Best Mental Health Apps

Find the best app to help you navigate mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

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From exercise to daily water intake, there’s an app for nearly every aspect of wellness—and that includes mental health. These apps are designed to make caring for your mental health easier than ever before. Some allow users to access online therapy or psychiatry while others focus on a specific area of mental well-being, like mindfulness, improved sleep, or stress reduction.

The best mental health apps are easy to use, evidence-based, and expert-created. They should also be efficient, with an attractive interface and good technical quality—after all, they’re only good if you’re able to use them! But most importantly, the best mental health app is the one that works for you. To help you find the best mental health apps, we did the research for you, evaluating over 50 different apps with the help of three licensed therapists. Here are the ones we recommend.

8 Best Mental Health Apps of 2023

When choosing an online therapy provider, we recommend that you read the company’s privacy guidelines before you sign up to better understand whether it is HIPAA-compliant and whether it shares any private information with third parties. There have been some concerns raised by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and several government officials about what user health information online therapy providers collect and what they do with any information they collect.

Best For Therapy : BetterHelp



Key Specs 
  • Cost: $60-$90 per week
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Features: Therapy, Journaling 
Why We Chose It 

With the BetterHelp app, users can access therapy sessions, send unlimited messages, schedule appointments, complete journal prompts, and attend mental health webinars. Subscriptions include weekly therapy sessions which can be conducted via live chat, voice call, or video.

Pros & Cons
  • Subscription includes unlimited messaging and one live weekly therapy session

  • Features online journal with prompts in multiple categories

  • App includes webinars led by licensed therapists

  • Insurance not accepted

  • Psychiatric services not offered

  • Cost varies based on location and therapist availability


BetterHelp has over 25,000 licensed mental health therapists who are well-qualified and use a variety of techniques to help you face and overcome your anxieties, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy.

Subscriptions include one live therapy session each week, unlimited messaging, and access to group sessions. Therapy sessions are between 30 and 45 minutes depending on your therapist and can be done via live chat, phone, or video. In between therapy sessions, you can use the BetterHelp app to send unlimited messages to your therapist, complete journal entries, and attend group webinars. The app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play and is easy to use.

The online journal provides a variety of writing prompts and can be shared with your therapist if you choose to do so. As a subscriber, you will also be able to attend Groupinars, and therapist-led group webinar sessions on different mental health topics such as setting boundaries, identifying unhealthy behaviors, and self-care.  

In our research, we surveyed 105 current BetterHelp users and found that 86% rated it as being good, very good, or excellent and 76% reported that all or most of their therapy needs were met. 

It’s worth noting that the company has come under scrutiny over privacy concerns recently. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused BetterHelp of sharing sensitive user information with third-party companies and proposed a fine of $7.8 million.

Plans & Pricing 

BetterHelp only offers one subscription plan for therapy which ranges from $60 to $90 per week based on your location and therapist availability, because the company engages in surge pricing. Therapy is billed monthly and insurance is not accepted. While there is no free trial, BetterHelp does offer financial aid for those who qualify.

Best for Psychiatry : Talkspace

Talkspace logo


Key Specs 
  • Cost: $69-$109 per week for therapy; $125 per session for psychiatry + $249 for initial evaluation
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Features: Therapy
Why We Chose It 

Sometimes, depression, anxiety and even insomnia can become debilitating to the point that it’s best treated with medication prescribed by a psychiatrist. Talkspace offers this level of treatment via convenient online teletherapy. In addition to psychiatry and medication management, talkspace also offers talk therapy options for in-between psychiatry sessions for individuals, teens, and couples.  

Pros & Cons 
  • Insurance accepted

  • Psychiatry and medication management available

  • Offers therapy for individuals, couples, and teens

  • App features exercise section and symptom tracker

  • Therapy sessions limited to 30 minutes

  • No group or family therapy offered

  • Cheapest therapy option is messaging only


Talkspace offers a wide range of mental health services for adults, teens 13 and up, and couples, including therapy and psychiatry. Its therapists are licensed and well-qualified with expertise in a variety of issues, including trauma, anxiety, and relationship issues. Psychiatry and medication management is provided by board-certified psychiatrists and specialized psychiatric nurse practitioners.  

