The Best Mental Health Apps To Elevate Your Mood Immediately

Overall, we found Headspace to be the best mental health app.

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Whether you’re struggling to get a restful night's sleep, keep your thoughts from racing, or find the time to meet with a therapist to address mental health concerns, apps can help you get the support and relief you need. There are mental health apps that can help you deepen your mindfulness practice, engage in breathwork, talk to a therapist, and even join group therapy with like-minded folks struggling with similar concerns. Not only are these apps convenient, but they’re also often more affordably priced than many in-person resources. 

That said, it isn’t always easy to tell a helpful app from a bad one—until you try it. So if you’re not in the mood to browse through hundreds of apps, read user reviews, or test the apps out yourself, don’t fret. We tasked our research team with testing the best mental health apps for you. Below we’ve rounded up the best, most affordable, easiest-to-use, best-quality mental health apps covering a wide range of needs. Here are our top picks.

Best Mental Health Apps of 2023

01 of 09

Best Overall: Headspace

Courtesy of Headspace.

Key Specs

  • Cost: $13 per month ($10 for students), $70 per year, $100 per year for a family plan
  • Platforms Available: iOS and Android
  • Free Trial: Yes

Why We Chose It

Headspace is our pick for the best mental health app due to its affordable price point, wide range of resources, and excellent expert-informed content. Plus, it isn’t just for de-stressing; there is also a focus on waking up and getting energized and even increasing your movement throughout the day.

Pros & Cons

  • Affordable membership fees

  • Offers a free trial

  • Expert-backed coping tools

  • Might be underwhelming for experienced meditators


Headspace offers an affordable, convenient app geared toward people on the go with limited time to stop, regroup, and let the day melt away. Even if you are a meditation and mindfulness novice, the app offers sessions that can be used morning or night to get your head in the right space. With hundreds of programs to choose from, such as short three-minute meditation sessions, SOS sessions for a quick rescue, sleep stories to help you unwind at the end of the day, and morning sessions designed to get you moving and off on the right foot, there is something for everyone. We also love that app helps with specific needs, like overcoming grief and loss or learning calming skills to curb anger. 

The meditation teachers and experts are diverse, with a range of backgrounds and identities. Membership plans are affordable, with discounted student plans, individual plans, and even packaged plans for up to six family members. Best of all? Experts love it too. “I’ve tried a number of anxiety and meditation applications, and Headspace is unquestionably my favorite,” says the founder of Siddhi Yoga, Meera Watts. Headspace is her app of choice for her patients who lack social support.

Plans & Pricing

Headspace offers four different plans:

  • $10 per month for students
  • $13 per month for non-students
  • $70 per year for non-students
  • $100 per year for families (up to six people)
02 of 09

Best for Therapy: Talkspace

Talkspace logo


Key Specs

  • Cost: $69 to $109 per week, billed monthly
  • Platforms Available: iOS, Android
  • Free Trial: No

Why We Chose It

Talkspace is a leader in the therapy app space. We love that it offers therapy for individuals, couples, and teens, plus medication management.

Pros & Cons

  • Wide range of services available

  • Therapist matching process

  • Convenient and flexible scheduling

  • May be cost-prohibitive for some

  • Sessions are short


Talkspace is our pick for the best mental health app offering therapy due to its convenience, range of services, and easy therapist matching process. Don’t just take our word for it: 90% of Talkspace users we surveyed gave it a positive rating, with 92% rating the qualifications of therapists on the app highly. Talkspace demystifies the therapy process, allowing you to choose which service you want (even teenagers can find care on this app) and the plan that feels like the best fit, and then let the app match you with an aligned therapist. End up with a provider that doesn’t feel like a match? That can happen—49% of the Talkspace clients we surveyed switched two to three times before finding the right therapist. 

Talkspace offers a variety of plans, ranging from unlimited text messaging-based therapy to weekly live video or chat therapy sessions, and access to mental health workshops. The pricing isn’t a fit for everyone, and sessions are just 30 minutes long. The company is in-network with many major insurance plans, like Cigna, Aetna, and Optum, offsetting some expenses for insured folks. We suggest opting for the live weekly session plans. Text messaging therapy seldom is enough support for people looking to work through mental health concerns.

