Best Mental Health Apps of 2023

While you are recommended to seek professional help for your mental health, there are apps apps available that can be a big help in stress reduction, anxiety management, mood elevation and more. The best mental health apps are now available at your fingertips every day. Obviously, they can’t replace therapy, but research has shown that some of the best mental health apps out there can be a great way to improve your well-being and record the progress you make on your mental health journey.

There’s a lot to love about mental health apps: the variety, the affordability and the features. They also bring mental health resources to people who otherwise couldn’t get help due to finances, disabilities or location. But they’re not a one-size-fits-all. But they can provide general mental health support. Just note that not all mental health apps are backed by research or clinical insights. With between 10,000 and 20,000 wellness apps out there, it can be difficult to find the best option. 

That’s why we did the research for you. Here are the seven best mental health apps you can start using today to elevate your happiness. 

Read more: Best Online Therapy Services

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

Talkspace takes our top spot for the best therapy mental health app because of its 24/7 access to medical professionals. It’s an affordable online therapy option that gives you more than just helpful guides and videos to watch. You have access to a licensed therapist wherever and whenever you need them. Talkspace is a great option for someone who is not comfortable going into an office or would rather have therapy appointments online.

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

The Moodfit app has a lot to offer, and you can choose how to use this best mental health app. You can track sleep, nutrition, exercise and more during your wellness journey. Moodfit uses tools and sessions that help you assess your feelings, recognize negative thinking and change it.

Moodfit app home page

Moodfit’s home page features your progress and goals. 

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

Sanvello is the best mental health app for stress relief thanks to its full meditation library, guided journeys, health tracking and cognitive behavioral therapy tools. I was pleasantly surprised when using Sanvello. For me, it was a lesser-known option on the list, and it did not disappoint. You can choose what goals you want to target — reduce anxiety, feel happier, build confidence, etc., and you can select as many goals as you want.

Goal screen from Sanvello app

The Sanvello app allows you to select which goals you want to target. 

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

Happify is a free mental health app that focuses entirely on your mood and helps relieve anxiety. Developed by mental health professionals, Happify’s strategies are derived from cognitive behavioral therapy that helps you learn how to recognize and reorient negative thinking.

Happify app

Various tracks are available from Happify.

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

MindShift is a free mental health app specifically designed to target anxiety. Categories within the app are broken down into general worry, social anxiety, perfectionism, panic and phobias. This allows the user to personalize which type of anxiety they want to work through.

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

The unique experiences of people of color are often excluded from traditional mental health resources. The wellness app industry is traditionally not inclusive and mainly focuses on experiences that white people encounter. Only one in three Black Americans get the mental health care they need. That’s why Shine is the pick for the best mental health app for people of color.

Shine app screen

Selection of choices for Shine app. 

Screenshot by Taylor Leamey/CNET

How we chose the best mental health apps

The apps included on the best mental health app list have the best features supported by research. When selecting our picks, we examined each app’s user experience, features and pricing. We also read through user reviews to tease out pain points and what people value in mental health apps.

Frequently asked questions

What are mental health apps?

Who doesn’t want therapy from the comfort of home? Mental health apps are tools you can use to improve your well-being. While not all offer online therapy, they’re simple to use and make managing your mental health easy. Each app will vary in what it targets. For example, Calm specializes in relaxation and breathing. Moodfit focuses on tracking your mood and finding patterns.

Are mental health apps effective?

Experts are split on the effectiveness of mental health apps. Some studies have not found “convincing evidence” that apps greatly improve outcomes related to disorders like anxiety, depression or drinking. However, other research has suggested that mental health apps have potential in managing and improving symptoms of select disorders.

What are the benefits of mental health apps?

Mental health apps bring resources to those who otherwise may not have had access to them, whether because of financial standing or regional location. And while they are not a true replacement for therapy, mental health apps are a great way to self-regulate and be mindful of how you’re feeling.

Will mental health apps be the end of therapy?

Mental health apps are great tools that supplement your experience. However, it’s unlikely they would ever replace traditional therapy, even the options that offer virtual therapy. Mental health apps have limitations in crises, and there are questions about effectiveness when used alone. Mental health apps aren’t the best option for everyone. While the apps are typically user-friendly, some people still prefer to meet in person and have their therapists’ undivided attention. It’s all a matter of preference.

Do mental health apps share your data?

With mental health apps, you can’t assume that everything is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Mental health apps fall in a gray area. HIPAA only protects information collected by “covered entities,” including healthcare providers and insurance companies. Many of the best mental health apps on the market operate without connection to covered entities, meaning your information isn’t completely private.

Should you use a mental health app?

For many people, apps are an important tool to guide their wellness journey. While they are not a replacement for therapy, mental health apps are a great way to check in on yourself. My advice is that mental health apps are what you put into them. Many of the free ones offer helpful, educational content. But you need to take the time to read it. Others allow you to work through stressors with open-ended answer boxes. But you have to interact with the app to truly benefit from it.