10 mental health apps everyone should have on their phone
September serves as National Suicide Prevention Month, and Thursday, Sept. 10 marks World Suicide Prevention Day. This span of 30 days reminds us to take care of ourselves, check in on loved ones and try to share valuable mental health information for those who need it most.
In the United States, mental health discussions are still surrounded with harmful stigmatization. It’s important to look after your mind and body with extra care, especially during both the coronavirus pandemic and this time of national civil unrest as the Black Lives Matter movement fights for justice.
AltPress wants to provide valuable mental health resources and helplines to those who may be deeply stressed, depressed or in need of a little self-care. While these apps don’t replace talk therapy or medication, they’re a good start to helping you navigate negative emotions and getting the help you need.
Just as the name indicates, Moodpath helps you track how you’re feeling, points out emotional patterns and offers tips to help improve said moods for free. With time, the app will start to help you realize which situations cause certain moods to arise. Additionally, Moodpath gives a wide range of resources, including meditation guidance, sleep relaxation techniques and more.
Forbes, The New York Times and The New Yorker are just a few media sources that have praised Happify as a mental health resource. Their approach to forming new happy and healthy habits are all rooted in science. The app provides guided meditations, reflective writing assignments and even games to encourage positive lifestyle changes. If you like the app, you can pay a subscription fee to unlock more exercises.
Ten Percent Happier
This meditation app has a claim to fame as Apple deemed it one of the best apps of 2018. The app follows the book 10% Happier by Dan Harris, who was a meditation skeptic at first but learned the practice to relieve his anxiety. You can watch videos with experts in the psychology field, listen to sleep meditations and even connect with a meditation coach via a chatroom on the app. You can also listen to Harris’ podcast under the same name to hear conversations about relaxation, optimism and mindfulness.
For those struggling with anxiety or depression, MoodTools hopes to lift your mood for free. The app comes with features including a questionnaire that tracks your symptoms and a diary that monitors your emotions, thoughts, situational triggers and more. The app also allows you to create a suicide safety plan where you can outline warning signs, coping strategies and important contact information.
If there’s one thing many people love, it’s having little succulents and flowers on their windowsills. You can add another plant to your collection with Plant Nanny. This free app tracks your hydration levels in a fun way. Every time you consume water, you feed your cute, virtual plant and watch it grow. If you don’t meet your personal hydration goal, your plant could get sad and even wither on the app. It’s important to stay hydrated as a part of your self-care routine as many studies have linked dehydration to a lack of concentration and emotional distress.
Youper is where mental health meets artificial intelligence. When you open the app, you can chat through your feelings with the AI and even practice meditation through your texts in the app. The robot provides you with resources and tracks your mood with each texting session to design coping strategies and identify triggers. You can subscribe for more features as well.
MindShift is an app that can quickly teach you how to ground yourself and breathe through bad or unwanted feelings via cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques. Over time, the app helps you track moods, triggers, goal completion and more. Of course, you can find resources for meditation and relaxation skills in the app, as well.
Woebot: Your Self-Care Expert
It might sound like just a silly pun, but Woebot uses advanced CBT practices to help you feel better in tough situations. You can chat with the Woebot as if it’s a friend over iMessage. The app “checks up” on you every day and tracks your mood. Over time, the app develops coping skills tailored to your needs.
MyLife seeks to help you find your “quiet place” through guided meditations, relaxation tapes for sleep and other mindfulness activities. You can even activate daily MyLife meditations on your Amazon Alexa.
Mind Ease: Anxiety Relief
If you’re a stressed or anxious person who feels like they don’t have time in the day for meditation or relaxation, this may be the app for you. Mind Ease breaks up your anxiety relief into activities that take less than 10 minutes. This will consist of writing sessions, relaxation techniques and other short exercises meant to reduce stress quickly.
If you need immediate mental health care, please call your general doctor or therapist. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or with an intervention specialist in a chat. You can also text a counselor via the Crisis Text Line. Just text “HOME” to 741741 if you’re in the U.S. or Canada, 85258 if you’re in the U.K. and 50808 if you’re located in Ireland. You can locate more resources here.