The Ultimate Guide to Mental Health Apps

Mental Health Apps

The digital age has ushered in a new era of mental health support, with a plethora of apps designed to address a wide range of psychological needs. This ultimate guide delves into the diverse landscape of mental health apps, examining how they are transforming the approach to self-care, therapy, and overall mental well-being. As you navigate through this guide, uncover the potential of these digital tools to revolutionize your approach to mental health, offering innovative, accessible, and personalized solutions for those seeking support.

Our lives have undergone a transformative shift owing to the rapid growth of technology. Did you know that currently more than 11 million people live with a mental health condition?[1] More than 20,000 mental health apps exist today[2]. And global spending on mental health apps is expected to reach close to $600 million this year![3] 

These figures reflect the global demand for psychological and emotional support. Technology has played a key role in helping individuals become more aware and has led to an increase in people seeking professional care. 

Previously, for any client, it would be a challenge to find the right therapy, book appointments, and travel to seek help. This would also mean that they have to push through the walls of stigma and then reach your office. 

Mental health apps have been invaluable in bridging this gap. However, mental health apps don’t operate alone and need mental health practitioners to help make them work. A seamless digital experience provides value along with instant and constant support. 

The reason mental health apps have become the norm is because this support feels seamless to clients. The best mental health apps also provide experiential learning, such as Quenza with its vast library of exercises, reflections and more for your clients.

With Quenza, you partner with technology to offer your clients a unique and revolutionized journey for sustained growth. See for yourself by signing up for a 30 day trial for only $1.

The global mental health app market size is rapidly increasing to cater to current demand[4].

Chapter 1

The Importance of Mental Health Apps

Seeking help for your well-being is considered a luxury, and taking out time to find the same is an effortful process. Traditional therapy has overstretched itself to meet the demands of our generation, as there remains a constant shortage of mental health clinicians. As individuals become more aware, the presence of comprehensive and evidence-based mental health apps becomes the need of the hour.

When you can get groceries, medicines and much more delivered to your doorstep, why should seeking help for your mental health be so hard? Many factors have led to a steep contribution to the mental health movement. The COVID pandemic, high need for productivity, excessive screen time, and social isolation are some of the factors that are pushing people to seek help.[5][6][7]

Digital therapy plays a role in meeting individuals midway to let them know that they are not alone. The good news is that these apps cater to a variety of needs and are not limited only to mental health concerns—they can also be used to promote well-being. 

A lot of individuals feel unprepared to see a therapist or counselor right away. Mental health apps are supplementary tools that support their space and pace. Furthermore, they also enhance the effectiveness of your current practice. The beauty of mental health apps lies in their adaptability for both clinicians and clients.

Use of Mental Health Apps

ClinicianClient
PurposeUse apps as per your convenience. Do you want your clients to shift to using mobile apps, or are you looking to supplement your practice?Would you like to work with a mental health professional and the health app at the same time, or would you want to start out with an app first?
AdaptabilityAre you looking for a therapy-driven app or a general wellness app for your clients?You might want an app for general mental well-being or specific concerns such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, and others.
ExampleYou are a CBT practitioner and want an app that can help you send worksheets and assignments to your clients. 
You sign up for a one-month trial period with Quenza and deliver sessions at the same time.
You are ready to improve your mental and emotional health. However, you don’t want to talk directly to a mental health professional. 

Chapter 2

Types of Metal Health Apps

As mentioned earlier, one of the primary advantages of using mental health apps is that they can be tailored to the user’s needs. These apps have become a safe space for many who are yet to try therapy or feel stigma about reaching out for help. There is something in these apps for every one of us.

While each app has its own set of features, there are also differences between them that can help you make the final call. There is no “good” or “bad” app, but it is beneficial to make sure that these apps have some backing from mental health research.

