best depression apps of the year

We’ve selected these apps based on their quality, user reviews, and overall reliability as a source of support for people living with depression. If you want to nominate an app for this list, email us at nominations@healthline.com.

Depression effects more than 16 million adults in the United States — about 7 percent of the country’s population. Not everyone reacts to depression in the same manner. Some people work to regulate it through therapy, others use medication. And many are also turning to apps to help them understand and manage their depression, too. These apps aren’t designed to take the place of your medical care, but rather to be used in conjunction with any treatment you get.

Depression CBT Self-Help Guide

Android rating:
4 stars Free

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is designed to help people talk out their feelings and self-identify what’s at the root of their depression. This app’s screen test helps users gauge the severity of their depression. It also offers articles on CBT and how it’s become one of the most useful forms of therapy to help people with clinical depression. Users can also tap into the tracking feature that lets you focus on positive thoughts and behaviors.

Positive Thinking

Android rating:
4 stars Free

The power of positive thinking starts here. The app provides users with a bevy of quotes to help them get through their day. The app’s database is stocked with daily motivational words and quotes you can organize by category, author, or subject. You can also set up widgets for the quotes to appear on your home screen, even by the hour!

Operation Reach Out

Android rating:
4 stars Free

Operation Reach Out is designed specifically for veterans living with serious depression and suicidal thoughts. Their Help Center comes with preloaded telephone numbers for various hotlines. More than a dozen compelling videos that make the case for getting help are readily available for people with suicidal thoughts. For people trying to prevent suicide, the app comes with step-by-step videos on how to help in what is a very delicate and critical situation.

MoodKit

iPhone rating:
4.5 stars $6.99

MoodKit is rooted in the principles of CBT. It provides users with over 200 different mood improvement activities to choose from. Its key components are a thought tracker, a journal, an activities page, and a thought checker. All work to create a cohesive app that encourages you to think outside the box and apply different approaches to improving your mood.

Fight Depression Naturally

Android rating:
4.5 stars Free

What makes this app so intriguing is its approach to treating depression: food, journals, and sleep. The newer version has a revised user interface, six new categories for users to explore, and dozens of new tips. The app offers a selection of 20 superfoods to help curb depression, hours of relaxing nature sounds, yoga techniques, and inspirational quotes.

Diary - Mood Tracker

Android rating:
5 stars Free

This app’s functionality is pretty self-explanatory, but here’s the kicker: You don’t have to write anything down! The app provides videos that correspond with a given mood, and you select the one that matches how you’re feeling. You can also keep a daily mood log and use the app’s analytics to see how your feelings ebb and flow. If you’re partial to an old-school journal, there’s also a section to write down how you feel.

TalkLife

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

TalkLife works as an online community for people who need a friend or just someone who’s willing to listen. People are encouraged to post exactly how they feel. You can also provide feedback to others who post. Updates can be done anonymously — it’s up to the user to decide. The new version has enhanced topics and also makes it easier to control privacy as well.

Lantern

iPhone rating:
3.5 stars Free

Looking for a life coach but don’t want to pay their exorbitant fee? Lantern may be your next best thing. Members who sign up get a Lantern Coach they can message at any time. If you don’t want to talk to someone but are still looking for a little bit of inspiration, tap into their database of expert CBT practices. Sign up for daily interactive practices that help start your day off right. It’ll give you the tools to maintain a healthy trajectory throughout your day.

Depression Anxiety Stress Test

Android rating:
4.5 stars Free

This app is great for assessing your depression and anxiety right in the moment. Through preprogrammed stress scales, users can determine their ability (or inability) to relax. You can also assess your nervousness, impatience, or irritability levels. Questions are on different screens. When the tests are completed, the results page lets the user know their Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales (DASS) status.

What’s Up?

Android rating:
4 stars Free

What’s Up? is essentially a tracking tool for your feelings. The Get Grounded page contains over 100 different questions that will help you pinpoint what you’re feeling. The Thinking Patterns page offers up to 10 different paths that negative self-talk can take, plus the tools to help stop the negative internal monologue that tends to play on repeat when we deal with stressful situations. These components, along with forums and breathing exercises, give users the tools they need to stay focused and on track.

MoodMission

iPhone Not yet rated
Free
Android rating:
4 stars Free

This app is designed to help people cope in a more productive manner when stress and anxiety rear their ugly heads. It works by letting users tell the app what they’re feeling at that very moment. The nuanced descriptions and explanations help you get to the issue at hand. The algorithms then work to figure out how you cope during an emotionally challenging time.

Pacifica

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

Guided mindful meditation and self-help paths, journaling, and a mood and health tracker: It’s all here in Pacifica, the app that provides support to those who live with anxiety. Users can choose from a number of different feelings. Do they want to be around someone? Do they just need someone to talk to at that very moment? These personalized scenarios make for a welcoming vibe — almost like you’re talking to a friend.