Top Apps for Mental Health Management

Feeling blue, angry, or stressed? There’s an app for that

Anxious woman sitting on a couch using her smartphone to connect with a mental health counselor.

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Mental health management apps help with depression, anxiety, reducing stress, and tracking moods. Apps are a handy way to help you take a deep breath and reset or even help shift your thought patterns. Here are our top picks for apps that offer mental health help.

Before we dig into the list of apps a couple of quick notes:

  • No app or website is intended to replace a qualified mental health provider. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please seek out or reach out to a mental health professional.
  • If you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat with a crisis counselor through their website.

#LetsTalk - Mental Health Support and Suicide Prevention for Teens

Screenshots of the #LetsTalk App
#LetsTalk was created by teens for teens. Screenshot / #LetsTalk on Apple App Store

The #LetsTalk app was created by a group of teenagers in Montana, a state with one of the highest teen suicide rates per capita in the United States. Teens can have a difficult time discussing suicidal thoughts or feelings with parents, other adults, and even their friends. This app allows them to connect with resources, accurate information, and even safe spaces for teens in a vulnerable emotional state. #LetsTalk is free on iPhone and Android.

What We Like
The Alliance for Youth and Speaking Socially teamed up with a group of teens from Montana who have dealt personally with suicide or suicidal thoughts to create this app.

What We Don’t Like
Nothing so far, however, the app was launched in late 2017. As word gets out about the app and it gains additional users, there will likely be more information on any bugs or issues with the app. 

What We Like
  • Helpful videos.

  • Provides immediate access to help.

  • Long list of resources.

What We Don't Like
  • Videos open YouTube app.

  • Limited local events.

  • Very small user base.

MindShift - Mental Health Support for Teens and Young Adults

Screenshots of MindShift
Shift your thoughts with MindShift. Screenshot / MindShift on Apple App Store

The MindShift app was initially designed for teens and young adults, however adults have also found the app helpful. MindShift focuses on coping skills for common anxiety triggers and characteristics including social anxiety, perfectionism, conflicts, and more. This app is free on both Android and iPhone.

What We Like
The app takes a coach-like approach for dealing with the challenges of anxiety, with the goal of helping users gain useful coping skills over time.

What We Don’t Like
The app can be buggy at times. Users have reported problems with the audio stopping when the phone’s screen times out, and our tester had the same experience. However, the developer has been responsive to comments, which is a good sign for an upcoming fix. 

What We Like
  • Helpful tips.

  • Great inspiration quotes.

  • Check Yourself anxiety tool.

  • Soothing audio.

What We Don't Like
  • No live help.

  • Shallow content.

iMoodJournal - The Best Mood Tracker App

Screenshot of iMoodJournal
iMoodJournal History Screenshot. iMoodJournal

Many therapists and mental health professionals recommend tracking moods and associated triggers, such as situations, sleep, medication, illness, energy level, and other factors that can impact mood throughout the day, week, and over time. iMoodJournal is $1.99 for both iPhone or Android and offers a range of features and options for tracking moods, emotions, thoughts and more.

What We Like
Lots of options to customize the app to the user’s preference. The app tracks data over time and helps identify trends. The smart hashtag feature makes entries searchable and makes finding what you need easy.

What We Don’t Like
We’ll have to get back to you when or if we find something we don’t like. 

What We Like
  • Easily log daily mood.

  • Historical chart.

  • Great journal tool.

What We Don't Like
  • Not a free app.

  • No solutions or tips.

Calm - The Best Stress App for All Ages and Stages

Screenshot of Calm App
Screenshot of Meditations in the Calm App.

The Calm app offers guided meditations, breathing exercises, relaxing music, and more to not only help de-stress but also to reinforce positive thinking practices such as gratitude, boosting self-esteem and more. The app includes options for people who are beginners to meditation or calming exercises and also for people who are more experienced. The app even has programs to help calm children. Calm is free to download with an in-app purchase option for various subscription levels on Android and iPhone. Subscriptions add a number of helpful features and frequent additions of new content.

What We Like
The guided meditations and other relaxation options have something for everyone.

What We Don’t Like
The amount of meditations and other content in the free version is very limited. Most of the options and material the app offers requires a paid subscription to access. 

What We Like
  • Useful meditation guides.

  • Helpful video tips.

  • Relaxing sleep stories.

What We Don't Like
  • Nuisance ads for premium version.

  • Most content is locked in free version.

Headspace - For Anxiety, Stress, and Sleep

Screenshot of Headspace app activity for acceptance
Acceptance activity on the Headspace app.

Headspace is also a meditation-based app but specifically focuses on sleep, relaxation, mindfulness, and maintaining balance throughout your day. The app offers mini meditation sessions for short 2 to 3 minute ways to re-center, as well as SOS sessions to help users with panic episodes. On iPhone and Android, Headspace starts with a free trial before a subscription is required to continue and also access the full list of features.

What We Like
This app is great for beginners and for people who find meditation difficult.

What We Don’t Like
The app is less useful for those who are more experienced or advanced with meditation. The amount of content in the free trial is very minimal.

What We Like
  • Builds a customized meditation plan for you.

  • Meditations are very effective.

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey premium plan.

  • Most content is locked.