Types of Mental Health Apps

Behavioral Health AppsSelf-Help Therapy AppsMental Health Treatment Apps
DefinitionFocus on the relationship between health, behavior, and emotional well-being.
Are different from general mental health apps that provide a broad range of tools for overall health ( mood trackers, guides, articles )
Address specific behavioral problems, such as eating disorders, addictions, procrastination, etc.
Empowers clients to take control of their own mental health journey.
Make different therapy skills and tools more accessible by drawing on different types of therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
Feature individualized treatment plans, sending resources, progress tracking, and data analysis.
BenefitsPractical, target specific behaviors, and offer toolsEnsure privacy and confidentiality. Tailored to needs. Self-pacedTailored interventions, consistent feedback and monitoring ensure continuity of care.
ExamplesNOCD: primarily treats individuals with Obsessive Compulsive disorder.Headspace: A solid starting point for meditation.
Happify: Easy and positive way to manage stress, based on CBT principles.
Quenza: Offers customizable worksheets and tools drawn from CBT and other therapies.
Quenza: Delivers practitioner-designed assessments, interventions, and exercises and gives real time results that are entirely HIPAA-compliant.

Chapter 3

Best Therapy Apps for Different Needs

Whether you are seeking help for managing anxiety or you are on a quest to find greater meaning in your life, there is an app that can help you achieve your goals. Out of the 20,000 mental health apps, these are only the few most popular ones. 

As the user, you can try these out and see if they work for you. At the end of the day, the ‘best app’ is the one that works out for you and meets your needs. 

a. Anxiety

According to large-population based surveys, about 33.7% of the population is affected by an anxiety disorder in their lifetime[8]. While many individuals are seeking help for these, you don’t necessarily need to be diagnosed with one to use a mental health app. A few of the popular and evidence-based apps are:

  • Calm: An award winning app that can help you with sleep, meditation, and relaxation tools. The aim is to make you feel happier, lighter, and calmer.
  • Breathe2Relax: Developed by the National Center for Telehealth & Technology is a stress management tool. Breathing exercises have been found to help with anxiety and regulate your nervous system[9]. It primarily uses diaphragmatic breathing to feel better.
  • Anxiety Relief Hypnosis: This app employs hyponsis to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

b. Emotional Well-being

What is emotional well-being for you? The answers can be different for all of us. However, one common understanding is that it is not just the absence of a mental illness.

  • Moodnotes: One of the most effective ways to work on your emotional health is to become aware of your triggers. Mood tracking can help you identify your patterns. 
  • Happify: Grounded in positive psychology, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and mindfulness, Happify users can access evidence-based mental health exercises to build resilience, tackle stress, and manage negative thoughts.
  • Sanvello: Users can manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Comes with resources for self-care, therapy, coaching, and peer support.

c. For Psychotherapy

These apps become the perfect companion for clients who are looking for a therapist who can guide and help them individually:

  • Talkspace: Talkspace offers the full spectrum of mental health treatment from licensed clinicians, including individual counseling, couples therapy, mental health care for teens, psychiatric input, and services for businesses and schools.
  • BetterHelp: Offers a large network of mental health professionals that helps you find your right match. 
  • 7 Cups: Apart from licensed therapists, you can also speak to trained listeners who will lend you their ear when you want. This is especially helpful when you just want to vent.

d. Mobile Flexibility

Flexibility and adaptability are key features that therapists can look out for in their online practice. Clients also benefit from this arrangement since there are no physical constraints.

  • Youper: Fusing artificial intelligence with psychological expertise, Youper is a self-help tool for managing and understanding one’s emotions. It acts as an AI chatbot therapist, guiding users through conversations about their feelings and offering actionable insights.
  • MindDoc: A management system allows you to check in on your mood, learn and reinforce your strategies.
  • Simple Habit: Offers on the go 5-minute meditations for various mental health concerns.  

Chapter 4

Therapy Tools and Assessments

Tools and assessments play a pivotal role in gauging well-being, equipping individuals with resources, and improving mental health. Almost all types of treatment planning begin with assessing and formulating a hypothesis.

a. Mental Health Assessment Apps

How will you know if an app or a tool has worked for you? By gradually monitoring and evaluating your progress. Regular monitoring is beneficial for everyone since it helps us reflect on changes from the very beginning.

Often, clients feel discouraged in therapy when they are not able to see progress. But they can do so clearly when using a mental health app. Regular monitoring helps clients and clinicians see patterns, triggers and detect potential issues in a timely fashion.

