Our list of the 10 best mental health apps can serve a valuable purpose among a population plagued by stress. At no time during our recent history have so many people been diagnosed with a mental illness, and the numbers are growing. Many people are unable to afford professional treatment to address these conditions, leaving them feeling alone and hopeless. Others are reluctant to get help because of the stigma attached to psychiatric health.
In recent years, more health-related apps have popped up than ever before, and with them—a proliferation of apps meant to address mental health conditions. These apps offer a discreet way to help people who are struggling to manage their feelings. At a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy, consumers can access methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, rapid eye movement therapy, meditation and breathing techniques, and a host of other resources.
Most importantly, these apps can be accessed within minutes at a price most can afford. In many cases, they can be had for free.
If you are looking for other ways of coping with stress, anxiety, depression, and other conditions, read on to check out our favorite mental health apps.
1. What’s Up
What’s up is an entirely free app that utilizes both Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) methods to help users cope with distress. The app offers a tracker to help build on healthy behaviors and eliminate those that don’t serve you. It features questionnaires, lessons, and helpful material to help you with common thinking errors. For those with mild to moderate issues, it can help pinpoint relevant issues and assist you in moving from harmful patterns of thinking.
2. Twenty-Four Hours a Day
This app by Hazelton press is based on the bestselling book, Twenty-Four Hours a Day. It is an ideal accompaniment to those in recovery to help them stay focused. The app features daily messages for practicing the 12 steps to recovery, along with notifications and the ability to bookmark and share your favorite pages with friends. Available on IOS and Android, it can be had for $5.99.
3. Mind Shift
Mind Shift was specially designed for young adults experiencing anxiety. Instead of teaching you ways to avoid your feelings, the app is geared toward changing your thought patterns. Using strategies based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBD), the app gently and kindly teaches individuals the art of mindfulness and relaxation. Intended as a scientifically based tool for managing anxiety, it offers tools like coping cards and audio recordings to help ease stress and fear.
Specifically created for people who have bipolar disorder, eMoods offers a way for users to track their moods and symptoms throughout the day. Using a monthly color-coded calendar, an individual can keep track of the severity of their mood changes and identify ways to avoid triggers. The app even offers the ability to export a summary each month to share with your mental health practitioner so you can pinpoint areas that need work.
The app is free on both iOS and Android.
Happify sounds a little hokey, but the premise is scientifically sound. Built by some of the world’s leading psychologists, the app offers activities, games, and brain teasers to help train your mind to overcome negative thought patterns. Free on iOS and Android, Happify is best for those who want to improve their outlook on life and move forward in positive ways.
6. Talkspace Online Therapy
Sometimes, people need a little more than a feel-good app to help them out of a funk, and that’s where Talkspace comes in. For those who can’t afford regular counseling but need support from a trained professional, the app offers a membership-based program. Fees start at $65 a week, and patients will have access to a mental health professional as often as necessary, with daily responses and support. Plans are also available for couple’s therapy.
nOCD was explicitly designed to help those with obsessive-compulsive disorders. The app uses a combination of exposure therapy along with mindfulness. Those who take advantage of the service can get fast clinically-supported help when they experience an OCD episode. The app offers a way to assess symptoms weekly and provides support from OCD specialists and patients who have been there, with the goal being to help lessen uncomfortable symptoms. Created by people who have overcome OCD, the organization truly recognizes the struggles of those with this disorder and is on a mission to help. The app is free on IOS.
8. PTSD Coach
The VA Center formed PTSD Coach, and it was intended to provide education, support, and care for those who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You don’t need to be a veteran to utilize the app, which provides a range of tools to help assess your level of distress and keep track of your symptoms.
The app is customizable based on your own needs and allows you to upload your own helpful tools such as music, photos, and documents to keep you on track. It is free to use on both iOS and Android.
9. Recovery Record
For people dealing with eating disorders, Recovery Record is an ideal way to help develop a better body image and work with others to achieve your goals. The app allows you to record your meals and make a note of how you feel after eating, as well as give you a way to vent and receive support from other members. Patients and physicians have raved about this app, and it appears in several studies to be one of the most useful tools for eating disorders to date.
We would be remiss in any review of mental health apps to leave out notOK. This platform, developed by a teenager and her brother, is intended to help alert friends, family members, and a support network when someone is feeling suicidal. The app features a prominent red button that will message up to five contacts with the GPS location of the person in distress. The message itself reads: “Hey, I’m not OK! Please call, text, or come find me.” For parents and those concerned about a loved one who suffers from addiction or depression, the app can serve as some extra peace of mind and a lifeline between catastrophe and help.
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By BCR Staff