Breathe2Relax - Best for Anger Management

Breathe2Relax Sceenshot
Breathe2Relax Screenshot. Screenshot / Breathe2Relax on Apple App Store

Everyone gets angry sometimes, but for others, managing anger can be challenging and create additional stress. Breathe2Relax is focused entirely on breathing exercises. Studies have shown guided deep breathing exercises to be more helpful than other types of calming exercises for people who struggle with controlling anger. Breathe2Relax is helpful for stress, anxiety, and panic as well. The app is free for both iPhone and Android.

What We Like
The app provides helpful and clear explanations. It’s also easy to use and follow along with.

What We Don’t Like
At times, the music can be distracting. 

What We Like
  • Uses sensors for vital signs.

  • Works with Android Wear.

  • Visual breathing exercises.

  • Customizable meditation.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited features.

  • Boring interface.

PTSD Coach - The Best Mental Health App You’re Not Using (But Should Be)

PTSD Coach Screenshot
PTSD Coach Screenshot. Screenshot / PTSD Coach on Apple App Store

The PTSD Coach app was initially designed with veterans and active military personnel in mind but is helpful for anyone who struggles with symptoms of PTSD. This app provides great education on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) along with different types of tools to help manage the various ways PTSD impacts daily life. The app also has options that allow users to customize features and upload their own photos and music, making the app unique to them and their needs. This app is free for both Android and iPhone.

What We Like
There are very few apps out that focus exclusively on PTSD, and this app does it very well.

What We Don’t Like
Infrequent bug fixes and updates. With the initial design focused on veterans and current military, many PTSD suffers who are not affiliated with the armed forces don’t realize it can help them as well. 

What We Like
  • Track and manage symptoms.

  • Access to professional support.

  • Informative articles.

  • Customized reminders.

What We Don't Like
  • Overly simplistic articles.

  • No meditation or coping utilities.

Self-Help Anxiety Management App (SAM)

Screenshot of the app SAM
SAM is available for both iOS and Android.

The SAM app is free for both iPhone and Android and is specifically intended to help with anxiety and high-stress situations. This app is often recommended by therapists because it includes a number of exercises both within the app and real-world exercises separate from the app.

What We Like
The app offers a variety of tools and options that help with high-anxiety situations, such as the Calm Down Tool.

What We Don’t Like
The design of the app is not as intuitive and user-friendly as it could be, which could cause frustration and additional stress when a user is already in a state of high anxiety. 

What We Like
  • Effective relaxation exercises.

  • Track and log anxiety.

  • Create anxiety list.

  • Historic charting.

What We Don't Like
  • Not many articles or guides.

  • No links to professional resources.

Pacifica Helps with Anxiety

A screenshot of the app Pacifica
Pacifica can help you work with your therapist between sessions.

The Pacifica app offers users help with managing symptoms and episodes of anxiety. The app has a clear user interface that is easy to navigate. Pacifica is free to download for both iPhone and Android but does offer in-app purchases for subscriptions.

What We Like
Pacifica includes features that allow the user to coordinate with their therapist for “homework” and assignments between therapy sessions.

What We Don’t Like
Frequent users will find some of the content repetitive between update releases from the developers. 

What We Like
  • Good selection of meditation environments.

  • Meditation reminders.

  • Easily log how you're feeling.

  • Effective guided medication.

What We Don't Like
  • Google and Facebook signup nonfunctional.

  • Requires access to device storage.

  • Sound effects sometimes drown out voice.

Get the Happify App to Help with Depression

Screenshot of the app Happify
Happify aims to help you to be present in the moment.

Happify is free to try on both Android and iPhone with an in-app subscription purchase to access the full range of options and content. Happify was designed using science and evidence-based tools and programs to promote positive emotional and mental health. We found the app particularly useful with depression, a condition where self-care can be challenging. Happify encourages self-care by helping users break through negative thought patterns and establishing new habits.

What We Like
Happify has great tools for mindfulness and being in the present moment.

What We Don’t Like
Some of the features or activities take quite a while to load. There isn’t very much free content provided before the paid subscription would be needed. 

What We Like
  • Answer start questions to customize.

  • Learn skills that make people happy.

  • Build skills over time.

What We Don't Like
  • Organized into isolated tracks.

  • Very few free tracks.

  • Free tracks include in-app purchases.

  • Interface is not intuitive.

MoodMission - An Action-Based App for Depression and Anxiety

A screenshot of the app Moodmission
Moodmission adjusts how it helps you the more you use it.

The MoodMission app stands out among apps intended for depression and anxiety because of the focus on actions and activities built into it. The user indicates what they are struggling with and the app selects five missions geared toward helping with that particular emotion or issue. The app also tracks the user’s missions over time and adjusts missions selected based on the user’s previous successes. MoodMission is free to download for iPhone and Android. After the selection of free missions and features are used, an in-app subscription purchase will provide more missions and features.

What We Like
The variety of different missions is great.

What We Don’t Like
To begin using MoodMission, the user has to first complete a fairly long survey. While the survey is intended to help the app in gaining user preferences to select appropriate missions, the length of the survey can be a turn-off. 

What We Like
  • Surveys customize your experience.

  • Complete missions to feel better.

  • Track mood after missions.

  • Gain features with accomplishments.

What We Don't Like
  • Complete surveys to unlock app.

  • Missions are very simple.

  • Missions are very random.

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