7 Apps Designed to Help Reduce Depression and Anxiety

The suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain captured this week’s headlines, sparking a much-needed national conversation about mental health.

Just days after Spade’s death, new research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed an unsettling increase in suicides across the United States over the past three decades.

Researchers found that more than half of the people who died of suicide during the study did not have a reported mental health diagnosis at the time of death, but experts note that mental health conditions most likely were underreported.

In addition to mental illness, other issues, including relationship problems, substance abuse, physical health problems, job- or money-related stress, legal or housing problems often contributed to risk for suicide, the CDC report found.

For those living with depression or anxiety, there are a variety of treatment options available to help improve mood and reduce hopelessness, such as psychotherapy or prescription medication. However, in today’s digital age, many are turning to the additional support available at the touch of a screen — behavioral health apps.

While a phone application cannot completely replace professional help, their accessibility provides an additional source of support and a tool to help manage negative thoughts.

Whether it’s a peer-support chat room or a mood-tracker, these seven apps (which are all available for both iOS and Android users) can be extremely useful tools for practicing self-care.

Moodpath is a pocket-sized mental health companion. Credit: Moodpath

1. Moodpath

Moodpath asks daily questions to screen for symptoms of depression. Whether it’s been a rough week or it’s a concern about mental health, Moodpath aims to support and guide users out of the dark.

By using the questions to measure users’ well-being and screen for symptoms of clinical depression, the app seeks to increase users’ awareness and understanding of their thoughts and feelings.

After two weeks, the Moodpath provides users with an electronic document designed to aid in discussion with healthcare professionals. More than 150 psychological exercises are also provided to help further strengthen mental health in the meantime.

MY3 provides users with a core network of three trusted contacts. Credit: MY3

2. MY3

Designed for people who are depressed or suicidal, the MY3 app trains users to recognize suicide warning signs in themselves and others.

MY3 prompts users to choose three close contacts that they would feel comfortable contacting when feeling particularly low.

The app also helps users create a personal safety plan that encourages them to think through and list personal warning signs, coping strategies, and support networks.

Available 24 hours a day, TalkLife is a peer-support community. Credit: TalkLife

3. TalkLife

Sometimes it’s important to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through. TalkLife provides users with a peer-support community 24/7.

Users can also share their experiences anonymously through TalkLife. Thousands of people are available to talk on the app, ready to lend their emotional support.

TalkLife users also don’t need to worry about trolls — the app is clinically governed, and safeguarding is a main concern.

A thought diary is just one of the useful tools available. Credit: MoodTools

4. MoodTools

MoodTools is designed to combat negative thoughts and alleviate feelings of hopelessness through a variety of research-supported tools.

A thought diary is one of these useful tools. Users are encouraged to write down daily thoughts in order to analyze and identify negative thinking patterns.

Designed in collaboration with multiple mental health professionals, the app also provides users with a safety plan tool, self-help guidelines, informational videos, as well as a depression questionnaire designed to track severity of symptoms over time.

What’s Up uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques. Credit: What’s Up
What's Up

5. What’s Up

Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy, What’s Up uses a positive and negative habit tracker to help users keep up with good habits and ditch those that are counterproductive.

While the “Get Grounded” page contains more than 100 different questions designed to help users pinpoint specific feelings, the “Thinking Patterns” page helps users overcome these negative inner monologues.

Headspace provides hundreds of guided meditations, animations, and articles. Credit: Headspace

6. Headspace

The Headspace app is aimed at helping users maintain relaxation and mindfulness during busy schedules, specifically through guided meditations.

Through meditation techniques, Headspace provides a simple way to reframe stress. For more serious conditions, the app contains “SOS sessions” to manage moments of panic or severe anxiety.

This app helps users adopt new habits and improve thinking skills. Credit: SuperBetter

7. SuperBetter

A game focused on increasing resiliency, strength, and optimism, SuperBetter helps relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

When people played SuperBetter for 30 days, their moods improved, symptoms decreased, and self-belief in achieving goals increased, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania.

SuperBetter is designed to help users adopt new habits, strengthen relationships, complete meaningful projects, and achieve lifelong goals.

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here are ways to help: Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Available 24 hours a day and seven days per week, it provides free and confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or distress.


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