Plans & Pricing

Talkspace offers various plans and pricing.

  • Unlimited messaging with a licensed therapist costs $69 per week and is billed monthly.
  • Unlimited messaging plus weekly 30-minute individual sessions costs $99 per week, billed monthly.
  • Unlimited messaging, weekly 30-minute individual sessions, and access to weekly mental health workshops costs $109 per week, billed monthly.
  • Weekly 30-minute couples therapy sessions cost $396 per month. 
  • An initial psychiatric evaluation is $249. Follow-up sessions are $125 each.
03 of 09

Best for Addiction: Circles

Circles Logo


Key Specs

  • Cost: $79 per month for four weekly sessions
  • Platforms Available: iOS, Android
  • Free Trial: Yes

Why We Chose It

Social support can be a key component of navigating addiction recovery. Circles offers affordable access to support groups facilitated by trained mental health professionals.

Pros & Cons

  • Affordable

  • Groups facilitated by trained professionals

  • Ability to contact group members and facilitators outside of group

  • Not considered therapy

  • Cannot view all facilitators on the website


Peer support has been proven to help folks navigating recovery from addiction. Overcoming addiction can be lonely, especially with many social events involving alcohol and other substances. This is why Circles is our pick for the best mental health app for addiction. Offering support groups for a variety of concerns, it has sobriety-specific groups that can help folks find community, learn new coping tools, and navigate the world of addiction recovery. 

Mental health professionals facilitate each group, which means participants get both the support and encouragement of peers and the expert knowledge of caring professionals. Furthermore, every group runs for 12 weeks, so you are surrounded by others equally committed to the group, deepening a sense of trust within the space. Eighty percent of the Circles users we surveyed gave the platform a positive rating and 77% stated their group facilitator met most, if not all, of their needs.

Plans & Pricing

Your first session is free, then Circles offers one membership plan: $79 for a 12-week long support session meeting four times a month. Since these meetings aren’t considered therapy sessions, the program is not covered by insurance.

04 of 09

Best for Sleep: Calm

Calm Meditation App logo


Key Specs

  • Cost: $70 per year, $400 for lifetime access
  • Platforms Available: iOS, Android
  • Free Trial: Yes

Why We Chose It

Calm offers numerous sleep stories for adults and kids, offering a sweet lullaby to help you drift off to dreamland faster.

Pros & Cons

  • Nature-focused meditations available

  • Wide range of sleep stories, including ASMR

  • Affordable annual membership

  • Not a lot of free content

  • Kids' stories are long


We collectively need more sleep. Nearly 35% of adults in the U.S. sleep less than seven hours a night, consistently clocking in below the minimum recommended amount of rest. Calm is our pick for best sleep mental health app because it specifically targets sleeplessness, featuring a wide range of meditations and sleep stories for kids and adults alike. 

Therapists, meditation experts, and coaches are featured on the app, providing you with insights from qualified professionals in the field. In addition to meditation and sleep stories, there are worksheets you can access to support you in improving your overall stress levels. The app's overall aesthetic is dreamy and soothing, with muted hues of blue and picturesque nature scenes. Don’t just take our word for it; medical professionals are equally enthused by Calm. “I like the Calm app. It has hundreds of calming exercises and breathing techniques,” says Seema Sarin, MD, who specializes in lifestyle medicine. She applauds the app’s easy navigation and frequent additions of new content.

Plans & Pricing

An annual subscription to the Calm app costs $70, while a one-time purchase for lifetime access will run you $400. 

05 of 09

Best for Stress: Aura

Aura Mental Health App Logo


Key Specs

  • Cost: $12 per month, $60 per year, $399 for lifetime access
  • Platforms Available: iOS, Android
  • Free Trial: Yes

Why We Chose It

There’s tons of ways to decrease stress and Aura manages to cover most of the approaches.

