Mobile use now represents about 65% of media time, and approximately 90% of this time is spent using mobile apps. As a result, mental health related apps are becoming more and more prevalent. While we do not recommend relying on these or other apps as a primary form of assistance, some research from NIH suggests that these types of supplementary programs may have real value when used in conjunction with traditional treatment.
This app is aimed at children and teens wanting to improve their general mental health through daily quests and tasks. It allows you to check in with your mood and and keep track of your appointments and medication. It’s not specifically for eating disorders, but it’s a great way track and improve your coping skills and self-care.
Breathe2Relax is an app developed for stress management. It walks users through breathing exercises that help to reduce stress , stabilize mood, control anger, and manage anxiety. The app’s developers note that it can be used on its own to help reduce stress or in combination with other therapies.
iOS | Android
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one approach to managing depression and other mental health problems. This app helps you monitor your moods with an assessment test that tracks the severity of your depressed moods and provides several resources aimed at educating you about the flawed thought patterns that may be worsening your depression. There are also audio programs for relaxation and depression assistance.
This app helps you code thoughts surrounding your eating disorder so you can get to grips with how often they occur. It also uses cognitive behavioral techniques to challenge your food worries with useful tips on how to manage stress and anxiety surrounding your diet.
Targeted to anyone who wants to learn meditation to reduce anxiety and stress and improve their attention and awareness; good for a beginner to establish a regular meditative routine. The skills taught include mindfulness and cognitive diffusion, breathing exercises, meditation practice, tips for increased relaxation, concentration; may be applied to anxiety and depressive disorders, PTSD, and OCD, especially in conjunction with a health provider.
Health Through Breath
Stress contributes to many symptoms of ill health, including depression. Health Through Breath is one app that attempts to soothe your mind and body through relaxation. According to the app’s makers, relaxation techniques can have benefits for people who have depression as well as migraines, high blood pressure, asthma, and more. It features guided, slow breathing techniques to help you learn to relax deeply and quickly.
IntelliCare is a suite of apps developed by researchers at Northwestern University to target symptoms of depression and anxiety. The apps were developed as a part of a national research study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The suite includes the IntelliCare Hub app and 12 mini apps. The Hub helps users manage their preferences and recommends apps based on their concerns.
Created by Kristen Hertog while she was suffering from anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder herself, the Kissy Project is geared specifically toward teens in recovery. You’ll find motivational quotes and an inspirational blog that’s regularly updated. You can also participate in weekly tasks, earning rewards for positive behavior.
iOS | Android
Lantern is a web- and mobile-based platform that combines cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques with advice from real experts. Users start by taking an assessment test to determine their strengths and weaknesses in five areas: body, stress/anxiety, mood, sleep, and social life. Lantern provides daily exercises tailored to suit users’ needs based on the results of their assessment. Each user is also matched with a professional coach trained in CBT who can provide feedback and answer any questions.
Targeted to help adolescents, teens, and young adults gain insight into and basic skills to manage their symptoms of anxiety disorders, including GAD, social anxiety, specific phobias, and panic attacks. It’s also useful for managing worry, performance anxiety, test anxiety, and perfectionism. The skills taught may be applied to individuals with physical, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral manifestations of anxiety, providing users with more helpful, balanced ways of thinking about feared situations.
Operation Reach Out
When that feeling of hopelessness is at its greatest, people who have depression need help more than ever. The Operation Reach Out app can provide that help. Download the app and store emergency contact information in it. Then, when you feel at your lowest, you can easily contact help. The app also comes with preloaded numbers to suicide prevention hotlines and several helpful videos.
iOS | Android
Targeted to help those with anxiety and mood disorders and stress, this app teaches deep breathing, behavioral exercises, excises and identifying cognitive distortions (negative thinking patterns), and learning how to replace them with positive thinking patterns. It’s also good for those experiencing bouts of anxiety between treatment sessions. The app does a terrific job of personalizing one’s cause of anxiety using voice recordings, and introducing CBT and reinforcing exercises between therapist appointments. This app is designed to be used in conjunction with therapy, not as a substitute for professional treatment.
iOS | Android
Positive Activity Jackpot
The temptation to stay indoors and crawl under the covers can be intense when you suffer from depression. Getting out into the world and enjoying social activities, however, is often precisely what the doctor would order. The Positive Activity Jackpot helps you break free of this introverted inclination and offers suggestions for nearby activities. We like that the app makes a game of something that a depressed individual might otherwise dread.
The things we surround ourselves with certainly have the potential to affect our moods. Positive Thinking is an app that provides a massive collection of positive quotes to help you keep your mind on good things rather than worries and stress. You can add to the collection, store your favorites, and share the quotes on social media.
iOS | Android
PTSD Coach is an app developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD, intended for use by veterans, military personnel, and civilians experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It provides a self-assessment tool that allows users to track symptoms over time (though it does not clinically diagnose PTSD) as well as tools for managing symptoms. Users can also store contacts for personal support, locate nearby treatment programs, and contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline quickly in emergencies.
SAM (Self-Help for Anxiety Management)
SAM is an app designed to help people manage their anxiety. Users can record their anxiety levels and identify different triggers. The app includes 25 self-help options to help users cope with the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety. Users can create a personalized anxiety toolkit, adding in the features of the app that they find most useful for easy access. The app also has a social cloud feature that allows users to anonymously share their experiences with other SAM users.
Secret of Happiness
Sometimes, our brains need help breaking out of a destructive cycle. The Secret of Happiness is designed to give you a regular schedule of positive thinking as a way to train your brain to think more on the bright side. No one would suggest the cure to depression is as simple as turning your frown upside down, but this app can help you get in the practice of thinking positively. We like that the app asks for a 30-day commitment – enough time to develop a new habit.
Maintaining a proper sleep schedule is important to keeping the symptoms of depression at bay. Sleep Cycle is one of the best sleep management apps available, analyzing your sleep to determine when you are in deep sleep or light sleep. It uses this information to wake you up when you will be least prone to still feeling tired, and most prone to feeling well rested. Don’t worry about missing an important appointment – you set your alarm as you normally would, and it will wake you at the best moment somewhere in the 30 minutes leading up to your deadline.
Adults aren’t the only ones who struggle with depression, and the makers of Smiling Mind had all age groups in mind when developing this app. Designed to teach you the value of guided meditation, the app features several free meditation programs, classified according to the ages they’re appropriate for, with sessions appropriate for those younger than seven years old and into adulthood. We like the ability to track total minutes spent in meditation and earn achievements.
T2 Mood Tracker
Helps individuals track their emotional states and how they change over time for personal insight and accurate reporting to a mental health professional. The skills taught may be applied to individuals with depression, anxiety, stress, trauma-related feelings, any other self-identified emotional states, as well as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), chronic pain; customizable for sleep and other issues.
iOS | Android
Talkspace seeks to make therapy more available by connecting users with one of over 200 licensed therapists via messaging. With a subscription to Talkspace, users get matched to a therapist that they can chat with at any time. The creators of Talkspace note that their app is not meant to be a substitute for in-person therapy, and their therapists are trained to identify when users need more extensive help than the app can provide.
Your M3 score is a number to help you and your doctor understand if you have a treatable mood disorder. You can monitor your score to see how your mental health is changing over time. This app is targeted to help individuals rate various symptoms of mood disorders to determine the impact it may have on their functioning. This app may help those with major depression, bipolar, anxiety disorders and PTSD quickly determine if they need to speak to their primary care physician about a possible mental health condition that needs treatment.