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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 with 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
  • Best for: tracking moods, creating positive thought patterns, reducing stress

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.

Pros

  • evidence-based
  • large variety of activities
  • a journal feature to easily track your progress

Cons

  • some users reported technical issues

Best for therapy

Talkspace

  • iPhone rating: 4.2/5
  • Price: monthly subscription with plans starting at $69 per week
  • Best for: therapy

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.

Pros

  • you can work directly with a mental health professional
  • you have the option to change therapists
  • 24/7 access to treatment

Cons

  • high cost
  • therapy techniques may be limited for some users
  • therapist may not be a good match

Read our review of Talkspace.

Best for meditation

Headspace

  • iPhone rating: 4.9/5
  • Price: $12.99 per month or $69.99 per year
  • Best for: learning to meditate, developing concentration, and improving sleep

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 stand-alone meditations for when you need a break and longer courses focused on deeper education into mindfulness. Examples of courses include learning the basics of mindfulness, coping with cravings, dealing with distractions, and better sleep.

Pros

  • high user satisfaction
  • affordable monthly price

Cons

  • exercises may get repetitive
  • not suitable for advanced meditators

Read our review of Headspace.

Best for suicide awareness

Better Stop Suicide

  • iPhone rating: 4.6/5
  • Price: free
  • Best for: suicide awareness, positive thinking

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.

The app can help you learn how to examine the intrusive thoughts you are having. This can help you to not automatically accept all thoughts as truth or fact.

Once you learn how to challenge thoughts, you can decide how you want to proceed with the facts of a situation. This may prevent the tendency to engage in emotion-based behavior, which can at times not be based on factual information.

Pros

  • free
  • recorded audios to help with stressful times
  • exercises for mood boosting

Cons

  • limited number of activities

Best for stress

iBreathe

  • iPhone rating: 4.7/5
  • Price: free
  • Best for: stress, breathing techniques

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.

Pros

  • free
  • easy to use

Cons

  • only offers one feature, so some people may need to download accompanying apps

Best for anxiety

MindShift CBT

  • iPhone rating: 4.3/5
  • Price: free
  • Best for: anxiety

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.

Pros

  • free
  • designed specifically for anxiety
  • uses psychotherapy techniques

Cons

  • limited number of entries per day
  • some users experience technical issues

Best for addiction

Quit That!

  • iPhone rating: 4.4/5
  • Price: free
  • Best for: addiction

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.

Pros

  • free
  • simple to use
  • no limits to the number of habits tracked

Cons

  • no education or support for quitting
  • some users experience app crashes

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
  • Best for: boosting your mood

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.

Pros

  • easy to use
  • achievable goals

Cons

  • some users say the deadlines provided by the app create more stress
  • paid version is pricey

Best for eating disorders

Recovery Record

  • iPhone rating: 4.9/5
  • Price: free
  • Best for: eating disorders

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.

Pros

  • free to use
  • links to your treatment team
  • more discreet than carrying a food journal

Cons

  • some users experienced technical issues

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).
  • Best for: OCD

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.

Pros

  • handy for sudden episodes
  • strong user community

Cons

  • high price
  • some users say the advice is too general

Best for sleep

Calm

  • iPhone rating: 4.8/5
  • Price: $14.99 per month or $69.99 per year
  • Best for: improving sleep, regulating emotions, and practicing meditation

Calm is a mindfulness app that provides guided meditations, breathing techniques, and calming exercises. These practices may encourage relaxation, alleviate tension, and relieve stress. In turn, you may be able to fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply.

Calm offers a wide selection of story recordings in various categories, including travel, nature, and nonfiction. Some stories feature celebrity narrators. The app also has an extensive music library that includes soothing, ambient, and nature sounds.

Pros

  • tracks statistics
  • sleep music library
  • mood tracking

Cons

  • expensive subscription cost
  • complaints of auto-renewal and cancellation issues
  • poor customer service

Read our review of Calm.

Best for drinking less alcohol

Reframe

  • iPhone rating: 4.8/5
  • Price: starting at $7.99 per month or $39.99 per year
  • Best for: reducing alcohol intake

Reframe provides strategies and resources that help people drink less alcohol or stop drinking. You can also use it if you want to take a break from drinking, examine your drinking habits, or figure out why you drink. The app helps you build healthy habits, which may benefit your mental health and overall well-being.