  • Moodfit: A comprehensive app that allows you to track the connection between your mood and other aspects of your life.
  • MoodMission: Depending on how you are feeling, the app gives its users 5 simple, quick, evidence-based missions to enhance their mood.
  • Quenza: Activities play a key role in continuity of care. Whether it’s exercises, homework assignments, assessments, or online learning, you can easily create stunning activities for your clients and save them to your personal library.
This image depicts the activity builder of the quenza mental health app

b. Therapy Tools Apps

Therapy tools work in tandem with your sessions and provide additional support to clients. You can assign exercises, activities and other resources that can be used in between the sessions. 

This results in smooth data collection over time and empowers your clients to take charge outside the therapy room.

  • Therachat: An easy to use and intuitive app that is created by therapists for therapists. Therachat is a one-stop digital platform where clinical tools and activities are at your fingertips.
  • CBT Thought Diary: Thought diaries play a pivotal role in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Apart from tracking and reframing your thoughts, you also get access to over 100+ assessments and crash courses.
  • T2 Mood Tracker: An app that the National Center for Telehealth & Technology created that enables users to keep track of emotional experiences related to stress, depression, anxiety, and other conditions.

c. Mental Health Tool Apps

Finally, we also have other mental health tools that offer diversity. They offer a range of tools that are interactive and ensure personalization. Many clients find comfort in knowing that there is something to meet their needs, and they won’t be judged for accessing it.

  • Stress & Anxiety Companion: Provides a range of tools to combat anxiety and stress. Emphasizes its utility for employees and modern-day demands.
  • Insight Timer: One of the apps with the largest library of free guided meditations from psychologists, spiritual teachers, and mindfulness practitioners.
  • InnerHour: A comprehensive mental health companion that claims to improve mental health, cultivate mindfulness, and sleep through self-care, therapy, and community support.

Chapter 5

What Makes a Good Therapy App?

With new mental health apps being launched daily, the sea of options can be overwhelming. What separates a good app from the rest? Are there any specific features that you can look out for? One of the best ways to go about selection is through testing. Try out the app, see if it aligns with your needs, and then make the decision.

Key Features of Good Therapy Apps:

Evidence-based

Whether it is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, or positive psychology, it may all look gimmicky to the user if it is not backed up by research. Unfortunately, only a few studies have examined the overall efficacy of mental health apps[10].

Scientifically validated tools and techniques are the backbone of any good app. Users are more likely to feel secure and trusted when an app has scientific support. This also spreads by word of mouth and enhances the company’s reputation. 

It also means that the tools are more likely to work since they have already produced effective results. While there can be geographical and cultural variables that play a role, users are likely to trust the process.

User-friendly design

The truth is, because each practitioner has different needs and works with varying client groups, no app is right for every therapist. However, an intuitive design ensures a seamless experience. 

This also ensures that everyone with any level of expertise can use these apps and not turn it into a frustrating experience. Low engagement and high attrition from mobile interventions have become increasingly common problems[11]. By choosing the right app, you spend less time figuring out the functionalities and more time healing.

This Image depicts expansions found in the Quenza Mental health app

Quenza offers a soothing and seamless design, even in its activities.

Data Privacy

Mental health is private. Any piece of information is a part of an individual’s identity and life story. It deserves the best care and security. Make sure that the app is compliant with security standards that protect user’s data at all costs.

This image depicts privacy features of the Quenza Mental health app

Customizability

No two mental health journeys are identical. Apps like Quenza cherish the power of customization and personalization for the client. Even if two individuals have been diagnosed with anxiety, their experiences may be completely different from each other.

While evidence-based interventions provide a foundation for effective treatment, the expertise and skills of the professional are integral to the successful implementation of these interventions. Therapists play a vital role in facilitating the intervention, adapting it to the individual’s needs, and ensuring its proper execution.

Regular Updates

Like mental health, even apps undergo regular changes. A good app regularly introduces updates based on ongoing studies. Research is an ever-changing field, and tools that worked yesterday may not work for today’s problems. 

