JUNIPERunltd’s top 5 mental health apps
From apps to help boost your outlook on life to ones that teach you to live mindfully
These trying times of a global pandemic, economic turmoil, and mounting civil unrest can wreak havoc on our thoughts. Stress is everywhere. Fortunately, there are quite a lot of efficient, portable, and affordable mental health apps available for your smartphone or tablet. And, they work, so what’s not to love? And yet, the proliferation of apps has happened so fast that choosing the right one is its own stressor. After all, at the tip of your fingers, you can download apps that use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy. You can find an app for depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, general anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and many more afflictions. We don’t want you to waste your time or money on the wrong one,
so we chose five apps we think you’ll like. One caveat though, in no way is an app a substitute for counseling with a trained professional. No app will replace the relationship, trust, and empathy that develops with a professional therapist.
Free with in-app purchases
Moodfit is your one-stop shop for adding proven techniques to boost your outlook on life. It’s like a personal trainer for your mind. After filling out a questionnaire, the app makes a plan to help you reach your goals. Using a combination of CBT strategies, gratitude practice, mindfulness techniques, and custom reminders, the app helps steer you toward a more positive outlook. It also helps you reframe your perspective when you feel paralyzed by anxiety or depression. And, it offers a trove of customized audio files and articles to help you better understand your symptoms. As you use the app to track your mood, it starts to recognize patterns so you can see how things like sleep, food, and exercise affect your mood. From there, you can develop strategies to feel better more often.
Free with donation-based in-app purchases
What’s Up puts techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy in the palm of your hand. It’s a great tool for dealing with depression and anxiety and for stopping negative thought patterns before they spiral out of control. The positive and negative habit tracker helps you ramp up the time you spend on good habits and break the ones keeping you stuck, as well as specializes in helpful and practical tools for managing depression. The Get Grounded page features 100 different questions to hone in on your feelings, while the Thinking Patterns page teaches you how to apply the brakes to toxic inner monologues. The app also features breathing exercises, a personal diary, and a Catastrophe Scale that helps reframe your perspective.
Talkspace isn’t cheap, but it’s effective and gives you 24/7 access to a therapist. At its base level, you can text a professional therapist as often as you like and receive daily responses. All you do is answer a brief survey, choose a therapist from the top five that match your needs, and start messaging with them. If you want to upgrade, you can arrange a live video call. For $99 a week, you get unlimited messaging, plus four live sessions each month. The nice thing is whenever you’re at your lowest, you can reach out to your therapist immediately. Additionally, there’s no cost or waiting time to switch therapists if you’re not hitting it off with yours. And, you don’t have to worry about privacy as all conversations use banking-grade encryption to keep your dialogue safe and confidential. Talkspace is available for both individuals and couples.
$12.99/month or $69.99/year, free for one year if you are unemployed during COVID-19
Free trial for one week
Headspace teaches you to live mindfully through meditation. You can start your day with inspiring stories and mini-meditations delivered to your phone every morning. It has meditations to keep your mind from drifting while you exercise, and mental exercises to calm your brain as you settle down for the night. The app features hundreds of articles and meditations on everything from stress and anxiety to mindful eating and sleep. The app also walks you through the basics of mindfulness, starting with short exercises that are the fundamentals of meditation like proper breathing technique and taking stock of how your body feels so you can develop a consistent and meaningful mindfulness practice.
Sanvello touts its mission is to help people build the life skills they need, anytime, anywhere, in any way they choose. It achieves that through clinically-proven techniques based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and whatever else you may be going through. Research shows it works, too: Over 60 percent of Sanvello users demonstrate a 15 percent improvement in their stress, anxiety, and depression levels in just 30 days. And, they maintain those benefits even if they stop using the app. When you first fire up the app, you’re asked to track your moods daily to identify patterns and label your emotions with icons. The app then helps you build lifelong skills to boost confidence, relax in stressful situations, and cope with specific issues, like public speaking, test-taking, and morning dread. Sanvello also offers connection through a community. You can anonymously share your thoughts, solicit advice, or talk to others in the same boat as you.