  • Easy sign-up

  • Most affordable meditation app on our list

  • Wide variety of extra activities

  • Wealth of content can be overwhelming

  • Customer service can be slow


Stress often isn’t decreased by just one approach. That’s why Aura is our pick for the best mental health app for stress. It offers a personalized experience to stress reduction, featuring meditation, hypnosis, ASMR, breathwork, and even cognitive behavioral therapy (which is clinically proven to significantly decrease stress levels). You can also expect actionable tips on increasing your wellness in the workplace with guided insight from career development professionals. Aura experts, coaches, and therapists hail from around the world, have different racial and gender identities, and boast a huge range of professional credentials. We’re confident that this app has something for anyone who is stressed out. 

To get started, you simply take a quiz to help personalize your experience in the app, ensuring you’re shown the most relevant content possible. In fact, the volume of content is so impressive it can even become overwhelming. Be sure to take your time exploring the app to get a feel for your favorite features, but don’t be surprised if you don’t get through all the app’s content within your seven-day free trial.

Plans & Pricing

Aura features three different plans:

  • $12 per month
  • $60 per year ($5 per month)
  • One-time payment of $399 for lifetime access
06 of 09

Best for Anxiety: Sanvello



Key Specs

  • Cost: $9 per month, $54 per year
  • Platforms Available: iOS, Android
  • Free Trial: Yes

Why We Chose It

When in the throes of anxiety, we might need help immediately. Sanvello provides extensive support that can decrease symptoms of anxiety.

  • Peer support available

  • Option to receive therapy

  • Covered by some insurance plans

  • Have to sign up to view app resources

  • Therapy sessions cost extra


Sanvello is a mental health app with resources specifically designed to decrease symptoms of anxiety. It boasts that it is the top-rated app for stress, anxiety, and depression, with over three million users and counting. Sanvello takes a well-rounded approach to anxiety, focusing on self-care, peer support, coaching, and therapy. As if that wasn’t good enough, it is also in-network with some insurance providers. 

We wish its website offered the opportunity to view at least some of the app’s resources before signing up. It can feel a bit like signing up blindly, but a free trial is available and the monthly fee is rather low. The app’s clinical approach to decreasing anxiety symptoms is fantastic, offering aspects of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This form of therapy focuses on how unhealthy thought patterns can perpetuate symptoms of several mental health conditions, including anxiety. The therapy is celebrated for its ability to decrease symptoms of anxiety, providing hope that healing is possible. While the app does offer individual therapy sessions, they come at an extra fee. 

Plans & Pricing

A monthly membership costs $9, and an annual membership is $54. On average, an initial therapy appointment is $140, with follow-up sessions running $85 each. 

Sanvello is covered by some insurance providers, including Beacon, Magellan, Cigna, and Optum, so make sure you check for your provider when signing up.

07 of 09

Best for Journaling: Reflectly

Reflectly logo


Key Specs

  • Cost: $10 per month, $60 per year
  • Platforms Available: iOS, Android
  • Free Trial: Yes

Why We Chose It

Reflectly revives the lost art of journaling by offering specific journal prompts focusing on self-love, mood management, and anxiety. We love that you can use it anytime, anywhere.

Pros & Cons

  • Offers a mood tracker

  • Simple and easy to use

  • Aesthetically pleasing interface

  • Hard to find pricing information

  • Not much information on features until you sign up


Journaling is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to mental health tools. A recent study found journaling helpful in decreasing mental illness symptoms, noting its low resource requirements and emphasis on self-motivation as two key components. Reflectly’s simple focus on journaling for mood management and self-care made it our clear winner for the best journaling app for mental health. 

A roadblock to developing a regular journaling practice can be the hassle of carrying a notebook and pen around. For many, life has become busier than ever, leaving us to seldom (if ever!) think to set down our phone and turn to pen and paper. However, having the option to jot down thoughts and vent emotions in an easily accessible app may encourage you to stick with a regular journaling practice. We like that there are various prompts to keep you curious about your internal world, and Reflectly's mood tracker is perfect for those wanting to better understand patterns that appear in their daily lives. Unfortunately, there is very little information about the app, its pricing, and features prior to signing up. Additionally, its specific focus on journaling may feel underwhelming to those not already committed to daily journaling, especially for the monthly subscription price.

Plans & Pricing

A monthly membership costs $10. The annual membership is $60.

