Best Mental Health Apps of 2024 for Well-Being & Therapy

In a world where our smartphones are practically extensions of ourselves, mental health apps have become the go-to for maintaining sanity and seeking therapy. They’re like pocket-sized therapists, offering convenience, support, and maybe even a bit of style. But are they all they’re cracked up to be? Are we risking our mental well-being for the sake of convenience? Let’s explore the best mental health apps of 2024 – what sets them apart and how they can truly benefit us. 

Keep reading to learn more about navigating mental health apps and finding what works best for you.

Best Mental Wellness Apps

Note: This article contains affiliate links, meaning In On Around will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps us maintain the site. As always, we value full transparency & only work with brands we love and trust.

This article is co-authored by Kendall Bierman, MHC-LP and Catherine Power

Table of Contents

What Are The Best Mental Health Apps of 2024?

We have access to just about everything on our phones… crazy, right?! Whether it’s online shopping, social media, streaming your favorite TV show, or booking your next vacation, our phones serve us every day. 

So, it’s no surprise that the health and wellness industry has made products and applications available to us on our little screens. If we can redecorate our homes or find our future spouse through the use of our phones, why can’t we also work on our mental health? With the many apps now available for meditation/relaxation and anxiety/depression, now we can! The question is, how much do these apps actually help? And, which ones are worth the effort? 

While they aren’t a replacement for therapy, these apps can still serve to improve your well-being. 

Since these apps are still relatively new, research is still being conducted into the efficacy and effectiveness of them. It’s important to note that many of the mental health apps available are not backed by research. Read along to learn the pros and cons of some of the most popular apps for mental well-being. We’ll also review how effective they are through available evidence-based research.

Top Meditation Picks

The Best Apps For Meditation and Relaxation

Meditation App that includes features such as meditations, breathing exercises, calming exercises, and sleep stories.

Calm Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Sleep stories to help those with insomnia
  • Meditation reminders to help you stay on track
  • Select your main goals so recommendations are tailored to your needs.
  • You can track stats such as how long you’ve been using the app or how many sessions you’ve completed.
  • Mood tracking over time
  • Kid-friendly
  • There is a free version. Without purchase you get access to some of its features.
  • Masterclasses taught by experts in the mental wellness field
  • Real-life visuals and nature sounds

Calm Cons

  • Significantly fewer features in the free version than the paid one.
  • Since there is so much content, it may be difficult to navigate through
  • To get the most out of it you have to pay for it
  • More expensive than other meditation apps available

Is the Calm App Effective?

  • A 2019 study from NIH showed that mindfulness training through a meditation app for 2 weeks reduced loneliness. It also increased social contact, when compared to the control group. [1]
  • A 2020 study also found that “nearly all parents thought the app was helpful for their child’s sleep.” [2]
  • Meditation as a whole is backed by science. It can help reduce stress, improve attention, reduce anxiety, promote emotional health, help with pain, and so much more. [3]

A meditation app that includes four main categories (meditate, sleep, move, music). The app also features a suggested daily routine, which includes videos for the morning, afternoon, and evening.

Headspace Pros

  • Large variety of meditation videos
  • Easy to navigate the platform
  • Also offers podcasts and short videos
  • Kid-friendly
  • You can choose the length of the meditation you pick
  • Good for beginners and those who are more advanced

Headspace Cons

  • No free content available once the free trial ends
  • There is nothing longer than 30 minutes

Is the Headspace App Effective?

  • According to Forbes, Headspace has the largest body of peer-reviewed evidence in the digital mental health industry with more than 50 peer-reviewed studies and 65 research collaborations. [4]
  • A study from Northeastern University found that using Headspace for 3 weeks helped to increase compassion by 23%. It also reduced aggression by 57%. [5]
  • A 2022 review looked at 14 randomized controlled trials and found that using Headspace improved depression in 75% of the participants. At least 40% of those studied showed “improvement in mindfulness, well-being, stress, and anxiety” – WOW. [6]
A meditation app that is unique due to its customizability. The app constantly asks the user about their experience, needs, and goals, and it adjusts the meditations based on those answers. [7]

Balance Pros

  • First year is free
  • You can create your own wellness plan based on your goals
  • In addition to meditations, there are courses available through the app
  • You can track your progress and adjust your plan to meet your needs
  • You can purchase a lifetime membership

Balance Cons

  • Advertisements present through the app
  • No evidence-based research provided on the efficacy of the app

Is the Balance App Effective?

