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Five Apps for Better Mental Health

  • Happify
  • What’s Up
  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • Moodpath

Can mental health apps actually help anyone? Research suggests they can. Studies have found that keeping a consistent gratitude journal and practicing mindfulness leads to a happier, healthier life. Apps make these tasks easier through daily reminders, on-the-go options and engaging music and video. They can also teach mood management techniques and evidence-based strategies for tackling negative emotions. Here are five of the best mental health apps on the market.

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1. What’s Up

What’s Up is a completely free app for improving mental health. It draws on evidence-based strategies for promoting mental peace and uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) in an engaging way. Users will learn techniques to examine their feelings and redirect themselves into happier, calmer states of mind. The app is designed to teach users to engage these strategies on their own.

2. Headspace

This app combines meditation and mindfulness practices to improve users’ compassion and happiness. Headspace features dozens of sessions to build empathy, tackle stress and improve mood. It features a cute, easy-to-use design that draws users into the app. The first ten days are free, but the full version costs $12 per month, making this one of the most expensive mental health apps on the market. Compared to the cost of traditional therapy, that’s a bargain.

3. Happify

According to an in-depth review done by The Atlantic, Happify has been downloaded almost three million times. This gratitude-based app for mental health teaches users to focus on small moments of positivity. These little bits of joy can add up to a happier outlook on life. It’s based on the work of psychology professor Acacia Parks, who combed the scientific literature to identify the best ways to improve happiness. She turned over 50 research studies into numerous tracks for users to choose. Although the app is free, some tracks cost extra money.

4. Calm

This meditation-based app provides dozens of meditation guides along with breathing programs and chill-out music. Users can find tracks to help with sleeping, anxiety, and stress. It was named as Apple’s 2017 iPhone App of the Year, according to USA Today. It’s also available on Android. Both new meditators and experienced yogi can find meditation tracks here, but they’ll have to pay for them. Only a handful of meditation programs are free in Calm. The rest must be purchased separately.

5. Moodpath

This is the perfect mental health app for complementing traditional therapy. Moodpath asks users questions about their mood every day for two weeks and compiles the data into a report. Then, users share the report with a mental health provider and discuss the next steps. This is an easy, convenient way to manage a mood journal and increase well-being. It also features over 100 videos to help users improve happiness and tackle difficult emotions. Even if users don’t visit a therapist, Moodpath seeks to offer insight on emotional triggers and how to cope with them.

Advances in technology are transforming the mental health landscape. Apps are also available for users with diagnosed health concerns like PTSD, eating disorders or bipolar disorder. Even without a formal diagnosis, anyone can benefit from the calming activities in these five great apps for improving mental health.