5 Mental Health Apps that will Change Your Life

Apps for Mental Health AddictionMental health apps used to be few and far between; however, more recently there’s been an influx of them.  They change the name of the game for the behavioral health industry.  For one, they increase the number of interventions available for an array of mental illnesses.  Secondly, they change the nature of these interventions from paper to paperless, specifically in regards to tracking and monitoring symptoms. Lastly, they reduce stigmatization around mental illness.  Below are five highly rated mental health apps specifically targeting anxiety, stress, substance use, mood, and emotion dysregulation.

  1. Breathe2Relax
    Breathe2Relax is a mobile stress management application. It is a hands-on diaphragmatic breathing exercise. When we observe our breath, we can decrease the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ response and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management.  Breathe2Relax can be used as a stand-alone stress reduction tool or in conjunction with a clinical provider.  I like this app because it is customizable.  Users can personalize background music, video scenery, and the length of both the inhale and the exhale.  A tip for paced breathing is to set your exhale longer than your inhale!  The app is free for both iOS and Android devices.
  2. HeadSpace
    HeadSpace is a meditation and mindfulness-based app.  HeadSpace, as is true for mindfulness practices in general, is most effective when practiced every day, even if only for five minutes.  Guided meditation is used to orient and direct the user to the practice.   Andy Puddocombe is the voice of all things Headspace and can send me into a zen space within seconds.  It also doesn’t hurt that he has a British accent!  The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.  A free trial is available for a limited amount of time, then a subscription is required for further use.
  3. Addicaid
    Addicaid is an app for those battling substance use.   Addicaid builds tools to prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction.  Users can track urges, engage with other users via discussion boards, find resources, and network.  Addicaid is an intuitive app that helps users to focus on the big picture and let go of the small stuff that might be getting in the way of recovery.   The app also provides colorful guides and how-to resources for users.  The app is also free to download on iOS and Android devices.
  4. eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker
    Log your mood daily along with your sleep patterns, medications, and other symptoms.  Users can graph results as well to observe patterns and trends.  The best part is that the results are compiled and sent via email to your provider.  Healthline awarded it Best Apps for Bipolar disorder in 2017.  The app is free for both iOS and Android devices.
  5. DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach
    This app is designed by a licensed psychologist and is the only app of its kind available for iOS devices only.  The app is $4.99 on the Apple Store and is worth every penny.  Users can customize skills, targets, and can add notes.  The coaching button directs users to all four modules of DBT in addition to “911 Skills” where users can connect to resources for coaching.   Users can chart and graph their data and track progress.  There is even a reference tab with all of the skills!  The app is easy-to-use, paperless, and allows users to overcome obstacles on their own.

By Lucy Swank, ACSW, Program Therapist