Therapy options include unlimited messaging with therapists who are available five days a week. You can choose from multiple plan options including messaging-only or a subscription that includes weekly live sessions that are 30-minutes long and can be done via chat, phone, or video. In addition, the platform offers an 8-week sleep therapy program for those struggling with insomnia.

You can schedule appointments, send messages, and complete live sessions using the Talkspace app, available at the Apple App Store and Google Play. In addition, the app features an online symptom tracker that allows you to input your moods daily and track your progress overtime and a section with daily exercises designed to target issues like stress or conflict. In addition, the platform offers an 8-week sleep therapy program for those struggling with insomnia. 

We surveyed 105 Talkspace users and found that 90% rated the company as being good, very good, or excellent. Further, 90% of users rated the psychiatry or medication management services as being positive. 

Plans & Pricing 

Talkspace offers four different therapy plan options:

  • Messaging only: Unlimited messaging with a therapist who’s available five days a week for $69 per week
  • Live therapy and messaging: Includes unlimited messaging along with four live video sessions each month for $99 per week
  • Live therapy, messaging, and workshops: Includes unlimited messaging, four live video therapy sessions each month, and access to weekly workshops for $109 per week
  • Couples therapy: Unlimited messaging and a live video therapy session each week for $396 per month

For psychiatric services, the initial evaluation costs $249 and follow up sessions cost $125. There are also three bundle packages available:

  • One follow-up: Includes an initial evaluation and one follow up session for $365
  • Three follow-ups: Includes an initial evaluation and three follow up sessions for $565
  • Six follow-ups: Includes an initial evaluation and six follow up sessions for $849

There are also three bundles available for existing clients who have already had an initial evaluation:

  • Three follow up sessions: $338
  • Six follow up sessions: $638
  • Nine follow up sessions: $900

Although Talkspace is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid, insurance is accepted. If your insurance doesn’t cover the service, you can use a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA).

Best for Peer Support : Circles

Circles Logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: Free to $20 per week
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Features: Group support
Why We Chose It

For those looking for group support, Circles offers a convenient and affordable option. Private weekly groups led by mental health professionals are available for grief and loss, divorce or separation, and even menopause. There are also free, peer-led support groups for sobriety, parenting, and more.

Pros & Cons 
  • First Circles+ group session is free

  • Free, unlimited peer-led groups

  • Circles+ groups led by licensed therapists

  • No one-on-one, couples, or family therapy offered

  • Circles+ groups only available for grief, divorce/separation, and menopause


According to the American Psycological Association, group therapy can be incredibly theraputic for individual due to being able to talk and listen to others who are expereinceing similar issues, including adding a level of diversity that allows you to see how others with different personalities and background approach situations similar to yours. Circles provides these online support groups for a range of issues. With Circles+, groups are led by licensed therapists, social workers, or psychologists and consist of no more than 10 participants. Prior to joining, you will answer a few questions before being matched to a group (or “circle”) that’s right for you. Private circles meet once a week for 60-minutes and follow a 12-week program, although you can cancel at any time.

Members can also schedule a free one-on-one call with the group facilitator before the first meeting. Individual therapy services are not offered, but in between group sessions you can use the app to message the facilitator or other group members for support. You can also find self-help exercises, blog articles, and webinars.

Therapist-led groups are limited to the following issues: grief or loss, divorce or separation, and menopause. However, free, peer-led groups cover more topics, including LGBTQIA issues, narcissistic relationships, cancer, parenting, body image, veterans, disability, chronic illness, and sobriety.  

Plans & Pricing

There is a free version, though it is limited to peer-led groups only. For expert-led groups, you will need to upgrade to Circles+ which costs $79 per month (or $20 per week). You can also try Circles+ free for one week, which will cover your first group meeting. Insurance plans are not accepted.

