Mental health and therapy apps are mobile applications designed to help individuals improve their emotional well-being and address common mental health issues.
In this article, we will review the best mental health apps and therapy apps to provide you with all the necessary information to form an unbiased opinion.
Best mental health apps: shortlist
- Calmerry — best online therapy app
- Sensa — best mental health and therapy app for stress relief
- Circles — best mental health app for emotional support
- Talkspace — best therapy app for depression
- Headspace — best free mental health app
- Calm — best relaxation app for sleep
- Yours App — best mental health app for meditation
How did we compile the list of the top mental health apps?
In order to help you choose the best apps for mental health, we provided a comprehensive analysis of certain criteria. Here is a list of key factors.
|Cost of the app (ranging from free versions to $396.00/month)
|Unbiased product reviews, ratings
|Features and functionality
|In-app features for mental health
|Data privacy and security
|Policy, compliance, confidentiality
- Ease of use. We prioritized apps with a user-friendly interface, proper customer support and intuitive navigation to ensure easy access and a positive user experience.
- Price. We considered the cost of the app, whether it is a one-time purchase or a subscription-based service. Also, if it offers value for money based on its features and functionalities.
- Customer feedback. We analyzed reviews and ratings from other users to gauge their satisfaction with the app, its effectiveness, and whether it addresses their mental health needs.
- Features and functionality. We evaluated the range of features available in the app, such as mood tracking, guided meditations, CBT exercises, journaling, and goal setting to make sure they align with specific mental health goals and preferences of the users.
Best mental health and therapy apps in 2024: overview
We have thoroughly reviewed all the important factors required for an extensive overview. This includes the product features, functionality, scientific evidence and pricing.
Here is a comprehensive overview of the best and most relevant mental health and therapy apps.
1. Calmerry — best online therapy app
Calmerry is an online therapy and counseling platform dedicated to improving mental well-being. The platform offers a range of therapeutic services to address various mental health issues, from anxiety and stress to PTSD and relationship challenges.
With a focus on accessibility, Calmerry provides quick client-counselor matching, flexible subscription options tailored to fit different budgets, and the convenience of free counselor switching. All therapists on the platform are licensed professionals, ensuring that users receive the highest quality of mental health care.
Calmerry employs security measures to protect the confidentiality and integrity of personal information. Users have rights concerning their data, like accessing, correcting, deleting, or objecting to processing, under applicable data protection laws.
According to online reviews, users appreciate the flexibility offered by the platform.
Calmerry is available on Android and iOS devices. The platform provides monthly subscription plans ranging from $228.00 monthly (after the first month at $198.00) to $360.00 monthly (after the first month at $293.00). Additional live sessions can be purchased, with one 30-minute session costing $45.00, two for $84.00, and four for $160.00.
2. Sensa — best mental health and therapy app for stress relief
Sensa offers a range of features based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that can provide stress relief. This type of therapy helps you identify irrational thoughts and behavior patterns and replace them with more realistic and helpful thoughts to improve your mental well-being.
The app may benefit individuals dealing with ADHD and procrastination by offering structured self-improvement routines and education on managing their mental health.
According to Sensa reviews online, users describe the app as a mental health coach in their pocket and appreciate its focus on CBT-based mental health management.
Research has shown that using the Sensa app was related to decreased depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms.
The platform processes personal data for various purposes including operating their website, providing services, ensuring the security of their platform, and communicating with users.
Sensa app is available on iOS and Android devices. It offers multiple monthly subscription plan options:
|$29.99, billed monthly
|$59.97, billed every 3 months ($19.99 per month)
|$89.94, billed every 6 months ($14.99 per month)
For an additional cost, the app provides added functionalities like a collection of mindful recipes and guided meditation sessions.
3. Circles — best mental health app for emotional support
Circles is an innovative support platform designed to help individuals facing various emotional challenges, including anxiety, sadness, overwhelm, relationship issues, and grief.
According to user testimonials, Circles may provide users with the necessary support needed to express their feelings and navigate difficult times.
This app stands out by offering 24/7 support, ensuring users can access the help they need anytime and anywhere.
One of its core features is fostering a sense of community among Circles’ users, helping them to feel seen, understood, and never alone.
Additionally, the platform provides masterclass workshops for personal development taught by experts.
The Circles App is available for $29.99 per month and offers a 7-day free trial.
