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Most people know they can exercise, eat well, sleep, and stay hydrated to take care of their physical health. But it’s less common for people to pay attention to their mental health. Just like your physical health, support for your mental health helps you feel your best.

There are great ways to nurture and care for the state of your mental health. Some of these include practicing mindfulness and meditation, seeing a therapist, journaling, talking to a friend, lighting some candles and reading a book or simply taking a nap.

Many mental health apps can give you tools, activities, and support to help you manage your stress. There are apps available to help with general mental health concerns and specific conditions.

This article covers the 10 best mental health apps for 2022.

Mental health apps are a simple way to work on your mental health.

Mental health apps aren’t designed to diagnose a condition or substitute care from a mental health professional.

Still, they can support your overall mental health. Apps are a convenient way to get extra support between therapy sessions or office visits, and they can offer continued support after graduating from therapy.

Mental health apps may provide activities, encouragement, and other techniques to practice daily. Many types are based on research and therapy techniques to provide evidence-based interventions.

Research from 2018 showed that mental health apps may help improve both the monitoring and management of mental health conditions.

Further research from 2018 also suggested apps work because they’re easy to use, increase engagement in treatment plans, and make monitoring symptoms easier. These types of apps have soared in popularity since the onset of the pandemic.

When choosing the best mental health apps, we considered the types of features available and if they were evidence-based. We also read dozens of customer reviews and considered the cost of the apps.

Best overall

MoodKit

  • iPhone rating: 4.4/5
  • Price: 6.99

MoodKit was developed by two clinical psychologists and is based on the principles and techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It offers over 200 activities designed to boost your mood and help change negative thinking.

Included is a journal feature to help you track your mood, negative thoughts, and how you manage stress.

Best for therapy

Talkspace

  • iPhone rating: 4.2/5
  • Price: Monthly subscription with plans starting at $65 per week

Talkspace is the most expensive option on this list, but it gives you direct access to a mental health professional. This online therapy option is likely a more affordable option than seeing a therapist in person, and you receive 24/7 access to support.

At any time, you can send your therapist a message in the Talkspace chat room. You also have the option to schedule live video sessions with your therapist.

Best for meditation

Headspace

  • iPhone rating: 4.9/5
  • Price: $12.99 per month or $69.99 per year

Headspace is a meditation app designed to help you live more mindfully. The app offers a wide range of meditations for beginners and experienced users that range from 3 to 20 minutes.

Meditation offers many benefits, including stress relief, anxiety control, self-awareness and attention span improvement, and even age-related memory loss reduction. So, it could be worth your while to give meditation a try.

In the app, you’ll find standalone meditations for when you need a break and longer courses to help tackle a larger problem. Examples of courses include learning the basics of mindfulness, coping with cravings, dealing with distractions, and better sleep.

Read our review of Headspace.

Best for suicide awareness

Better Stop Suicide

  • iPhone rating: 4.6/5
  • Price: Free

The Better Stop Suicide app is designed with psychological techniques to help people who are having suicidal thoughts by encouraging their minds to slow, calm down, and think rationally. However, if you’re ever in an emergency situation and feel out of control, the best thing you can do is call a suicide hotline or 911.

In the app, you can listen to calming audio files written by mental health professionals, record audio messages for yourself, find audio for falling asleep, and save important contacts for when you need them quickly.

There are also gratitude and mood exercises to help you move negative thoughts to more positive ones.

Best for stress

iBreathe

  • iPhone rating: 4.7/5
  • Price: Free

If you’re looking for a simple way to reduce stress, iBreathe is an easy-to-use app for breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises may help reduce stress and anxiety.

The app is designed with one purpose: simple deep breathing exercises. There’s no clutter in the app to distract or overwhelm you.

Deep breathing exercises provide the best results when done daily, so you can set the app to remind you when it’s time to do your breathing exercises. After any extra stressful moment, you can open the app for a little stress relief.

Best for anxiety

MindShift CBT

  • iPhone rating: 4.3/5
  • Price: Free

The MindShift CBT app was created to provide anxiety relief using CBT tools to adjust thinking and behaviors. The app claims to help tackle worry, panic, perfectionism, social anxiety, and phobias.

Features include short meditations, thought journals, coping cards, and activities to face fears, change beliefs, and develop healthy habits.

Best for addiction

Quit That!

  • iPhone rating: 4.4/5
  • Price: Free

Quit That! helps people tackle habits and addiction. The app helps you track habits to quit smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, or even consuming caffeine.

But, if you’re dealing with more serious addictions, you should seek out medical or professional help. Treatment options a specialist might explore include residential treatment (rehab), therapy, medication or support groups.

With this app, you can track as many habits as you want, and you can also see how long it’s been since you quit and how much money quitting has saved you.

Best for boosting your mood

Happify

  • iPhone rating: 4.3/5
  • Price: Free version, or $139.99 per year, $14.99 per month, or $449.99 lifetime for full access

This app uses games to boost your mood. The activities were developed with positive psychology techniques and CBT interventions.

The app lets you choose games to help you in different areas, including:

  • coping with stress
  • fueling your career success
  • achieving mindfulness through meditation
  • conquering negative thoughts
  • building self-confidence

There are free and paid versions of Happify. The free version gives you access to some games and information.

Best for eating disorders

Recovery Record

  • iPhone rating: 4.9/5
  • Price: Free

Recovery Record is an excellent tool for anyone recovering from an eating disorder. The Recovery Record app can be linked to the Recovery Record Clinician App for eating disorder treatment professionals, which gives your treatment team the full picture so they can easily track your progress and help you achieve your goals.

Features include a food diary to track food, thoughts, and feelings during meals, daily affirmations, coping tactics, goal setting, and more.

Best for OCD

NOCD

  • iPhone rating: 4.8/5
  • Price: Get started with a free call for the NOCD program. There are different payment plans and the app accepts over 30 types of insurance (total cost of the program isn’t clearly stated on the website).

NOCD was designed to assist in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) treatment by combining mindfulness and exposure-response techniques. The app is backed by research and OCD specialists.

In the app, you can schedule live video therapy sessions with an OCD therapist and receive support between sessions. It’s a very simple process: right from your device, you’ll be matched with a licensed OCD therapist in your state and can start your personalized OCD therapy plan via face-to-face video or by text.

Are mental health apps effective?

Yes, mental health apps can be highly effective in helping people manage some mental health conditions.

However, these apps don’t replace mental health professionals. These apps may be most effective when used alongside work with a therapist.

Are mental health apps evidence based?

Most mental health apps are designed using evidence-based psychotherapy techniques. Not all apps will be, but the apps included on this list were created using evidence-based techniques.

What are the benefits of mental health apps?

Benefits of using mental health apps include:

  • convenience
  • mostly free or low cost
  • improved mood
  • better coping skills
  • access to help whenever you need it

Is there anyone who shouldn’t use mental health apps?

Anyone who is suffering from a serious mental health issue or addiction or feeling suicidal should, first and foremost, consult with their doctor or health care provider (or a suicide helpline or 911 in an emergency). This is because mental health apps are not intended to diagnose a condition or take the place of a mental health professional.

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as exercising for your physical health.

Mental health apps make it easier to practice evidence-based therapy exercises from the comfort of wherever you are.

So, instead of scrolling through social media, consider trying a mental health app to better manage daily stress or mental health conditions.


Ashley Braun, MPH, RD, is a health and wellness writer based in Michigan. Her work helps people understand what affects their health, so they can make informed choices to take back the control in their health and wellness journey.