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10 best mental health apps for 2022

Reviewed by Cathy Leeson

A student looking at a smartphone.

Apps are extremely popular tools for helping us take care of our health. In fact, they’ve become so popular—and genuinely helpful—that many therapists now recommend mental health apps to their clients.

This is great news if you’re looking for more convenient options for mental health support, but remember that an app can never replace traditional therapy with a licensed professional. Although an app can supplement treatment and help you manage your feelings or symptoms between sessions, it isn’t a stand-alone solution.

Of the hundreds of thousands of mental health-related apps on the market, a handful truly stand out. Here are our favorites for 2022.

Note: Some of these are free to download, but many require upgrades or subscription packages to unlock all features. Some apps offer free trials so you can get the full experience for a limited time before deciding to commit to an upgrade.

Best for mood boosting: Happify

Happify combines cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), positive psychology, and science-based activities into fun phone-based games. Playing games on the app can help you improve your emotional coping skills, learn how to stay calm in stressful situations, and build a more stable sense of well-being. The more you use Happify, the more data it measures, so it can give you insight into your progress.

Best for stress management: Breathing Zone

Breathing Zone helps you learn how to control your breathing and destress in just a few minutes using exercises based on the principles of mindfulness. You’ll be guided through the process for each exercise, so you can turn to them anytime you feel tense or anxious. It’s one of the few apps on this list with an initial cost (around $3) to download, but if you plan to use it regularly, the benefits should outweigh this modest price.

Best for anxiety: MindShift

MindShift helps you manage your anxiety by teaching you how to cope with stress through CBT techniques and advice from mental health professionals. You can use MindShift to track your mood and anxiety levels, find “quick relief” solutions, keep track of your symptoms in a journal, and connect with other people who are struggling with anxiety. You can also use it to help with worry, panic, perfectionism, social anxiety, and phobias.

Best for depression: Sanvello

Sanvello (formerly Pacifica) offers CBT and mindfulness-based interventions to people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and stress. It includes a daily mood tracker, custom audio exercises, a community forum, and educational content about mental health. You can also connect with a licensed therapist directly through the app. If you have insurance, check to see if Sanvello Premium is included in your plan.

Best for journaling: Daylio

Daylio is a micro-journaling app for tracking your mood and daily activities. All you have to do is choose how you’re feeling each day, then jot down some notes about what you did. You can also add photos, tags, and other details. Your mood chart will show you how your mood changes over time, giving you deeper insight into how it affects your daily activities (and vice versa).

Best for meditation: Headspace

Headspace offers a variety of guided meditation exercises to help you relax, focus, and destress. Some activities include meditation packages to help you sleep better, while others offer relaxation exercises for when you need a moment to yourself. There are also guided meditation sessions designed for children, teens, and parents.

Best for immediate support: 7 Cups

7 Cups offers a safe space to discuss whatever’s on your mind, making it one of the best mental health apps for people who need someone to talk with right away. According to 7 Cups, they have more than 180 therapists and over 300,000 trained listeners from all around the world. You can also get personalized recommendations based on an assessment test, activities, and exercises to help boost your mood, and community forums for connecting with others.

Best for addiction: I Am Sober

I Am Sober is a resource for people with addiction and compulsive behaviors. It offers educational and motivational resources focused on helping you practice self-control. Use it to track your sober days, take daily pledges to remain sober, calculate how much time and money you’ve saved by staying sober, and connect with others in the community. There’s also a feature for analyzing your triggers so you can become better equipped to avoid or resist them.

Best for eating disorders: Recovery Record

Recovery Record helps people in recovery from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors. It teaches evidence-based coping skills and offers a variety of tools to help you track your physical activity, mood, thoughts and feelings, and food intake each day.

Best sleep app: Pzizz

Pzizz helps you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality by creating a unique sleep soundtrack just for you. All the sounds included in Pzizz were chosen based on how our brains respond to sound. In addition to sleep sounds, the app offers voice-guided relaxation exercises and a variety of soundscapes. You can customize the sounds, set a timer for how long you want the track to play, and use it to take short naps that leave you feeling refreshed and more alert.

Apps can be wonderful tools for supporting mental health, but they’re not a replacement for therapy. If you’re having a hard time, please reach out to a qualified professional for direct conversation and personalized advice. Our therapist directory is a great place to start.

About the author

Elise Burley is a member of the 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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