By regularly updating their content, apps reduce dropout rates and keep their users engaged.

User Reviews and Ratings: What Are the Best Therapy Apps According to Users?

Firsthand experiences are valuable resources for determining the best app. As mentioned before, while users are the best critics, your experience may be completely different. This can also vary depending on individual concerns and preferences. 

However, reviews are one of the windows that allow you to gain insights into the internal world of mental health apps. Here are some well-liked therapy apps that have received positive user reviews:

  • Headspace: Headspace is a mindfulness app that includes meditations and practical exercises for stress, sleep, productivity, and focus, plus psychoeducational videos on mindfulness and related concepts. 
  • Woebot: Is an AI-driven chatbot grounded in CBT. Interventions can be used independently or in addition to traditional therapy.
  • 10% Happier: Provides courses, talks, and guided meditations taught by qualified meditation teachers to assist people in developing mindfulness.

Chapter 6

EMerging Trends in Digital Therapy

New trends are coming to the fore as technology and mental health continue to intersect. Accessible and personalized care are among the biggest trends. As technology advances, our ability to offer sophisticated and tailored solutions also increases. 

Trends like AI for mental health are undergoing massive research to investigate the various aspects of mental health research[12]. As a professional, keeping up with the trends helps you keep up with the latest mental health technology.

The Evolution of Digital Solutions for Tailored Therapeutic Interventions

Therapy has indeed gone digital and these apps are a testament to awareness about individual therapeutic needs. This journey has just begun, and it holds a lot of significance in re-defining the therapeutic world. When individuals receive tailored interventions, they receive care that they deserve and will benefit from.

  • SuperBetter: An app driven towards enhancing youth mental health. The app uses the psychology of game play to achieve epic wins in all of life. 
  • TogetherAI: Thinking of therapy for your family? This AI app aims to improve communication between children and their parents.

Best Apps Apart in Terms of User Experience and Effectiveness

In terms of intuitive design, evidence-based methods, and continuous support, these apps stand out from the rest:

  • Calm: The app offers daily calm sessions, bedtime stories for adults, guided breathing exercises, and masterclass sessions by experts. It is widely recognized for its serene user interface and overall experience.
  • Talkspace: Talkspace is an online therapy platform through which employees can find and connect with mental health practitioners. After signing up for the web or mobile app, users are matched with a therapist and can leave them messages 24/7 in a private virtual room.
  • Quenza: Quenza is perfect for planning, designing, and delivering mental health interventions such as exercises, CBT tools, and lessons. Perhaps the best thing about this platform is the user-friendly drag-and-drop activity builder that allows you to create fully bespoke resources from scratch in minutes. 

Quenza also comes with a Pathway tool that greatly simplifies treatment planning and a library of science-based therapy and coaching templates (Expansions) that can be customized and delivered through the free client app.

c. Mental Health Tool Apps vs. Mental Health Therapy Applications: Weighing the Pros and Cons

While both of these categories offer valuable resources for mental health, they serve different primary functions.

Mental Health Tool AppsMental Health Therapy Apps
ProsSpecific resources such as trackers, breathing tools, and more
Easy and quick to use
Can be easily supplemented with other therapy tools
Holistic resources for mental health that are based on therapeutic methods
Offer connectivity with professionals and therapy programs.
ConsAre not comprehensive as therapy apps
The focus is on general well-being, less personalization
Time consuming and multi-step process

Conclusion

As our lives become further intertwined with technology and virtual platforms, the importance of therapy apps in mental health care is undeniable. Mental health apps strive to build a bridge between the present-day demand and the latest technological advancements. 

The diversity allows you to begin your journey towards mental health at any moment. Whether it is working on long-lasting concerns or venting to someone, there is an app waiting for you. However, with great power to choose comes great responsibility to discern.

Whether you are a client or practitioner, it is important to take the time to find the mental health app that works for you. Technology is going to keep advancing day by day, but your inputs will define and refine it. This marks the end of our ultimate guide to mental health apps. Which app would you want to start with today?