08 of 09

Best for Holistic Wellness: Open

Open guided meditation logo


Key Specs

  • Cost: $20 per month, $150 per year
  • Platforms Available: iOS
  • Free Trial: Yes

Why We Chose It

Open has something for anyone on a wellness journey, including yoga, Pilates, meditation, breathwork, music, and educational talks. This wide range of features makes it an excellent value for the cost of the subscription.

Pros & Cons

  • Wide range of offerings

  • Fantastic value for the cost

  • Live classes available

  • Instructors could have more body diversity

  • Financial aid isn’t available


Are you looking for an elevated aesthetic, various holistic wellness offerings, and a diverse roster of instructors? Open has it all. Our mental health can often benefit from a holistic approach, one that prioritizes physical movement, meditation, breathwork, and education. Focusing on strengthening the mind-body connection, this app offers live and on-demand classes, allowing you to heal in a community setting or on a solo journey. 

Open offers excellent value for its monthly cost, with various forms of content and new material added weekly for just $20 a month. While the company has a physical space in Venice, California, and was initially conceptualized as an in-person studio, it swiftly shifted its plans when the pandemic hit. Though it is relatively new and is still gaining attention, we were impressed by the app’s easy user experience, the thoughtfulness of the instructors, the range of breathwork classes (i.e., for pregnancy, asthma, or people prone to seizures), and the reasonable monthly fee. We do wish financial aid was available for those in need, and would love to see more body size diversity among instructors.

Plans & Pricing

An Open app subscription runs $20 per month or $150 per year.

09 of 09

Best for Breathing Techniques: Breathwrk



Key Specs

  • Cost: $9 per month, $49 per year
  • Platforms Available: iOS, Android
  • Free Trial: Yes

Why We Chose It

Breathwrk is a multi-award-winning app designed to help novices and experts alike strengthen their breathwork practice.

Pros & Cons

  • Affordable

  • Personalized experience

  • Easy to navigate interface

  • Doesn’t offer extra activities

  • Breathwork may not be for everyone


We love Breathwrk because it demystifies breathwork practices, making it accessible for newbies and interesting for advanced breathers alike. It is important to note that learning controlled breathing can be intimidating at first. It is more than simply breathing; it is a form of fast-paced breathing that involves specific cadences. For novices, it can feel uncomfortable, and it certainly isn’t uncommon to feel discouraged initially. 

Despite this, mastering the practice of breathwork can be incredibly useful for our overall well-being, with recent studies celebrating its ability to decrease stress. If you’re skeptical, its website has an entire section dedicated to the science of breathing exercises. Breathwrk is rather affordable, especially if you opt for the annual membership. However, if finances feel like a barrier to access, you can apply to receive a free membership. The company's commitment to accessibility only deepens our trust in its motivation for helping the world learn destressing breathing techniques.

Plans & Pricing

Breathwork offers three different plans:

  • $9 per month
  • $49 per year

If the membership fees are well out of your budget, you can apply for a free membership.

Final Verdict

Our top pick for best mental health app is Headspace, thanks to its wealth of resources, affordable membership fees, and expert-backed coping tools. It is great for beginners and we found it to be a fantastic app for anyone looking to boost their overall mental wellness. It’s important to note that apps are not a substitute for live talk therapy with a therapist. That said, TalkSpace and Circles are apps that offer expert-led therapy and group sessions, so you can get the therapy you need from the comfort of your home, car, or office. 

For those who would like more variety, we recommend Open. Open has a range of yoga classes, breathwork exercises, and guided meditations at a low monthly fee, making it a great fit for those who want a more holistic approach to their mental health care.

Compare the Best Mental Health Apps

Company Price Platforms Available Free Trial?
Headspace Best Overall  $13/month ($10 for students), $70/year, $100/year for a family plan iOS, Android Yes
Talkspace Best for Therapy  $69 to $109 per week, billed monthly iOS, Android No
Circles Best for Addiction  $79 per month for four weekly sessions iOS, Android Yes
Calm Best for Sleep  $70/year, $400/lifetime iOS, Android Yes
Aura Best for Stress $12/month, $60/year, $399/lifetime iOS, Android Yes
Sanvello Best for Anxiety  $9/month, $54/year iOS, Android Yes
Reflectly Best for Journaling  $10/month, $60/year iOS, Android Yes
Open Best for Holistic Wellness  $20/month, $150/year iOS Yes
Breathwrk Best for Breathing Techniques  $9/month, $49/year iOS, Android Yes

Guide to Choosing the Best Mental Health Apps

What Are Mental Health Apps?