  • Balance does not have research published regarding its effectiveness, however, this does not mean that it is not effective. General meditation has a lot of research to back up its positive effects. 
A meditation app that targets sleep and stress. The app offers breathwork and mindfulness exercises, bedtime stories, guided visualizations, calming music, courses on wellness-related topics, access to wellness experts, and podcast episodes. [8, 9]

Insight Timer Pros

  • Large selection of exercises
  • Library where you can search for various types of meditations and lengths
  • You can use most of what the app offers for FREE
  • User-friendly
  • Affordable pricing

Insight Timer Cons

  • Free trial is only a week-long
  • You don’t get full access to the app without a paid subscription

Is the Insight Timer App Effective?

  • Insight Timer itself has not been examined in clinical studies, however, mindfulness techniques and mindfulness-based therapies have been shown to reduce insomnia and to be effective in reducing stress, improving emotional balance, and helping with anxiety and depression.
Best Apps for Anxiety + Depression

Best Apps for Anxiety and Depression

There is a lot of research to prove that apps used to self-manage depression can significantly help reduce symptoms. In fact, the apps can reduce their total anxiety levels. The results, of course, are most impactful when the apps are used in conjunction with face-to-face or internet-based therapies. [10]

A mental wellness app designed to combat negative thinking by using tools and sessions that help you assess your feelings, recognize negative thinking, and then work to change it. Through the app, you can track sleep, nutrition, exercise, and more. [11]

Moodfit Pros

  • You can customize how the app works for you based on your goals.
  • Daily reminders and exercises to help you stay on track.
  • Great analytics to help you spot patterns in your mood and identify what impacts your mood on a daily basis.

Moodfit Cons

  • No communication with a therapist
  • The premium subscription costs money
  • The free version is limited in what it offers

Is the Moodfit App Effective?

  • Moodfit uses tools from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and meditation which are evidence-based practices. However, the app is not intended to supplement professional mental health care.
An app developed by mental health professionals with the purpose of relieving your anxiety. [12]

Happify Pros

  • Large variety of tracks to follow
  • Affordable monthly fee
  • Tracks designed by real therapists
  • The app provides psychoeducation about CBT and positive psychology and why it works

Happify Cons

  • Expensive lifetime access cost
  • The educational tracks lack clear structure
  • No free trial of the premium version
  • The app can be buggy, particularly when not connected to WiFi

Is the Happify App Effective?

  • The app was designed by real therapists, making it more evidence-based than other apps
  • The app heavily relies on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and positive psychology which are effective evidence-based therapy interventions.
A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) based app intended to target and relieve different types of anxiety (social anxiety, general worry, perfectionism, panic, phobias).  [13, 14]

Mindshift Pros

  • Completely free
  • Psychoeducation about CBT and the different types of anxieties that are addressed by the app
  • Strong use of CBT
  • Available treatment plans for each type of anxiety
  • Easy to use and navigate

Mindshift Cons

  • Seems to have fewer features and resources than many other mental health apps offer
  • No access to professional support

Is the Mindshift App Effective?

  • The app uses all evidence-based strategies pulled from CBT and Mindfulness techniques.
A mental wellness app aimed at reducing stress, anxiety, and/or depression using mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills.  [15, 16]

Sanvello Pros

  • Free version offers a lot of content and tools
  • Journaling tools help you to recognize patterns in thoughts and moods
  • Offers educational courses and articles
  • Offers access to professional one-on-one therapy

Sanvello Cons

  • The guided meditations are mainly for beginners
  • Access to therapy is not included in the subscription price
  • Telehealth therapy is only available in 23 states
  • Supportive forums are not monitored

Is the Sanvello App Effective?

  • The CBT and mindfulness skills that the app uses are evidence-based.

Final Thoughts: Best Mental Health Apps of 2024

Clearly, there are a lot of positive benefits to mental health apps. They can make a major difference in mental health when used regularly, properly, and consistently. There are many more apps on the marketplace, but this article dives into the top choices available in the app store.

Navigating the many mental health apps can be daunting for some people, but with a bit of exploration, you can find the ones that work best for you. If you don’t like one app, try another! Plus, new apps are always coming out. So, what do you think are the best mental health apps of 2024?

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Best Mental Health App

What is your favorite mental health app?

Let me know your thoughts and key takeaways in the comments below!

xoxo,

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Frequently Asked Questions – Best Mental Health Apps of 2024

Click on the below FAQs to learn more about: guided meditations, personalized care apps, stress management health app, and breathing exercises.

The top-rated mental health apps of 2024, based on user reviews and expert evaluations, include Headspace and Calm.

Mental health apps differ in what they offer, how easy they are to use, and how well they work, depending on features like meditation tools, mood tracking, therapy options, and community support.

No, mental health apps do not replace therapy.

Using the mental health app ideally daily is best.

About Catherine Power

Catherine Power is the Founder and CEO of In On Around. She is a Harvard-educated Ingredient Safety and Environmental Toxins expert. Catherine has a background in Food Science, Personal Care Quality, and Regulatory Compliance.

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