4. Talkspace — best therapy app for depression
Talkspace is an app connecting users with licensed therapists through online therapy sessions. It provides a convenient and accessible platform for individuals seeking professional mental health support. Talkspace stands out for being the most insurance-covered therapy service in the United States.
Research studies have found Talkspace online therapy to be an effective treatment for anxiety and depression.
Users appreciate the convenience and affordability of Talkspace, including the ease of checking in.
Talkspace utilizes advanced data-driven tools to personalize care, provide insights to mental health professionals, and enhance care continuity. Personal data is used to provide services, match users to therapists, process insurance claims, and administer user accounts.
The app is available on iOS, Android, and web browsers. Talkspace offers 3 therapy subscription plans:
|Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus
|Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium
|Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate
5. Headspace — best free mental health app
Headspace is a widely recognized mental health app offering guided meditation and mindfulness exercises to reduce anxiety. It provides users with tools to ease stress, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being.
The app may be best suited for individuals looking to start or deepen their meditation practice, particularly those interested in learning mindfulness techniques in a non-intimidating environment.
According to scientific evidence, the use of Headspace reduced depression in 75% of reviewed studies that evaluated it as an outcome. Based on user reviews, the app is more suitable for individuals who are new to the practice or require additional guidance in their journey.
The app has received mixed reviews, with some praising its user-friendly interface and effectiveness in teaching meditation, while others have rated it lower due to automatic subscription renewal features.
The platform emphasizes the security of personal data by adhering to generally accepted standards to protect data during transmission and upon receipt. It also maintains Maintains technical, administrative, and physical safeguards against unauthorized access, destruction, loss, alteration, misuse, or disclosure of personal information.
Headspace is available on iOS, Android, and web browsers.
The app offers a free download with trial access and limited features. To unlock full access, you can upgrade to:
|$12.99/month with a 7-day trial
|Get 14 days free with a $69.99 annual subscription
Student and family plans are also available.
6. Calm — best relaxation app for sleep
Calm is a comprehensive mental health app focusing on reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and promoting relaxation. It aims to create a serene and calming experience for users by providing sleep stories, breath exercises, movement practices, mindfulness lessons and more.
Evidence shows that using Calm may improve sleep — which could also lead to increased productivity.
The platform uses the collected information to provide and maintain services, process transactions, send administrative messages, monitor and analyze trends, comply with legal obligations, and personalize user experiences. It also creates anonymous or aggregated data for reporting and promotional purposes.
User testimonials indicate a general satisfaction with positive reviews on consistent technical improvements and a range various of features.
Calm is available on Android and iOS devices and has received positive feedback for its content quality and calming experience.
The app is free to download. Choosing to sign up for a 7-day trial, will automatically enroll you for Calm Premium, which costs $69.99/year or $14.99/month. You can cancel up to 1 day before your trial ends to avoid being charged. Calm also offers a lifetime membership for $399.99.
7. Yours App — best mental health app for meditation
Yours App is a mental health app provider that assists users with managing their mental health and achieving a better quality of life. It focuses on meditation in tandem with autonomous sensory meridian (ASMR) practices. The app provides a convenient access to mental health resources and simulates sensory content such as whispering, crisp sounds, slow movements and personal attention.
Given the amount of meditation and mindfulness features that the platform offers, YoursApp stands out for its cheaper price compared to most of the other popular mental health apps.
Users have shared positive testimonials about the Yours App, finding it helpful in managing stress, improving sleep, and enhancing focus.
Yours App is available on iOS and Android devices. The app offers a 7-day free trial with 2 subscription options of $6.99/month or $59.99/year.
Comparing the best mental health apps
|Starting from $228.00/month
|iOS - N/A
Android - 2.2/5
|Live video, audio, and messaging therapy
|Ability to switch therapists for free, all plans include mood tracking tool and online journal
|Not covered by private insurance, doesn't offer phone therapy
|Starting from $29.99/month
|iOS - 4.7/5 Android - 4.5/5
|Progress tracking, mood journaling, quick relief exercises, and self-paced lessons
|Tracking features and insights, app's user-friendly interface
|Sensors are not always accurate, too expensive
|iOS - 4.8/5 Android - 4.4/5
|Support group meetings, masterclass workshops, peer-to-peer support
|Unlimited access to group meetings, peers have the ability to start their own support groups
|Moderators may not always be qualified
|Starting from $260.00/month
|iOS - 4.7/5 Android - 4.3/5
|Access to licensed therapists through messaging and live video sessions
|Affordable for users with no insurances, flexible appointment times
|Therapists are not always responsive, issues with therapist matching system
|iOS - 4.8/5 Android - 4.7/5
|Meditation, mindfulness, stress relief
|Guided meditations, sleep aids, and stress-relief exercises
|Easy-to-follow exercises, varied content
|Too simplistic, repetitive
What are mental health apps?
