According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), in 2020, 1 in 5 adults or 52.9 million people in the U.S. experienced mental illness in some form. Think about that for a moment: of your five co-workers, one of them could be living with a mental health issue. The statistics are astounding when you begin to look at different people groups and how it affects the rest of the country.
With the influx of all kinds of apps available over the last few years, mental health apps have entered the scene to provide a variety of relief for those suffering. With everything from calming sounds to virtual counseling, consumers can now avoid an office visit that takes them away from work and sometimes remain somewhat anonymous. Online chats supply socially anxious individuals with an easy way to receive services without exacerbating the problem.
The 7 Most Useful Mental Health Apps
With a plethora of diagnoses combined with comorbidities, there is no one-size-fits-all mental health app. There are apps that help with meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation. Some apps also offer coping mechanisms. Others connect you with people who can offer support and virtual counseling sessions. Here are seven examples of popular, tried and true apps with a little information on each one to help you decide what works for you:
- Sanvello – A free app, Sanvello, is multi-functional. Once you create an account, you are guided through a quiz that determines your level of anxiety, depression, or stress. Next, you access blogs, meditation tools, a “hope board,” and peer support. The app is also geared to help establish a relationship with a therapist if you need one.
- Calm – Calm is an easy to use, inexpensive (there is a free version with limited capabilities) mindfulness app. It offers sleep stories, meditations that are segregated into emotional needs, mind exercises, and daily mindfulness reminders. After a free trial, the cost is about $6 a month.
- Luminosity – This popular app is referred to as the ‘original brain-training’ app. Free to download, users can purchase the premium edition at just $11.99 per month or $59.99 annually. Featuring engaging games for adults and kids, the app targets five cognitive sectors: problem-solving, attention, flexibility, memory, and speed.
- Happify – Happify contains some free content but, as is often the case, you’ll need to pay to get the full benefit. The app is useful in breaking old habits and forming better thinking and actions. With an easy-to-use platform, Happify focuses on games and activities to improve overall emotional well-being. The website states that 86% of users report changes within two months.
- Talkspace – Probably one of the most user-friendly apps for mental health counseling, Talkspace extends 24/7 counseling services. Users access a dedicated therapist who is available for messaging at any time. Virtual appointments are also available. At $65 per week, it’s not cheap. But some insurance companies may cover the cost.
- Youper – For the less fortunate, uninsured, or underinsured, Youper is a self-guided therapy app that uses AI-power to help meet goals. With a daily feeling gauge, Youper proffers encouragement, audio and visual therapy to match your particular needs. It is a free app with some in-app purchases available.
- Headspace – Founded by mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe, Headspace is endorsed by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Andy was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk and practiced for several years. In 2004, he began his journey towards inventing the meditation and mindfulness app, Headspace. Featuring guided meditation and sleep casts, the app promises and delivers better sleep and motivation, with less anxiety. Individuals, families, and children can all find something of use in this app. It’s free for 14 days and $5.83 a month with an annual subscription. If you decide to pay monthly, you get 7 days free and pay $12.99 a month after that.
Although an app doesn’t sound like a solution to depression or anxiety, it could be just the ticket to move someone from daily struggles to a more fulfilling life. Many of these apps also make a great partner for therapy and medication. As always, it is best to consult a doctor if you or someone you know is dealing with mental health problems. Left untreated, mental illness can lead to addiction, or even suicide.