Over the last few years we have seen an avalanche of mental health mobile apps, which are being used by millions of Americans every day. These apps provide immense value to people who are dealing with everyday struggles such as stress, anxiety or even depression and addiction.
Naturally, as our site covers the best online therapy sites, we strongly believe in the efficiency and overall quality of that service. In an ideal world, we would recommend combining therapy with supplemental support from these apps. That said, we do realize not everyone can afford doing so – it takes time, money and a lot of mental capacity and effort to do that.
This article will help you find the best mental health apps currently on the market in 2023. We’ll compare them to one another and explain how they can be combined with therapy, and in which cases they can stand in as a replacement altogether.
There is a wide consensus between experts that these apps, if done properly and responsibly, do work very well. While by no means a substitute for traditional therapy, mental health apps and platforms provide a very necessary tool for countless people around the world.
It is important to understand the limitations of these apps while using them. They can certainly help you track and improve your symptoms and mood, and even help you cope with some real mental health issues such as addiction, negative thoughts, anxiety and more. That said, these apps are not applicable for people who are suffering from serious illness or a life threatening emergency.
Good mental health apps usually employ techniques based upon mindfulness or CBT. Both of these therapeutic applications have been proven to be highly effective when used for virtual treatments. In fact, most of the therapy platforms we review on this site use the very same methods to help their patients.
There are literally thousands of apps offering mental health services, but unfortunately only a handful of them are actually useful. Generally speaking, the free apps offer little to no value at all – although there are a few exceptions which you can find further down on this page where we list the best mental health apps in various categories.
As already discussed, mental health apps are highly effective and useful. The benefits they offer users are quite similar to those you’ll get from using a therapy site:
When all is said and done, we still strongly believe Betterhelp, a therapy site, is also the overall best mental health app in 2023. As mentioned, all of these apps work best when combined with therapy sessions – and here you get the whole package in one place.
Betterhelp is the largest, most reputable therapy site in the U.S and has been consistently ranked at the top. It is extremely affordable, and offers not just a weekly session with a therapist – you get support by texts and emails on a daily basis, as well as access to a complete suite of tools, videos, articles and DIY workshops to improve your mental health.
As with all apps featured on this page, Betterhelp is available for both Android and iPhone and can be downloaded for free. Read our Betterhelp review for more information about the site, and why we think it’s the best, most complete app.
As you probably know all too well, most apps these days aren’t really free even if they market themselves as such. The same goes for Moodfit, where to truly enjoy everything the app has to offer, you’ll have to pay for in-app purchases and a monthly subscription fee of $8.99.
That said, the price is still lower than most other apps on this list. The biggest difference however, is that Moodfit offers excellent value even with the truly free version. Unlike some other apps, you don’t really need to pay in order to get any value out of it.
As the name suggests, Moodfit is all about tracking and improving your mood. It uses a blend of cognitive therapy and mindfulness techniques to help you get rid of negative thoughts and disruptive patterns, while practicing gratefulness and better life habits.
The app is available on both GooglePlay and the Apple App Store, but when we tested it with a Samsung Galaxy A51 it didn’t run as smoothly as it did on other devices. Still, the app is easy to use and very well designed, and only requires you to invest a few minutes each day before you hopefully start seeing positive results.
Talkspace is another extremely popular virtual therapy app. We wrote a very long and detailed comparison between Betterhelp and Talkspace which explains how they are different from one another and why ultimately we feel Betterhelp has a slight edge. But for the sake of this article we want to focus on one specific feature Talkspace has and Betterhelp doesn’t – a designated text therapy package.
Talkspace is currently the only mental health service provider to offer a standalone text messaging subscription plan as part of their app. What this means is you can have a therapist available to you pretty much 24/7 (they have guaranteed response times) – which you’ll be able to contact through either SMS or the chat feature within the app itself.
Some people want to have human interaction but feel like a weekly video session is a bit too much – but in terms of the cost and the commitment it demands. Talkspace lets you enjoy both worlds – by having a licensed therapist available at all times, but only when you want it. The app is available for all mobile devices – read our Talkspace review for more information.
With a 4.8 rating on the Apple store and 4.6 in Google Play, Sanvello is one of the top rated mental health apps in the world. It is widely recognized as an extremely effective tool to deal with anxiety online, depression and most particularly stress.
The app is somewhat of a hybrid between the usual mental health apps and therapy sites – in that it offers an excellent free version, but also a premium one that includes access to therapy and psychiatric services, which may even be covered by insurance.
Sanvello’s premium version costs $8.99 a month in subscription fees. On top of that, you’ll have to pay separately for extra services such as access to licensed therapists, coaches and psychiatric care. Another great feature is the community aspect of this app – you’ll be able to chat and communicate with other people who are dealing with similar issues to you.
A minor downside we found is that therapy isn’t offered in all states, and insurance coverage as a whole isn’t wide enough. If you can’t use your insurance, it will cost much more than a regular therapy site such as Betterhelp will. Check our list of best therapy sites with insurance to see some of the better alternatives.