Mental health apps help individuals improve their emotional well-being, address common mental health issues, and practice mindfulness and self-care techniques.
Typically used on smartphones or tablets, these apps offer convenient and accessible resources for mental health support. They can also serve various needs such as providing tools for managing stress, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health conditions.
When it comes to targeting psychological conditions, mental health apps provide specific functions — including guided meditation, relaxation techniques, mood monitoring, and sleep aid. They also provide educational material related to mental health and overall wellness.
What are therapy apps?
Therapy apps provide support, tools, and resources to improve mental well-being and address common mental health concerns. They are intended to supplement traditional therapy or serve as standalone tools for self-help and self-care.
These apps often incorporate evidence-based therapies and interventions, offering users activities, techniques, and guidance to manage their mental health on a daily basis. Many of the therapy apps aim to enhance overall wellness, improve focus and productivity while promoting positive thinking.
The key features of these apps include helping users track their mood, set goals, develop healthy habits, and provide ongoing support beyond therapy sessions or office visits.
Are mental health apps and therapy apps the same?
The difference between mental health apps and therapy apps lies in their focus and functionality. While both types of apps aim to address mental health issues, they approach it from different perspectives and offer distinct features.
|Mental health apps
|Psychological and emotional health
|Same as mental health apps, but more specialized
|Self-management, cognition improvement, skills training, social support, symptom tracking, passive data collection
|Online talk therapy, psychiatric care
|Clinical care stages
|Immediate crisis intervention, primary treatment, supplement to in-person therapy, post-treatment condition management
|Supplement to in-person therapy, online therapy sessions
|Access to professionals
|Limited or no direct access to licensed therapists
|Direct access to licensed therapists
|Messaging, forums, community support
|Text messaging, voice calls, video sessions
|Personalized self-management and support
|Personalized treatment plans by licensed therapists
|Limited availability of evidence-based apps
|Focus on professional therapy with licensed therapists
How do mental health apps work?
Mental health apps typically work by providing assessments, educational resources, self-tracking, tools, community support, and progress tracking. Users start by assessing their mental health state and setting goals.
The apps offer educational content to enhance mental health knowledge. Self-tracking features allow users to monitor mood, sleep, and stress levels. Tools like guided meditations, breathing exercises, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques help users manage their mental health.
Some apps cultivate a community through discussion forums and peer support. Progress tracking features show users their progress and provide feedback.
It's important to note that while these apps can be beneficial, they are not a substitute for professional therapy or treatment.
Types of mental health apps
Mental health apps come in various types — each with its own focus and functionality. These apps aim to provide support, tools, and resources to help individuals manage their mental health and well-being. Here are some expanded details on the different types of mental health apps.
Depression and anxiety
Therapy apps and mental health apps focus on helping individuals cope with stress and manage anxiety symptoms. These apps may incorporate cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, relaxation exercises, and stress management tools. Users can learn effective strategies to challenge negative thinking patterns, practice relaxation techniques, and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
Meditation and mindfulness
Mental health apps can provide relaxation, stress reduction, and mindfulness practices. They offer guided meditation sessions, breathing exercises, and to help individuals calm their minds, improve focus, and cultivate a sense of well-being.
Therapy apps offer convenient access to licensed therapists or counselors through online platforms. Users can communicate with professionals via messaging, phone calls, or video sessions. Therapy apps provide a flexible and affordable option for individuals seeking therapy or counseling support from the comfort of their own homes.
Mood tracking and self-care
The use of these apps may assist users in monitoring and understanding their mood, emotions, and daily activities. They often include features to track mood fluctuations, set goals, and record self-care activities. By providing insights into patterns and triggers, these apps can help individuals gain a better understanding of their mental well-being and identify strategies for self-care.
Mental health apps aim to enhance sleep quality and establish healthy sleep habits. These apps provide soothing sounds, bedtime stories, guided meditations for sleep, and sleep tracking features. By offering relaxation techniques and promoting better sleep hygiene, they can help individuals with restful and rejuvenating sleep.
Do mental health apps work?
Yes. Mental health apps can provide temporary assistance, but they should not replace professional therapy.