Best for Anxiety : Headspace



Key Specs
  • Cost: $12.99 per month or $69.99 per year
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Features: Meditations, Sleep stories, Exercises, Journaling, Focus activities, Social support
Why We Chose It

With a library of over 1,000 guided meditations, focus activities, and sleepcasts, Headspace is a perfect way to practice mindfulness.  

Pros & Cons
  • Discounted rate for students and families

  • Free for all teens in the U.S. and K-12 teachers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia

  • Large library of science-backed mindfulness tools

  • No free features after trial period ends

  • Free trial requires credit card information


Headspace is one of the most popular mindfulness apps on the market and for good reason. It features an extensive library of regularly updated guided meditations and science-backed tools to help you feel less stressed throughout the day. And it seems to work: In a clinical study, participants who used the app for eight weeks saw reduced stress and anxiety. The same study also found that using the app helped improve wellbeing and job-related stress, reduce anxiety and irritability, and promote a positive affect.

As a mindfulness-based tool, meditations are the primary focus of Headspace. There are a variety of guided meditations available ranging from three to 20 minutes. Other popular features of the app include:

  • Wake-Up: Daily content designed to help you start your day mindfully with short videos, uplifting stories, and expert insight.
  • Focus: Music and meditations designed to help you stay focused throughout the day.
  • SOS: Mini, 1–3-minute meditations created for life’s stressful moments.
  • Sleep: Sleepcasts are 45-to-55-minute and use soothing sounds to help you fall asleep easier.
  • Move: Low-to-medium impact workout sessions that focus on the mind-body connection.

In order to use the app, you have to sign up for a free trial, but if you don’t want to enter your credit card information, you can sample the meditations on the website. The app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. It’s also visually appealing and easy to use.

“Mindfulness has been proven to help reduce mild to moderate anxiety,” explains Hannah Owens, LMSW and subject matter expert. “And having a meditation guide available to you anywhere and at any time is useful for beginners foraying into mindfulness for the first time on their own as well as for people who want to practice the techniques they are learning in therapy between sessions.”

Plans & Pricing

The Headspace app is free to download. There is also a free trial available for the subscription, although to sign up, you have to enter your credit card information. You can choose from several different subscription options:  

  • Monthly: $12.99 per month after 7-day free trial
  • Annual: $69.99 after 14-day free trial
  • Family: $99 per year for up to six accounts
  • Student: $9.99 per year for verified students in certain countries

Headspace also offers free subscriptions for teens in the US between the ages of 13 and 18 and K-12 teachers in the US, Canada, and Australia. Some employers also offer Headspace free for their employees.

Best for Meditation : Aura

Aura Logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: Free to $11.99 per month
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Features: Meditation, Stories, Sleep, Hypnosis, Life coaching, Journal, Mood tracker 
Why We Chose It

We think that if you’re looking to start a mindfulness habit, you might love how Aura offers a free three-minute meditation session every two hours. The app also features life coaching, a gratitude journal, a mood tracker, and more.

Pros & Cons
  • Multiple plans, including a free option

  • Free three-minute meditations available daily

  • Offers curated playlists based on your emotions and goals

  • One-on-one coaching is expensive

  • Free version has limited features


Aura offers an abundance of tools for mindfulness including meditations, stories, sleepscapes, CBT, and more. The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play and features a daily mood tracker and gratitude journal. You can also easily customize your navigation tabs, create playlists, and save your favorites.

Meditations range from three minutes to over an hour and are recommended based on your current mood that you choose when opening the app. Its meditation tracks focus on a variety of topics including anger, anxiety, burnout, happiness, productivity, parenting, beginner meditations, and more. The free version provides a new three-minute meditation session every two hours, a gratitude journal and mood tracker.

“Mindfulness is not one-size-fits-all,” explains Owens. “Having access to different meditation exercises depending on your mood and what you’re dealing with at the moment is going to be much more effective than, say, a generic breathing exercise.” 

Premium features include unlimited access to meditations along with sleepscapes, hypnosis, CBT-based exercises, stories, and live coaching sessions. You can also choose to book one-on-one coaching with an upgraded plan.