If you are a strong believer in the CBT approach to treatment, and wish to focus solely on that, these 2 apps can be a great fit. For us, Moodkit is the better choice overall, but unfortunately it is only available on iOS as of now.
Moodkit costs $4.99 a month and gives you access to more than 200 activities designed to track and improve your mood, while getting rid of negative thoughts and patterns. It was developed by two clinical psychologists and is highly effective in what it sets out to do. Despite the app being a bit buggy and the interface not the most user friendly, it has a 4.4 rating on the Apple store.
What’s Up? Offers less tools, but is still highly effective. It also uses CBT to help combat negative thoughts, and is more geared towards fighting specific symptoms such as anxiety and stress. The app is free to use, with a premium membership costing $9.99 a month. Unlike Moodkit, the What’s Up? App is available for both iOS and Android.
7 Cups was launched as a website all the way back in 2013, making it one of the longest standing platforms dedicated to mental health. The fact it has managed to maintain a stellar reputation (and stay 100% free to use!) speaks volume of the value this site offers.
Naturally, as the years progressed, 7 Cups branched out and are now offering their services via an app as well, which is available for both iPhone and Android users. The app is pretty basic and robust, but is completely free to use and is highly effective in creating a healthy and supportive environment enjoyed by millions all around the world.
The way 7 Cups works is very simple. You sign up and create a user in the app, then get access to chat rooms and forums. You’ll be able to use those to talk to other users who are going through similar experiences. On top of that, you can always chat with a certified volunteer who is called an ‘active listener’.
Even though these listeners aren’t licensed therapists, they do go through a vetting process by the platform before they can start. This service is completely free, but you can also pay $150 a month and get access to a psychologist instead. Our 7 Cups review covers both services so we recommend reading that one before you download the app.
Awarded ‘app of the year’ by Apple in 2017, Calm is one of the most popular meditation apps in the world. The iPhone and iPad versions are great, and it is no surprise it has a 4.8 rating on the Apple store. However, their Android version is a little buggier and less user-friendly, which is why it has only received a 4.4 rating in Google Play.
The app is geared towards both beginners and advanced users alike, with a plethora of exercises and activities to choose from. That is the main reason we chose it as the best for beginners, along with the fact it offers a 7 days free trial. As you might have guessed though, after those 7 days are up, you’ll have to purchase a subscription which costs $70 a year.
Headspace is probably the most well known mental health app in the world, and is widely regarded as an excellent tool to improve your wellbeing. Similarly to Calm, it is a meditation and mindfulness app focused app, which is available for both iOS and Android.
Both apps are similarly priced at $70 a year, but with Calm you get access to a more diverse list of exercises. One major difference though is that Headspace does have a free version – even if the selection it offers is quite limited. It’s also worth noting headspace has slightly better user rating scores on both mobile app marketplaces.
There are plenty of rehab apps in the market, but these are our top picks. Quitzilla Is the most general and doesn’t focus on any specific type of addiction. It’s a free mobile app that is simply a ‘habit tracker’ – it lets you track your daily routine and see what are your usual triggers for substance abuse. It has a 4.7 score on both app stores.
I am Sober is specifically designed to help people quit drinking alcohol. It helps you track habits, modify patterns and replace those with a more healthy behavior. Aside from the usual tools, the feature we like most is the community aspect – you can connect with other users and share experiences.
The app is free to use, but has a premium version which costs $4.99 a month. It currently boasts a 4.9 rating from both Android and iPhone users.
There are very few apps out there specifically designed to help couples and ReGain is certainly the best. Owned by Betterhelp, this is a therapy site which is also available through your mobile device by downloading their app. It’s currently rated as the best couples therapy site, and is available for both Android and iOS.
With ReGain, you get a weekly session with a licensed therapist, as well as a lot of extra tools and information which is tailor made to help you deal with relationship issues. You can sign up on your own, or with your significant other, but either way you’ll only pay for one account – the price is $60 per week.
You can read our full ReGain review to see why we believe it is the best place to get help with any relationship related issue.
The last few years have seen a tsunami of mental health apps burst upon us, promising to be the next big thing. In truth, while many have failed, others did in fact stand the test of time, garnered excellent user reviews, and helped millions around the world improve their wellbeing.
All of the mobile apps we recommended in this article are fantastic and can significantly improve your quality of life, at a relatively low cost of either time or money. That being said, these apps were never designed to become a substitute for therapy or as a way to deal with serious mental health issues.
Instead, we like to view these as a stepping stone through which you can begin your journey towards self growth and mental wellbeing. For many, it might even prove to be all they need – and the fact these apps are either free or very cheap makes it a great place to start. If you have never been to therapy before, and your current condition is not too severe – we highly recommend you try these self-help apps first.
If you have been to counseling in the past and know how valuable that experience is, you might want to consider combining some of these mobile apps alongside more traditional therapy. In the end, there’s no real substitute to that human interaction, and the added value and insights you get from the support of a licensed professional.
You can either combine these apps with meeting a psychologist face to face, or download a counseling app and have all the options available to you in one place. Even though at $60 a week Betterhelp isn’t cheap, you get the whole package at less than half the price of what you’ll pay for just seeing a therapist face to face.