The Rise of Mental Health Apps

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Tablet showing various colorful apps

Mental health apps have taken the field by storm as patients and individuals download them as a resource for help. From meditation and mindfulness apps to ones that teach coping skills and stress relief, the types of apps that exist are endless. Some providers embrace mental health mobile apps as a tool to help their patients reach their goals, learn important skills, and aid in interventions. Other providers are unsure whether or not these apps aid in the therapeutic setting or not.

Different Types of Mental Health Apps

Different apps are designed to meet different needs. Some of the apps most used by patients and therapists today fall into one of the following categories.

  • Mindfulness Apps – These apps are designed to help patients practice mindfulness with a variety of different exercises.
  • Apps for Those With Depression – There are apps meant to help those who have depression learn different ways to cope and manage.
  • Insomnia Apps – For those whose symptom is difficulty sleeping, there are mental health apps designed to help them relax and fall asleep at night.
  • Deep Breathing Apps – For those with anxiety, deep breathing apps can guide individuals through breathing exercises that help to calm them.
  • Remote Therapy Apps – For those that would rather seek therapy remotely, there are apps that securely connect patients and providers to make that possible.
  • CBT Apps – There are apps designed with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to offer evidence-based care to patients who need it.
  • And More – The list does not end there. There seems to be an app for just about anything in today’s world.

What are the Benefits of Mental Health Apps?

Mental health apps can be great tools for providers looking to give their patients additional resources throughout their care. Some of the top benefits of mental health apps include:

  1. Bridges the Gap Between Sessions – In moments of need, mental health apps provide patients with an accessible and dependable resource to help them get through challenging moments. For example, if a patient is having trouble sleeping, they can open an insomnia app and hopefully find respite. You are not available to assist them in that moment, but they are not left to their own devices either.
  2. Evidence-Based – While not every app is evidence-based, many are. Certain apps are designed specifically to support providers using evidence-based interventions on their patients and offer support when needed.
  3. Low Cost – Sometimes patients do not have the financial resources to see you once a week or access certain resources that you’ve suggested to them. Mental health apps are generally little to no cost for the patient, making them accessible.
  4. Increase Patient Engagement – Patients who play a more active role in their care often achieve better outcomes. Mental health apps offer a convenient way for patients to engage in their care between visits.

The Best Mental Health Apps for Patients

Some of the best mental health apps available to patients on their smartphones include:

  • Moodfit – Moodfit is a free app (with in-app purchase upgrades available) that offers evidence-based tools and exercises for patients such as breathing, mindfulness practices and CBT exercises. IT allows patients to track their goals and forms to their unique needs.
  • Calm – Calm is an app that costs roughly $70 a year (around $6 per month) that offers audio classes and lessons on breathing, mindfulness, relaxation, and sleep exercises. There is a 7-day free trial so that patients can test it before they purchase it.
  • iBreathe – This is a completely free app that offers breathing exercises for those that deal with anxiety and is customizable based on their needs.
  • CBT-i – This mental health app is free and helps support evidence-based insomnia and sleep disorder treatment. Studies have shown the effectiveness of this app in certain populations.
  • Headspace – This app teaches mindfulness using meditation and other exercises to help patients establish positive mental health habits. This app is not free, but costs around $13 a month.

There are many more apps available for providers to use as resources for their patients. Their utilization offers patients consistent and accessible resources that help them stay engaged in their care at a relatively low cost.

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