Plans & Pricing

Aura offers a free basic app, but for more features, you can upgrade to a premium subscription. There are several pricing options available too:

  • Annual Plan: $59.99 per year
  • Monthly Plan: $11.99 per month
  • Lifetime Plan: $399.99
  • Family Plan: $119.99 (allows you to add more members in one subscription package)
  • Coaching Plan: $149 per month (offers unlimited messaging with a personal coach along with the option of booking additional video sessions. Cost of sessions will vary depending on the coach.)

There is a free seven-day trial for the premium subscription. You will have to enter your credit card information first, but the app will send you a reminder on day five. In addition, there is a 30-day money back guarantee if you forget to cancel.

Best for Sleep : Calm

Calm Meditation App logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: $69.99 per year
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Features: Meditations, Sleep stories, Breathing exercises, Gentle stretching, Educational guides 
Why We Chose It

Calm offers users an expansive library of soothing bedtime stories, guided meditations, and soundscapes designed to help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.  

Pros & Cons
  • Discount available for students

  • Features several stories, meditations, and soothing soundscapes for sleep

  • Kid-friendly meditations available

  • Limited features available for free

  • Cost varies by country


Calm is an intuitive, beautifully designed app that uses mindfulness tools to help you get a better night’s sleep. Even the interface is created to be soothing—you can choose from 40 different home screen backgrounds, each with accompanying sounds that promote relaxation. In addition, you can adjust the volume and opt to have the sound play outside of the app for up to 12 hours.

Every morning, there is a new Daily Calm, a short, 10-minute guided meditation focused on mindfulness. In the content library, you can find breathing exercises, gentle stretches and movement sessions, music, meditations, and sleep stories, many of which are narrated by celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey. In addition, there is an entire section of stories, meditations, and lullabies that are designed for kids.

With sleep stories, users can choose from a variety of categories including stories designed to activate your autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). Playlists are also available, each three to four hours long, so you can use them to fall asleep.   

“Difficulty sleeping is a symptom of many different mental health concerns, as well as an issue that can be exacerbated by stress,” says Owens. “Having an app dedicated to healthy sleep is incredibly useful for those dealing with insomnia, and especially for those who do not want to take medication.” 

Calm is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Plans & Pricing

While you can use some of the meditations on Calm for free, most of the content is reserved for premium users. There is a free, 7-day trial available and several premium plans to choose from:

  • Monthly Plan: $14.99 per month
  • Annual Plan: $69.99 per year
  • Lifetime Plan: $399.99
  • Family Plan: $99.99 per year (can add up to six additional members)
  • Student Plan: $8.99 per year (includes a three-month free trial for Amazon Prime members who are students)

Best for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy : MoodKit

MoodKit App logo


Key Specs
  • Cost: $4.99
  • Platform: iOS
  • Features: CBT-based activities, Journal, Mood tracker
Why We Chose It

With over 200 activities based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles, MoodKit is designed to help you identify and change unhealthy thinking patterns and improve your overall mood and wellbeing.

Pros & Cons
  • Low, one-time cost to purchase

  • Offers over 200 evidence-based CBT activities

  • Includes customizable journal

  • Not available for Android

  • No free trial available


CBT, a therapeutic approach focused on changing unhealthy thought patterns, is often considered the gold standard when it comes to psychotherapy. MoodKit was developed by two clinical psychologists using CBT tools and techniques to help boost mood, self-awareness, and quality of life. The app is easy-to-use, although it’s less visually appealing than many other mental health apps. It is only available on the Apple App Store.

Four core features are available: activities, thoughts, mood, and journal. The activities tool provides tips, suggestions and specific examples of ways you can improve your mood. The thought checker tool is designed to help you manage negative emotions by learning to identify and change distorted thinking patterns. Using the mood tracker, you can chart your daily mood and with the MoodKit journal, you can write notes about your experiences. You can also use pre-formatted templates to journal in specific ways or create your own custom templates.  

