Mental health apps are not designed to diagnose a condition, but rather to improve one’s mental health. In everyday life, just as people pay attention to their physical health, mental health too needs some support and nourishment in order to help one feel better.
Off late, these digital platforms have proven to be very effective in dealing with the treatment of mental health through mindfulness, meditation, journaling or even just by reminding you to take a nap. Then there are also other types of apps that can provide tools and activities to help combat anxiety, stress and specific health conditions.
Are mental health apps effective?
Counseling and therapy apps help in both the management and monitoring of mental health conditions. Furthermore, these apps are easy to use, make checking symptoms easier and increase engagement in treatment plans.
The apps are either free or come at a greatly reduced rate than charged by an in-person specialist. As a result, these types of digital platforms have soared in popularity, especially over the last two years.
Additionally, it has been found that treating mental health through apps has the potential to help improve cognition, skill-training, self-management and symptom tracking. Some other benefits include:
- Faster access to providers and healthcare professionals.
- Makes monitoring of remote patients a simple task.
- Improves self-esteem and self-acceptance
- Combats self-defeating behaviours and habits.
Further studies have shown that while online therapy shows an improvement of only 50% in symptoms of anxiety, stress and obsessive-compulsive disorder, it is still advocated as an active and affordable tool to treat mental health as compared to in-person sessions.
Best online therapy platforms and apps
Here is a list of ten of the best mental health apps out there today and how they work. This will help determine which one is best for you and your needs.
Founded in 2012 with the aim to make mental health services accessible for everyone, Talkspace was the first company which showed that online therapy offered support to those seeking succour from ill mental health. Beginning at $65 per week for the lowest message-only plan to the ultimate weekly video therapy session for $99, Talkspace offers couples counselling, individual therapy, teen therapy and psychiatry as a special service.
This relatively new entrant in the virtual industry (launched in 2020), has already made a name for itself in the fields of individual counselling, LGBTQ therapy and grief and career consultation. Plans start at $59.95 a week and go up to $89.99 a week for four 30 minutes live video sessions, plus unlimited messaging. It’s worth noting however that many Calmerry reviews are fairly critical of the service.
Unlike other teletherapy services, Sesh works by providing a space for an hour-long online support group session via video. Meetings usually take place between two to fourteen people facilitated by qualified professionals They cover a large inclusive range of support sessions, dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder to issues affecting LGBTQ communities throughout the year. Again reviews of Sesh rate it at a lower level when compared to industry leaders such as Talkspace.
Formerly known as America Well, this is a wonderful app for those who have the least knowledge about texting or messaging a therapist. Video sessions can be arranged instantly with doctors and last as much as 45 minutes. Since it is a general telemedicine platform, one can book virtual appointments with doctors as well. Session costs are higher at $99-$110 per video session as Amwell is not subscription based.
Touted as the largest e-counseling platform in the world, BetterHelp gives you a massive pool of reputed healthcare providers to choose from. Prices range between $60-$90 per week, billed monthly and all you need to do is to complete their questionnaire and they will match you with the best fit. That said, one can choose ways to gain access to a counsellor, in order to build a long lasting therapeutic relationship.
Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT is a popular approach for treatment of anxiety and depression and Online-Therapy.com’s program is based entirely on this. They provide remedies using a toolbox which includes plans like journaling, yoga videos and home tasks which are specifically prepared by the therapist. Plans start from $39.75 to $79.95, with a $59.95 plan which includes the full toolbox and feedback from your therapist.
At $150 per month, 7Cups is the most affordable option for virtual healthcare treatment. They offer unlimited chat messaging from your end, but they reply only twice a day, Monday through Friday. For those who need less urgent support they have a 24×7 totally free chat function where volunteers (not therapists) interact with the user and lend them a compassionate ear to ease their apprehensions.
While the app is free, BellyBio has offers on in-app purchases. The app works on biofeedback to monitor your breathing with the device resting on your belly. When checking your breathing techniques real time, it plays multiple interactive music themes like, for example, the sound of breaking of the waves of the ocean to make the user relax and be totally at ease by synchronising the elements of light and music with their belly movements.