Getting On-the-Go Help for Depression

Depression can cause both physical and emotional effects. It can lead to feelings of sadness and cause you to withdraw from things you enjoy. If you’re dealing with depression, you’re certainly not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that depression affects about one in 10 Americans.

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Read about the best depression apps of the year. They may become a helpful part of your treatment, and be your ticket to a more positive outlook.

Sleep Cycle

iPhone rating:
5 stars $1.99
Android rating:
4.5 stars $2.99

Having depression can cause noticeable changes in your sleep habits. You may find you’re sleeping more, or you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. That means waking up in the morning can be a real challenge, especially if you have to get out of bed in the middle of a deep sleep. But, with the Sleep Cycle app, you may wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to start your day.

This popular app analyzes your sleep and wakes you during the lightest part of your sleep cycle. This intelligent alarm clock can detect your movement during sleep and wake you up at the optimal time during a 30-minute alarm window.

Amwell: Live Doctor Visit Now

iPhone rating:
4.5 stars Free
Android rating:
4 stars Free

One of depression’s cruelest tricks is the loneliness and isolation it forces on its victims. Amwell: Live Doctor Visit Now lets you see, via video call, a psychologist who can help you when you’re finding it hard to venture into the outside world. Anyone who can use a phone can use the app. A few touches connect you with a provider. You can also sync and share your health history. Use the code SEE4FREE to test out the service for free.

Health Through Breath

iPhone rating:
4.5 stars $4.99
Android rating:
4 stars Free

If you’ve studied meditation and yoga, you know that proper breathing can relieve stress and improve your mood. The Health Through Breath app can get you started learning breathing techniques that will help you learn to relax and find some balance in life. The app notes that even just 15 minutes of focused breathing can help with other conditions, too, like headaches, high blood pressure, and asthma.

The app counts out your timed breathing techniques and uses soothing sound effects to help move you from one breathing stage to the next. One feature even lets you see what happens inside your body during slow breathing.

Secret of Happiness

Android rating:
4 stars Free

Can you find happiness in a month? Secret of Happiness thinks you can. This app’s 30-day challenge just may help you find your own secret to a happier life.

Every morning the app asks you to focus on something that makes you happy, such as a list of three things to be thankful for. At night, you respond to a similar prompt, thinking of an event that made you happy during the day. By training your brain to be more aware of what makes you happy, you may find that at the end of 30 days, you know your secret to happiness. 

Positive Thinking

Android rating:
4 stars Free

Remember those inspirational posters with famous quotes on them? Now you can access lots of positive, motivational quotes at your fingertips with Positive Thinking. The app provides quotes by different authors, which you can organize by category and save your favorites. It also lets you share them on social media and a widget allows you to display a customized quote – you can change colors and fonts – on your home screen.

Depression CBT Self-Help Guide

Android rating:
4 stars Free

Stress from many different sources can contribute to depression. But, with the help of the Depression CBT Self-Help Guide, you can manage your stress. The app helps you understand the causes of depression, and it explains self-help behaviors you can adopt to reduce symptoms.

Read articles about cognitive behavioral therapy and listen to audio tracks that help you meditate and relax. Use the Cognitive Thought Diary to identify stressful thinking and respond with positive feedback. The app even includes a feature that helps measure the severity of your depression. 

NIH Depression Info

Android rating:
4 stars Free

Using this app is like having a depression textbook in the palm of your hand. The NIH Depression Info app includes detailed information about symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatments for the condition. You can also find information about how to start looking for help if you or someone you know shows signs of depression.

Medical terms, such as “bipolar disorder” and “depressive disorder” can get confusing. But, this app’s reliable information from the National Institutes of Health will help you keep it all straight. 

Smiling Mind

iPhone rating:
4 stars Free
Android rating:
3 stars Free

The blues can affect people of all ages. But, the Smiling Mind app is specifically targeted at young people overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, or depression. Developed by psychologists with special training in adolescent therapy, the app helps teach young people about mindfulness meditation.

New features include daily meditations geared for specific age groups. You can keep track of how many minutes you’ve meditated and do a short self-check after each meditation to see if you feel more optimistic and connected. If you’ve never meditated before, the guided meditations featured provide a good start.

What’sMyM3?

iPhone rating:
4 stars Free

The M3 is, essentially, a mental health score. Keeping track of your M3 is just as important as keeping track of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. That’s where this app steps in. What’sMyM3? poses a series of questions and determines your M3 score based on your answers.

While not an official diagnosis, the results can give you a solid sense of how much your anxiety or depression is burdening your everyday life. A high score signals that it may be time for a mental health evaluation.

Positive Activity Jackpot

Android rating:
4 stars Free

When you’re depressed, it can be hard to engage in fun activities, not to mention plan them. Positive Activity Jackpot does the hard part for you.

The app is based on a type of behavioral therapy called pleasant event scheduling, which is used to treat depression. It helps you find things to do near you that you’ll enjoy. There is also a feature that allows you to invite friends. If you can’t make a decision between suggested activities – which can be hard for people with depression – the app’s jackpot function will decide for you.

It’s important to note that you don’t need clinical supervision to use this app, but it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for treatment by a trained therapist.

Fitness Builder

iPhone rating:
3.5 stars Free
Android rating:
4 stars Free

Exercise releases feel-good endorphins and boosts your energy level. So, it can be a big help in improving your mood and reducing anxiety. With the Fitness Builder app, you can choose from more than 1,000 workouts that are accompanied by over 7,000 images and videos. You can use the drag-and-drop feature to create your own workouts, and then share them with others.

The app allows you to create a multi-week fitness plan, schedule workouts, track your weight, and even access live personal trainers. It also lets you keep up with the latest in health and fitness news.

Psych Drugs & Medications

iPhone rating:
3.5 stars Free
Android rating:
4 stars Free

There are many types of medications used to treat depression and other mental disorders. Psych Drugs & Medications helps you learn about how common medications differ from one another. And, you can learn what types of drugs are useful for your particular condition.

The app also provides important information about possible side effects. Its other features help make this app a must-have for people with depression and their healthcare providers. The app also includes reminders, a personality checker, and a dictionary packed with medical terms.

Operation Reach Out

iPhone not enough ratings
Free
Android rating:
4 stars Free

Depression can take you to dark places. Having thoughts of suicide can be part of the illness. Operation Reach Out allows and encourages its users to ask for help during this critical time.

The app was designed for military families as a support system, but could be helpful to anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts. It comes pre-loaded with phone numbers for suicide prevention hotlines and then lets users add numbers of friends and family who would respond. Additional features include short videos that offer encouragement for people during a suicidal thought process, saying things like “your problems can be treated,” and helpful short videos for family members and friends on how to prevent suicide.

Reason for Hope

According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the primary sources of disability around the world. It contributes to many physical and mental health complications. But, it is treatable. Various types of talk therapy, medications, and lifestyle adjustments have all been shown to help individuals dealing with depression.

These apps cannot replace the care of trained professionals. But many of them can help you recognize symptoms so you can get treatment if necessary. Others can help brighten your day and give you hope that better times lie ahead.

Methodology

We selected these depression apps based on their potential to help people deal with depression in a number of ways. Additional factors considered in selecting these apps included user ratings, affordability, accessibility, format, functionality, and relevance to depression and the needs of people who have depressive symptoms. Together, this collection represents a valuable cross section of helpful iPhone and Android apps that are designed to help users understand depression and find ways to improve their mental outlook.

Please note: Healthline Networks does not imply warranty of fitness or endorse any of these applications. These apps have not been evaluated for medical accuracy by Healthline Networks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the apps unless otherwise indicated.