15 best mental health apps for 2024
Reviewed by Robert Bogenberger, PhD
Written byElise Burley
Last updated: 01/02/2024
Can an app really help your mental health?
There’s a lot we don’t know about the effectiveness of mental health apps, but some early research looks promising: In one small study of five popular apps, participants with anxiety and depression saw positive results, especially if they were also in therapy or taking medication.1 In another review, certain apps that use techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and meditation seemed to help college students improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.2
However, not all mental health apps are effective or safe. They often aren’t regulated or supported by independent research, and most aren’t compliant with HIPAA.3 What this means is that apps can share your sensitive mental health information with other parties in ways you don’t necessarily know about or want, so it’s important to choose carefully.4 Be sure to look closely at an app’s data-sharing policy before trying it out.
Mental health apps can never replace traditional therapy with a trained professional—but a well-designed, evidence-based app with good privacy protections can be an excellent addition to your self-care toolkit. Here are our top picks for 2024.
Note: Some of these apps are free to download, but others require upgrades or subscription packages to unlock all their features. Several offer free trials so you can get the full experience for a limited time before committing to the paid version.
Best for healthier thought patterns: Happify
With tools designed for handling stress and boosting self-confidence, Happify aims to help you understand how your thoughts impact your life. The app offers quizzes, games, and activities based on positive psychology, mindfulness, and CBT.
Best for self-awareness: Moodfit
Moodfit is mostly a mood journal that helps people learn how different variables influence their state of mind. Tracking your mood can help you spot trends related to the time of day, day of the week, and other factors. The app also offers a gratitude journaling tool, breathing exercises, guided meditations, and assessments for anxiety and depression.
Best for stress management: Insight Timer
Insight Timer features an extensive library of free guided meditations for managing stress, improving sleep, and more. Users can explore content including mindfulness exercises, music tracks, and ambient sounds designed to promote relaxation.
Best for anxiety: MindShift CBT
MindShift CBT helps users manage anxiety, panic, perfectionism, and phobias through CBT techniques. You can learn how to relax and be more mindful, explore how your thoughts and feelings connect, and take steps to cope with high-stress moments. The app also has a community space for finding and offering peer-to-peer support.
Best for depression: Sanvello
Sanvello is another app rooted in CBT that’s designed to help people feel better when they’re down. You’ll be encouraged to check in with your mood and answer a few daily questions to receive personalized suggestions. You can also follow along with one of many “guided journeys” designed to help you build coping skills.
Best for obsessive-compulsive disorder: NOCD
NOCD connects people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to licensed therapists trained in exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy. Between face-to-face sessions, users can explore in-app videos, therapeutic tools, and exercises. The app also manages a community space where people can share their experiences and find peer support.
Best for managing mood disorders: eMoods bipolar mood tracker
eMoods helps people with bipolar disorder and other mood disorders monitor and understand their mood patterns. Users can track daily emotional highs and lows, sleep patterns, medications, and other factors. You can also generate reports that chart your mood swings and triggers, then opt to share them with your therapist and other health care providers.
Best for posttraumatic stress disorder: PTSD Coach
PTSD Coach was developed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs for people who have—or suspect they may have—posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The app offers educational resources about PTSD, tools for assessing and tracking symptoms, tools for handling daily stress, and direct links to support. Please note that if you think you have PTSD, it’s important to talk with a mental health professional as soon as possible.
Best for medication adherence: Medisafe
Medisafe helps users stay on top of their prescribed medication schedule by providing personalized reminders for each dose. The app offers time zone adjustments for travelers, as well as features like drug interaction warnings, refill reminders, and appointment alerts.
Best for relaxation: Calm
Calm, an app for relaxation, mindfulness, and improving sleep, offers a library of guided meditations that focus on everything from anxiety to self-acceptance. Features include a 10-minute daily calming meditation, “sleep stories” narrated by celebrities like Harry Styles, a music library, and short videos that include mindful movement and stretching exercises.
Best for eating disorders and disordered eating: Recovery Record
Recovery Record helps people with eating-related challenges work toward their recovery goals and develop healthier habits. Your plan is personalized according to your preferences and activity—you can record your thoughts and feelings alongside each meal and link your account with your professional treatment team, if you have one, to receive feedback messages from them.
Best for recovering from addiction: I Am Sober
I Am Sober can be used by anyone who’s trying to quit drinking, smoking, misusing drugs, or other addictive behaviors. You can use a sober day tracker to visualize your progress, add messages and photos to remind yourself why you quit, analyze your day to find potential triggers, and see how much time and money you’re saving by staying sober. You can also view withdrawal timelines for specific addictions, so you know what to expect as you progress.
Best for supporting your child’s mental health: Moshi
Moshi offers interactive activities, stories, meditations, and tools to help kids ages 12 and under find new ways to play, learn, listen, and cope better with stress. The app has more than 50 child-friendly guided meditations and breathing exercises, plus hundreds of hours of sleep content—including bedtime stories and lullabies—to help little ones drift off faster.
Best for helping teens to stop self-harming: Calm Harm
Calm Harm provides activities, techniques, and resources designed to help teenagers end cycles of self-harm and find alternative forms of emotional release. By journaling within the app, teens can identify their patterns and triggers, which may help them avoid relapsing in the future.
Best for soothing suicidal thoughts: Better Stop Suicide
Better Stop Suicide offers self-care tools, activities, and resources for people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and depression. One of its key features is the option to record a life-saving message as a reminder of purpose, strength, and hope. The app is designed to help you calm your mind through check-ins, “feel better” task suggestions, and gratitude checklists so you can think more clearly about how you want to move forward. If you’re in crisis, help is available now: Call or text the free, confidential 988 Lifeline anytime at 988.
Please keep in mind that apps aren’t a mental health solution on their own. If you’re struggling, a therapist can provide the personalized care you need to start feeling better. Visit our directory to find a licensed professional near you.
About the author
Elise Burley is a member of the therapist.com editorial team. She has more than a decade of professional experience writing and editing on a variety of health topics, including for several health-related e-commerce businesses, media publications, and licensed professionals. When she’s not working, she’s usually practicing yoga or off the grid somewhere on her latest canoe camping adventure.
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