It is recommended to use mental health apps alongside professional guidance. Even though evidence supports their use, there is a limited amount of comprehensive research.
One challenge is the lack of evidence-based apps available on the market and the limited number of studies that consolidate the disorder-specific evidence. This gap makes it difficult to assess the overall effectiveness of mental health apps.
What are the pros and cons of using mental health apps?
The use of mental health apps has pros and cons. Here is a list of them:
Pros of using mental health apps
- Accessibility and convenience. Immediate access to support and resources anytime, anywhere.
- Anonymity and privacy. Seek treatment options without involving others, providing a level of privacy.
- Lower cost. Many apps are free or affordable compared to traditional mental health services.
- Introduction to care. Serve as an entry point for individuals hesitant to seek professional help.
- Support and monitoring. Complement traditional therapy, reinforce skills, and offer ongoing support.
Cons of using mental health apps
- Inadequate substitute for professional help. Not sufficient for serious mental health conditions or personalized treatments.
- Limited customization. Lack of the ability to tailor interventions based on individual needs and challenges.
- Efficacy and evidence. Effectiveness varies — and the market lacks evidence-based apps.
- Lack of clinical oversight. Self-guided usage may have limitations without professional guidance.
Expert opinion on mental health apps
Andrew Huberman — a neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University — has shown support for the use of mental health apps.
According to him, mental health apps can be a helpful tool for people who are trying to manage their psychological health and improve overall well-being. However, Dr. Huberman also stated the fact that mental health apps are not a replacement for professional help.
If you are struggling with your mental health, you should talk to a doctor or therapist.
Who should use mental health apps?
Mental health apps are designed for a broad audience but are particularly beneficial for individuals seeking accessible and flexible mental health resources. They are ideal for those with busy schedules who find it challenging to attend in-person therapy sessions. People living in areas with limited access to mental health professionals or those desiring privacy due to the stigma associated with mental health can also benefit.
These apps offer tools for those with mild symptoms of stress, anxiety, or depression, or for individuals looking to enhance their overall emotional well-being through mindfulness and relaxation techniques. However, while they can serve as a supplementary tool or an introduction to self-help strategies, they should not replace professional treatment for moderate to severe mental health conditions.
It's always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional when considering mental health interventions.
When should you see a mental health professional?
There are many reasons why you might want to see a mental health professional. Here are a few of the most common reasons:
- You are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. This could include depression, anxiety, stress, or other mental health problems.
- You are struggling with difficult life changes or challenges. This could include a job loss, a death in the family, or a major life transition.
- You are feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope with your emotions. You may feel like you are at your very bottom and don't know what to do.
- You are concerned about your mental health or the mental health of someone you care about.
If you are worried about your mental health or somebody else’s, it is important to seek help. A mental health professional can help you assess your symptoms, develop a treatment plan, and support you on your journey to recovery.
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What is the best free mental health app?
Headspace is a mental health app that offers a free download with trial access and limited features. The app is widely recognized for its guided meditation and mindfulness exercises, providing users with tools for reducing stress and improving focus.
Is Sensa evidence-based?
Yes. Research has shown that using the Sensa app was related to decreased depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. This may be attributed to a range of app's features based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Is there an app to help with mental health?
Yes. Every app provided in this review may potentially support mental health. While most of these apps have similar benefits, they may differ in their features and functionalities which can bring varied results.
What is the app for negative thinking?
Every app provided in this article may directly or indirectly reduce mental health issues related to negative thinking. It is important to note that everybody's needs may be different. Therefore, it is best to consult with a doctor or a related specialist when choosing a suitable mental health app.
- School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University. Do mental health mobile apps work: evidence and recommendations for designing high-efficacy mental health mobile apps.
- Seattle Children's Research Institute. Efficacy and Conflicts of Interest in Randomized Controlled Trials Evaluating Headspace and Calm Apps: Systematic Review.
- University of California, Berkeley. Effectiveness of a Multimodal Digital Psychotherapy Platform for Adult Depression: A Naturalistic Feasibility Study.
- Lithuania Business University of Applied Sciences. Sensa Mobile App for Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Symptoms: Pilot Cohort Study.
- College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University. The Indirect Effects of a Mindfulness Mobile App on Productivity Through Changes in Sleep Among Retail Employees: Secondary Analysis.
- BMC Psychiatry. Two-way messaging therapy for depression and anxiety: longitudinal response trajectories.