Reframe offers a 120-day behavior change program based on neuroscience and cognitive behavioral research. It includes tools to manage cravings and navigate feelings, such as meditations, reflective journaling, and mindfulness exercises.

You can also learn about the science of addiction, track your progress, and connect to a supportive community.

Pros

  • helps reduce or eliminate alcohol intake
  • create healthy habits
  • includes games and affirmations

Cons

  • not for severe addictions
  • not for alcohol use disorder (AUD)
  • incompatible with Android

Best for quitting alcohol

I Am Sober

  • iPhone rating: 4.9/5
  • Price: free version, or $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year
  • Best for: quitting alcohol

The I Am Sober app is a useful tool for quitting alcohol. It encourages you to identify triggers, recognize patterns, and develop healthy habits to meet your goals and achieve sobriety. It offers a withdrawal timeline so you can learn what to expect.

You can use I Am Sober to make daily pledges, record sober days, and track milestones. Plus, you can connect to their community for support, encouragement, and motivation.

Pros

  • track sobriety and milestones
  • form healthy habits
  • community support

Cons

  • not for severe alcohol addiction
  • tracking method needs improvement
  • app glitches

Here’s a quick look at how these mental health apps compare:

AppPriceiPhone ratingBest for Pros Cons
MoodKit$6.994.4/5tracking moods • journal feature
• over 200 activities
• helps relieves stress

• potential technical issues
Talkspacemonthly subscription with plans starting at $69 per week4.2/5therapy • 24/7 access
• psychiatry services
• expensive
• not for emergencies
• short 30-minute live sessions
Headspace$12.99 per month; $69.99 per year 4.9/5learning to meditate

• develops concentration
• improves sleep
• affordable subscription
• may become repetitive
• not suitable for advanced meditators
Better Stop Suicide free 4.6/5• suicide awareness
• positive thinking
• helps people find support
• encourages positive thinking
• gratitude and mood exercises
• not suitable for a crisis or emergency
• limited number of activities
iBreathefree4.7/5
• stress
• breathing techniques
• simple breathing exercises
• helps relieve stress and anxiety
• only offers 1 feature
MindShift CBT free 4.3/5anxiety • uses CBT
• helps reduce stress
• potential technical issues
• daily limit of 3 check-ins
Quit That! free 4.4/5addiction• unlimited habit tracking
• easy to use

• not for severe addictions
• no education or support for quitting
• potential app crashes
Happify free version, or $14.99 per month or $139.99 per year4.3/5boosting your mood• achievable goals
• easy to use
• deadlines may cause stress
• paid version is pricey
Recovery Record free 4.9/5eating disorders• links to your treatment team
• more discreet than a food journal
• potential technical issues
NOCDvarious payment plans 4.8/5OCD • helpful for sudden episodes
• strong user community
• expensive
• advice may be too general
Calm $14.99 per month; $69.99 per year4.8/5sleep• practice meditation
• improve sleep
• regulate emotions
• expensive
• complaints of auto-renewal and cancellation issues
• poor customer service
Reframe starting at $7.99 per month or $39.99 per year 4.8/5
reducing alcohol intake
• helps reduce or eliminate alcohol intake
• create healthy habits
• includes games and affirmations
• not for severe addictions
• not for alcohol use disorder (AUD)
• incompatible with Android
I Am Soberfree version, or $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year4.9/5quitting alcohol• track sobriety and milestones
• form healthy habits
• community support
• not for severe addictions
• tracking method needs improvement
• app glitches

To choose the best mental health app for your needs, consider your goals and which types of services, exercises, and activities you prefer. Read online customer reviews that relate to satisfaction, effectiveness, and customer service.

Find out whether the app is compatible with Android and iOS. Decide how often you plan to use the app and how much you want to spend.

Keep in mind that the free versions of apps that offer a subscription option often lack key features.

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 having difficulty managing an addiction or a serious mental health issue, including suicidal thoughts, should seek professional mental heath care instead of using a mental health app.

In these situations, getting in-person care is critical. This is because mental health apps are not intended to diagnose a condition or take the place of a mental health professional.

Consider reaching out to a healthcare professional, like a primary care doctor, for help starting mental health treatment.

If you’re in crisis and need immediate support:

What are the best free apps for mental health?

Several mental health apps are free or offer a free version.

The best free apps for mental health include:

  • Better Stop Suicide
  • iBreathe
  • MindShift CBT
  • Quit That!
  • Recovery Record

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.