MoodKit was designed to be used either on its own or alongside professional therapy as a way to enhance treatment. However, it also has proven efficacy. Research studies have found that MoodKit can help reduce symptoms of depression and improve mental wellbeing. “CBT is most effective when you practice the techniques you’re learning in therapy between sessions, and MoodKit facilitates that practice,” explains Owens. “By providing multiple different ways of implementing CBT into your daily life, MoodKit is useful for strengthening healthy thinking habits and becoming more aware of your mood, your triggers, and your coping mechanisms, both good and bad.”

Plans & Pricing

There is no free trial available for MoodKit. To use the app, you must purchase it from the Apple App Store for $4.99. After this one-time purchase, there are no other subscription charges or in-app fees, making it one of the market's most cost-effective mental health apps.

Best for Mood : Happify



Key Specs
  • Cost: Free version available; premium is $14.99 per month or $139.99 per year 
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Features: Activities, Games, Meditation 
Why We Chose It

With games and activities based on positive psychology, CBT, and mindfulness, Happify offers tools to help you overcome negative thoughts, reduce stress, and boost your mood.  

Pros & Cons
  • Free version is available

  • Science-backed games and activities based on CBT

  • Activities are quick (5 to 15 minutes) and fun to use

  • No free trial of premium version

  • Subscriptions are expensive compared to other apps


Happify was developed by research scientists and mental health experts using positive psychology, CBT, and mindfulness principles and techniques. It offers engaging games, activities, and exercises aimed at helping you feel happier and less stressed. The app is easy-to-use and available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

There are over 100 different tracks available, which are short, educational courses that teach skills to help improve your wellbeing. Each track features a number of different activities, including journaling prompts, games, and mindfulness exercises. All tracks are evidence-based and under each activity you can find a “Why it works” link to learn more about how it benefits you.

“The most impressive thing about Happify is that it is built completely on evidence-based practices like CBT and mindfulness,” explains Owens. “These techniques have been proven to be effective, even with self-guided programs like this one.”

You can explore tracks based on a range of topics, including relationships, meditation, personal growth, family and kids, health, and work. There are 18 tracks available on the free version as well as games, journals, and a few guided meditations. With a premium subscription, you can access the entire library of over 100 tracks and 30 different meditations.

Plans & Pricing

Happify is free to download and offers a free version with access to games, articles, and a limited number of the tracks and meditations. To unlock all of the features, you will need to upgrade to Happify Plus. There are several subscription options available:

  • Monthly: $14.99 per month
  • Annual: $139 ($11.66 per month)
  • Two Year: $229.92 ($9.58 per month)
  • Lifetime: $449.95

There is also a 30-day money back guarantee for all plans except for the monthly subscription.

Guide to Choosing the Best Mental Health App

What Do Mental Health Apps Entail?

Mental health apps are programs designed to be used on a smartphone or tablet to improve emotional wellbeing. They focus on using methods such as mindfulness, meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help improve mental health.    

“Mental health apps can be beneficial for one’s emotional and social wellbeing,” says Nic Hardy, PhD, a licensed clinical social worker and one of the subject matter experts we worked with to compile this list of best apps. Still, he says, mental health apps work best when paired with additional support. “For instance, counseling, engaging in community, remaining active, and healthy lifestyle choices are just a few examples that can positively contribute to mental health in addition to apps.”   

Do Mental Health Apps Work?

While the research is limited, mental health apps seem to have some efficacy when it comes to maintaining or monitoring mental health symptoms. Several studies suggest that mental health apps can be helpful for those dealing with anxiety. Other studies have that they can help reduce depression, stress, and substance use.

According to Amy Marschall, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist, mental health apps can help develop good coping skills and managing symptoms of anxiety and depression. “But they are not a substitute for therapy,” she says.

Hannah Owens, LMSW, agrees. “Apps for meditation have been proven to be especially effective,” she says, adding that apps based on CBT and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are great tools to “supplement the work you are doing with your therapist.”

How to Compare the Best Mental Health Apps

The best mental health app is the one that works for you. When comparing your options, there are several factors to take into consideration:

Price: Consider your budget and what you’re willing to spend on an app, if anything. There are some free mental health apps available and some apps offer discounted rates for students, families, or longer subscription periods. In addition, a number of apps offer a free trial period or a refund policy which may be helpful.

