The Best & Most Affordable Mental Health Apps

by Natalie Kiser

October 10, 2021 at 9:00am AM EDT

mental health apps best

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Everyone deserves access to the mental health care they want and need. But if you haven’t noticed, it can be extremely difficult to find affordable or in-network mental health resources that fit within our weekly schedule. Luckily enough, your first steps to mental wellness could be in the palm of your hands — literally

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One study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science suggests that the use of smartphones is causing a concerning spike in depressive symptoms and suicide rates in young people, likely due to the rise of social media platforms. But what if instead of spending our free time fiddling with Instagram and Snapchat, we used our technology to do something good for our mental health?

Think about it: Smartphone apps are always in-network, accommodate your schedule perfectly and never go on vacation. While these apps do not serve as a replacement for professional treatment or medical intervention, they could certainly start you off in a positive direction. That’s why we’ve researched the best mental health apps on the market that won’t break the bank.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

A version of this story was published August 2018.

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Worry Watch

This app works almost like a revolving door for your anxieties. By recording your present worries and reflecting on the results of your past worries, you can begin to develop some concrete evidence to rationally frame your perspective when facing a tough situation. 

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Moodnotes provides an intuitive journaling platform for you to begin to organize the emotions you’re experiencing and to understand their triggers. By recognizing these “traps,” you’ll be able to prevent unwanted reactions in the future and improve your overall well-being. 

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Can you achieve your personal goals by playing games on your phone? According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, you most definitely can. This self-help tool has been proven to relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD and to promote feelings of optimism and resilience as you work your way through fun challenges. 

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Sober Grid

Sober Grid allows you to connect and share posts with other members of the sober community in your area. In addition to daily check-ins to monitor your progress and feelings, the app includes a “Burning Desire” function to notify your network if and when you could use some extra support in preventing a relapse. 

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What’s Up?

Improving your internal dialogue is essential to managing your unique symptoms of depression and anxiety. This app combines cognitive behavioral therapy) and acceptance commitment therapy to help you break down any harmful thought patterns and reframe your worries and emotions. 

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Designed to help struggling individuals manage their depression, MoodTools helps you to identify your depressive symptoms, to understand the science behind why they’re happening and to alleviate them. The app invites you to keep a thought diary to understand some of the trends in your emotions and also to develop a self-help plan for emergency situations. 

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Recovery Record

This app allows those who are recovering from eating disorders to record meals and to track thoughts and feelings surrounding food in order to gain insight into your emotional trends and overall progress. It also allows you to comanage your logs with your clinician or to share it with the app’s supportive online community. 

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Meditation Studio

New to the meditation game? You can now explore free guided meditations from professional instructors focusing on everything from reducing anxiety to promoting positive body image from the privacy of your own home. In addition to meditations, Insight Timer also holds a library of talks and lectures from top neuroscientists, psychologists and professors from around the world. 

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Want to keep track of your moods without chronicling every moment of your day? Daylio allows you to do just that. With quick surveys of your general mood (from “rad” to “awful”) along with your daily activities, you’ll be able to identify which decisions correlate with each respective mood, leading you to develop healthier, more rewarding habits. 

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Initially designed for active service members, this app walks you through simple breathing exercises to reduce anxiety, stress and anger in tense situations. You can even connect this app to your Apple Watch or another Bluetooth medical device to monitor your heart rate during each session. 

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7 Cups

Looking to get something off your chest? The app 7 Cups offers free anonymous and confidential messaging with trained listeners and support communities. While the app does require a premium paid subscription if you’d like to speak with a licensed mental health professional, the free one-on-one counseling conversations with volunteers are available 24-7.