression: MoodTools
- Best for Anxiety: SAM Self-Help Management for Anxiety
- Best for Meditation: Headspace
What Are Mental Health Apps?
A mental health app is a type of software for smartphones or tablets that is designed to help you improve your wellbeing or mental health.
These apps might enable you to monitor your mood, self-manage symptoms of a condition, or practice exercises to overcome psychological challenges, among other things.
Mental health apps are often focused on specific areas related to wellbeing, helping you manage or treat depression, anxiety, or insomnia, to name a few.
Are They Effective?
While not designed to be a substitute for professional mental health treatment, there is research suggesting that apps can play a helpful role in treating certain disorders.
Specifically, data suggests that tools used to deliver guided internet cognitive-behavioral therapy can be as effective as in-person CBT, and studies into e-therapy for the treatment of anxiety have yielded similar results.
How To Choose an Evidence-Based Mental Health App
The mental health app market is full of tools that claim to treat certain conditions, but not all of them are designed with input from professionals.
A reliable and safe way to choose the right app for your purposes is to select an evidence-based app—a research-informed solution that has been evaluated by mental health experts and determined as effective for the treatment of your specific symptoms.
Evidence-based mental health apps can help you implement approaches that have been thoroughly studied and are backed by supporting data, such as CBT, mindfulness, or ACT.
We’ve reviewed evidence-based apps in this article and chosen the best based on their features, price, and user reviews.
3 Best Apps To Help Your Clients
In the tables below, we’ve reviewed three great apps that can help users manage, track, and improve their own mental health.
|MoodKit was developed by experts and comes packed with tips and tools for everyday life:|
|Good for||Anyone who wants to boost their own mood|
|This app provides information, assessments, videos, and more to help users with their mental health:|
|Good for||Anyone struggling with feelings of sadness or depression|
|TalkLife is a smartphone app with which users can get peer support for their mental health: |
|Good for||People who are feeling lonely or struggling with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or self-harm|
3 Top Apps For Students and Teens
Smartphones are an accessible, convenient way for teenagers and students to get additional help alongside therapy.
We’ve reviewed three apps that are affordable, appropriate, and potentially helpful for users in this age group.
|Happify is a mental health games app designed by experts and based on principles of positive psychology, mindfulness, and CBT:|
|Good for||People who want to be happier, more mindful, and more resilient|
|Price||$11.67 – $14.99/month (based on billing) or $449.99 (lifetime membership)|
|Calm offers multiple tools for a happier, healthier user and was named Apple’s 2017 app of the year:|
|Good for||Anyone interested in meditation, mindfulness, and better sleep|
|Price||$69.99/year or $399.99 (lifetime membership)|
|This science-based app is focused on managing symptoms of anxiety:|
|Name||SAM: Self-Help for Anxiety Management|
|Good for||People struggling with anxiety|
|More info||SAM: Self-Help for Anxiety Management|
3 Mobile Apps for Professionals
If you’re a psychologist, professional counselor, or another type of mental health care provider, there are several apps that can help you run your practice and deliver treatments more effectively.
Check out the tables below for three of the best available apps.
|Quenza gives practitioners all the tools they need to plan, deliver, and monitor e-therapy treatments:|
|Good For||Solo practitioners, Coaches, Mental Health Providers|
|Owl Practice is a practice management software and web-based app ideal for treating patients according to a personalized plan:|
|Good For||Solo Practitioners, Multi-provider Practices|
|More info||Owl Practice|
|TherapyZen is another web-based platform with no Android or Apple apps; however, it offers a range of tools for therapists to deliver treatment more efficiently:|
|Good For||Solo providers, Multi-provider Practices|
3 Journaling Apps for Mental Health
Journaling apps enable users to track their experiences, thoughts, moods, or symptoms over time.
The following self-help mental health apps cover a range of different focus areas:
|CBT Thought Diary is based on CBT techniques and guides users through journaling for negative thoughts:|
|Name||CBT Thought Diary|
|Good for||People struggling with their emotional well-being|
|More info||CBT Thought Diary|
|Optimism is a gratitude journaling app based on research conducted by well-known positive psychologists:|
|Good for||Anyone interested in practicing gratitude|
|MindShift is another evidence-based CBT app that offers free techniques to help users manage anxiety:|
|Good for||People with anxiety|
3 Free Mental Health Apps
Evidence-based apps don’t have to be expensive, and there are plenty of reliable, free resources available for students, clients, or anyone looking for a lower-cost alternative.
|Sanvello is one of a few mental health apps that take insurance, offering:|
|Good for||People with stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma-related conditions|
|Price||Free (basic app) or $8.99/month and up (self-care portion)|
|Headspace is a mindfulness and meditation app to help users reduce stress, improve their sleep, and enhance their mood:|
|Good for||Anyone who would like to be more mindful|
|Price||Free (basics) or $12.99/month (access to all content)|
|InsightTimer is a meditation and mindfulness app with individual and company plans:|
|Good for||People interested in meditation and mindfulness|
Are there mental health apps that take insurance?
There are a few apps that accept insurance, which can help cover the cost of specific features—Owl Practice, TherapyZen, and Sanvello are three that we’ve reviewed in this article.
Online therapy providers that specialize in live, professional mental health treatment also frequently partner with insurance companies to reduce the cost of therapy. Click here for our reviews of top mental health platforms that fall into this category.
How do mental health apps work?
Depending on the type of support that you’re looking for, there are a few ways you might make use of your specific app.
Some apps include guided meditations for users to listen to on demand, such as InsightTimer or Headspace. Others, such as Quenza, might simplify how you interact with your professional therapist and allow you to receive personalized, medically sound treatment more conveniently.
Choosing the best app for you means considering how well it addresses your specific mental health challenges and whether it fits your budget.
You’ll also want to think about whether you are likely to benefit from the app’s particular features: will you realistically journal every day, record your mood, or complete interactive exercises? What would be most impactful for you?
Can I use apps to prescribe medication?
This piece introduced fifteen mental health-related apps that can provide mood-boosting, practice-improving, and life-enhancing value. While these fifteen apps made the cut for inclusion here, there are tons of other apps out there that you may find to be effective for you or your clients.
If you’re a therapist, it’s a good idea to do some research on apps in your specialty and try some of them out for yourself to ensure you’re recommending only the best for your clients.
The bottom line is that apps are the therapeutic tools of the future. If you want to offer your clients the most impactful tools for growth, healing, and self-development, you’ll want to start incorporating apps like these. Why not start your $1, 30-day trial of Quenza today?
- ^ Kessler, D., Lewis, G., Kaur, S., Wiles, N., King, M., Weich, S., & Peters, T. J. (2009). Therapist-delivered Internet psychotherapy for depression in primary care: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 374(9690), 628-634.
- ^ Olthuis, J. V., Watt, M. C., Bailey, K., Hayden, J. A., & Stewart, S. H. (2016). Therapist‐supported Internet cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety disorders in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3).
- ^ Lui, J. H., Marcus, D. K., & Barry, C. T. (2017). Evidence-based apps? A review of mental health mobile applications in a psychotherapy context. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 48(3), 199.