Accessibility: Check to make sure the app is compatible with your device. Certain apps may not be available to you depending on whether you use an Android or Apple. Once you know you have the right platform, look to see how easy it is to use.

Type of app: There are mental health apps designed to help with various aspects of wellness, including meditation and mindfulness, stress relief, depression, and sleep. Other apps are tailored to address specific issues, including OCD, eating disorders, addiction, or substance abuse. There are also a number of apps for online therapy and medication management.  

Features: Do you want guided meditations and mindfulness exercises or are you more interested in movement and workout classes? How about hypnosis or sleep sounds? Would you rather have engaging games and activities? If you’re looking for therapy, do you want text-based communication or live video sessions?

Efficacy: Mental health apps should be evidence-based and created by mental health professionals and experts. What techniques are used? Does it have research to back it up? Have there been any specific studies done to prove the app is effective? In addition, it’s a good idea to check user reviews to see what real people are saying about the experience.  

Privacy: Finally, it’s important to check the privacy protections and security controls in place, especially since mental health apps may collect sensitive information.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Are the Benefits of Mental Health Apps?

    The biggest benefit of mental health apps is the convenience factor. They’re accessible and can reduce the stigma around mental health. “Individuals can access support at a time and place where they are most comfortable,” Hardy said. “This can decrease anxiety and improve the odds of someone overcoming their own personal barriers.”

    Apps can offer tools, coping skills, mental health education, and a support network for increased feelings of connectedness, Marschall said. And while apps aren’t a replacement for traditional therapy, they are a valuable resource for those who aren’t able, or willing, to seek therapy.

  • Are Mental Health Apps Good for Everyone?

    In short, no. Although mental health apps can be extremely helpful for those struggling with stress, anxiety, or mild depression, they aren’t suitable for everyone. “Some people may need a higher level of care,” Owens said. In those cases, apps may be more useful as a supplement for therapy, to help work on skills in between sessions.

    The effectiveness of a mental health app is also largely dependent on the individual user. Some people might get a lot out of them whereas others might not. According to Hardy, mental health apps are best suited for those who understand what they struggle with and what they need, and who feel comfortable navigating virtual support.

    Mental health apps are not suitable for anyone with a serious mental illness or experiencing a crisis. If you have a mental health emergency or need immediate help, please call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988.

  • Are Mental Health Apps Evidence-Based?

    In order to be effective, mental health apps should be based on scientific research. All of the apps on this list are evidence-backed and developed by mental health experts. When looking for a mental health app, make sure to check the website for explanations of the science and research used.

  • Are There Any Free Mental Health Apps?

    There are several completely free mental health apps available:

    • iBreathe: A meditation and breathwork app available for Apple users
    • MindShift CBT: A CBT-based app to help with anxiety
    • Smoke Free: Designed to help you quit smoking
    • Recovery Record: An app to help those recovering from an eating disorder
    • Better Stop Suicide: This app uses psychological techniques to help people with suicidal thoughts. It’s good for helping you learn to calm your thoughts, but in an emergency it’s best to call 911 or seek help immediately.  
    • Smiling Mind: A mindfulness and meditation app
    • CBT-i Coach: Designed to help with insomnia or sleep-related issues


In order to find the best mental health apps, our research team looked at over 40 different apps aimed at managing various aspects of mental health, including sleep, mood, anxiety, depression, and stress. When evaluating the apps, our top priority was making sure that they were developed by experts or medical professionals and based on scientific research. Other factors we looked at included platform availability (iOS and Android), cost, features, mental health issues addressed, and ease of use.

Cheerful man listening to music with headphones mental health app

Maca and Naca / Getty Images

Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Katie Mannion
Katie Mannion is an Occupational Therapy Assistant and freelance writer. As both a COTA and a writer, she is passionate about helping people improve their health, happiness, and activities of daily living. She has a background in Psychology and frequently writes about mental health, wellness, relationships, and entertainment.