If you are still unsure, take a ride with Quenza. It is one of the most fully-featured and flexible online therapy apps to increase client engagement, scale your practice, and manage the daily administrative duties of your therapy business. Most importantly, have fun browsing and customizing activities and tools to dive into the world of mental health.

To get started, sign up for a one-month full-access trial of the Quenza app for only $1.

Frequently Asked Questions

Therapy apps are effective supplements to traditional therapy—not a substitute. They are also a starting point for those who are not yet ready to seek face-to-face therapy. It is important to consult with a professional about what will work for you.

This can depend on your needs. Are you looking for something short-term or would you like ongoing assistance? Do you need help with learning tools or would you like to reflect on your internal patterns? You may benefit from taking a few trials and seeing which works best for you.

Most reputable apps ensure that they comply to security standards. However, as the user, you should always be on the lookout for potential shortcomings in this area.

Some apps do offer a free trial period, while others offer a subscription model. This can vary depending on the types of features and tools being offered to the user.

Again, this depends on your needs but you absolutely can. For instance, if you are a practitioner and want to send activities to your clients, you can use Quenza. Additionally, if you are looking for them to start meditations everyday, you can ask them to start using Calm.

References

  1. ^ World Health Organization. (2022). World mental health report: transforming mental health for all.
  2. ^ Kaveladze, B., Wasil, A. R., Bunyi, J., Ramirez, V., & Schueller, S. M. (2022). User experience, engagement, and popularity in mental health apps: Secondary analysis of app analytics and expert app reviews. JMIR Human Factors, 9(1), e30766. https://doi.org/10.2196/30766.
  3. ^ Auxier, B., Bucaille, A., & Westcott, K. (2021). Mental health goes mobile: The mental health app market will keep on growing. Deloitte Insights.
  4. ^ Mental Health Apps Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Platform Type (Android, iOS), By Application Type (Depression And Anxiety Management, Stress Management), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2023 - 2030. (n.d.). https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/mental-health-apps-market-report.
  5. ^ Zhong, B., Jiang, Z., Xie, W., & Qin, X. (2020). Association of Social Media Use With Mental Health Conditions of Nonpatients During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Insights from a National Survey Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(12), e23696. https://doi.org/10.2196/23696.
  6. ^ Kitagawa, R., Kuroda, S., Okudaira, H., & Owan, H. (2021). Working from Home: Its Effects on Productivity and Mental Health. RePEc: Research Papers in Economics. https://econpapers.repec.org/RePEc:eti:dpaper:21024.
  7. ^ Loades, M., Chatburn, E., Higson-Sweeney, N., Reynolds, S., Shafran, R., Brigden, A., Linney, C., McManus, M., Borwick, C., & Crawley, E. (2020). Rapid Systematic Review: The Impact of Social isolation and Loneliness on the Mental health of children and Adolescents in the context of COVID-19. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59(11), 1218-1239.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2020.05.009.
  8. ^ Bandelow, B., & Michaelis, S. (2015). Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 17(3), 327–335. https://doi.org/10.31887/dcns.2015.17.3/bbandelow/.
  9. ^ Decker, J. T., Brown, J. L. C., Ashley, W., & Lipscomb, A. E. (2019). Mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises: reduced anxiety for clients and self-care for social work interns. Social Work With Groups, 42(4), 308–322. https://doi.org/10.1080/01609513.2019.1571763.
  10. ^ Weisel, K. K., Fuhrmann, L., Berking, M., Baumeister, H., Cuijpers, P., & Ebert, D. D. (2019). Standalone smartphone apps for mental health—a systematic review and meta-analysis. Npj Digital Medicine, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41746-019-0188-8.
  11. ^ Torous, J., Lipschitz, J. M., Ng, M. M., & Firth, J. (2020). Dropout rates in clinical trials of smartphone apps for depressive symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 263, 413–419. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.11.167.
  12. ^ Morrison, C. (2022). Emerging Innovations in Digital Mental Health: A Deeper Dive.

About the author

Janvi is a therapist, writer, and editor with three years of experience fact-checking and reviewing research-based content. She has specialized in Clinical Psychology and has helped write and review a plethora of academic and feature articles.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.