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About one-fifth of teenagers and adults in the United States have some form of mental illness each year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. While some mental health experts do not recommend seeking help online only, there has been a surge in the research and development of mental health apps that can help you improve your emotional and mental wellbeing. These apps can also make therapy portable and more accessible. Apps can help you boost your mental health with a variety of methods like meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or by providing a support network.
The following are the best mental health apps to try, including a number of evidence-based mental health apps reviewed by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and other organizations.
Anxiety Coach by the Mayo Clinic is one of the best mental health apps for easing anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). The organization reviewed this app with a 5/5 for research evidence for treatment and 4/5 for ease of use and effectiveness. The app works by walking you through your feared activities and helping you master them without worry. It also allows you to self-test for the severity of your anxiety, makes a custom plan, tracks your anxiety, and check your progress toward your goals.
2. 7 Cups
7 Cups is a community-based form of online therapy and support aimed primarily at depression and anxiety. It’s also one of several evidence-based mental health apps that focuses on emotional support. 7 Cups has more than 230,000 licensed therapists and trained listeners in 140 languages who can speak anonymously with you day or night. You can search for listeners based on their specialty or experience like a breakup, eating disorder, bullying, depression, and different types of mental health disorders.
According to 7 Cups, 90% of people report feeling better after talking to a listener and 97% have a positive view of their listener. This is one of the best mental health apps if you feel a lack of emotional support in your life or you find it helpful to talk about your feelings.
SuperBetter is a unique game with a goal of improving your resilience, or your ability to remain optimistic and motivated through obstacles. This is one of the few evidence-based mental health apps that has actually been studied in a randomized controlled study. According to the study, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, people who played SuperBetter for one month reported improvements in mood, anxiety, and depression with a higher belief in achieving personal goals. The study concluded that mental health apps like SuperBetter may serve a role in treating depression.
Talkspace is similar to 7 Cups with confidential counseling and support. This app offers a convenient and affordable way to manage chronic mental illness, relationship problems, depression, and more. The app includes a free consultation with a Matching Agent. Once you become a member, you get access to a secure chat room to discuss your concerns with a private counselor.
Talkspace isn’t free, but counseling with a licensed therapist through the app costs much less than traditional therapy. While mental health services must be covered by your insurance, Talkspace can still be more affordable. While therapy There are several monthly subscription levels starting at $49 per week for unlimited video, text, and audio messages with your therapist, who responds to messages once a day. This is one of the best mental health apps if you want the benefits of traditional therapy without face-to-face meeting and the ability to share your thoughts and feelings whenever you need to.
Happify is one of several free evidence-based mental health apps, but it’s unique in its techniques. Happify uses evidence-based techniques and interventions in mindfulness, psychology, and CBT to help you get past unhealthy habits and make new habits. The app is designed to build resilience and reduce stress and anxiety by gaining control of your thought patterns. It uses games and activities to help you reduce negativity in your life with an emotional well-being calculated as a happiness score you can improve.
Happify is the result of almost $9 million in early funding. According to Happify, 86% of users report feeling better about their lives after 6 to 8 weeks. Because it’s free, it’s one of the best mental health apps to see if mindfulness and CBT can help you.