Mental health apps are programs designed specifically for use on digital devices to help individuals strengthen their overall mental wellness. Each app has a specific focus. For example, Talkspace focuses specifically on therapy and psychiatry services, while Calm has everything you need to up your sleep routine. The tools and resources in each mental health app can help you develop coping skills that enhance your overall well-being. For example, you may learn a breathing technique that helps you manage an oncoming wave of anxiety or develop a meditation practice that helps you fall asleep swiftly.

Are Mental Health Apps Effective?

Mental health apps can be quite effective. There is evidence suggesting mental health apps can help decrease symptoms of depression. Another study found a mental health app could help veterans decrease symptoms of insomnia and cannabis dependence. It is worth noting that the apps featured here use evidence-based practices and/or cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.

Who Are Mental Health Apps For?

Mental health apps are for anyone wanting to build their coping tools. However, an app isn't a replacement for live therapy and isn’t appropriate as a standalone treatment for those struggling with psychosis, mania, or suicidal ideation. “Mental health apps typically focus on one type of guidance, like meditation and mindfulness or CBT, so someone would get the most out of an app if they know what type of support they are looking for,” says subject matter expert and licensed social worker Hannah Owens, LMSW.

How to Compare the Best Mental Health Apps

It can be overwhelming to choose the best mental health app for your needs. Here are some important factors to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • Pricing: Price is one of the most important components of choosing a mental health app. Take a look at your overall budget and determine what you can comfortably afford. This will help you narrow down the options when selecting an app.
  • Platforms: Many apps are available for both iPhone and Android, but some are only available for iPhone. Be sure to take a look at what platform an app is available on when making your decision.
  • Focus: Take a moment to reflect on why you want to use a mental health app. Considering what your problem area is can help you narrow in on the tools you’d like the app to offer you. 
  • Subscription requirements: Some app subscriptions are available on a monthly basis while others require a yearly subscription. Be sure to take a look at an app’s requirements before signing up to avoid any billing surprises.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are Mental Health Apps Similar to Therapy?

    Mental health apps are similar to therapy in providing support that targets increased mental well-being. However, mental health apps often focus on content that can be used alone while therapy requires the presence of a licensed mental health provider.

  • Can Mental Health Apps Be a Substitute for In-Person Therapy?

    Not necessarily. There are circumstances when someone has already completed a therapy program that they may find a mental health app sufficient to keep them sharp on the tools they already have. However, that is the exception and not the rule. “Generally, it is best practice to use a mental health app in conjunction with and as a complement to professional mental health care,” says therapist Hannah Owens.

  • Do Mental Health Apps Help With Depression?

    Yes, they can. A 2022 study found a mental health app focusing specifically on depression was helpful in decreasing depressive symptoms. Some features included in this app were a journal, reminders, and mood tracking, all of which were supportive in decreasing depressive symptoms.

  • Are There Any Free Mental Health Apps?

    The majority of the apps included in this list have a free trial period, but do require payment at some point. Some of them have resources you can access for free. Additionally, some apps can be purchased with funds from a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA).


We reviewed 38 mental health apps during our research for this article, considering price, user experience, range of resources offered, and expert insight when making our selections. We also surveyed 105 users of 55 different therapy platforms, where we focused on the best user experiences clients had with various virtual therapy platforms. Apps that were not user-friendly, lacked informative content, and had an exorbitant amount of advertisements were disqualified. 

Edited by
April McCormick
April McCormick
April is the health editor for performance marketing at Dotdash Meredith where she oversees family health, wellness, and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Verywell Mind, VErywell Family, Verywell, Fit, Verywell Health, Time, Parents, Parents Magazine, The Straits Times, The Huffington Post, TripSavvy, Parenting, First Time Mom and Dad, Mama Mia, All4Women, the New York Times Bestseller, A Letter To My Mom, and more.
Simone Scully
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Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.
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