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  • Writer's pictureMisti Luke, LCSW

Top 7 Mental Health Apps

Updated: Aug 31, 2019

Technology has recently opened a new door in to the world of mental health support. Meaning, now there's an app for that. Anyone with a smart phone can utilize dozens of simple applications aimed to track and improve mental wellness.

After downloading, and trying out dozens of mental health apps, here are my top 7 picks. Two of which were created by the Department of Veterans Affairs, The best part, they're free.

PTSD Coach - an app developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD, intended for use by veterans, military personnel, and civilians experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

It provides a self-assessment tool that allows users to track symptoms over time (though it does not clinically diagnose PTSD) as well as tools for managing symptoms. Users can also store contacts for personal support, locate nearby treatment programs, and contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline quickly in emergencies.

Available for free on both iOS and Android devices.

PTSD Family Coach- is for family members of those living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The app provides information about PTSD, how to take care of yourself, how to take care of your relationship with your loved one, and how to help your loved one get the treatment they deserve. T

he app also includes a great deal of information specific for Veterans and active duty members of the military. Available for free on both iOS and Android devices.

SAM Self-Help Anxiety Management is an app designed to help people who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety. Users can record their anxiety levels and identify different triggers.

The app includes 25 self-help options to help users cope with the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety. Users can create a personalized anxiety toolkit, adding in the features of the app that they find most useful for easy access. The app also has a social cloud feature that allows users to anonymously share their experiences with other SAM users.

Available for free on both iOS and Android devices.

IntelliCare - is a suite of apps developed by researchers at Northwestern University to target symptoms of depression and anxiety. The apps were developed as a part of a national research study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The suite includes the IntelliCare Hub app and 12 mini apps.

The Hub helps users manage their preferences and recommends apps based on their concerns. The mini apps include things like Worry Knot (for worry management techniques), Thought Challenger (to help reduce negative thought patterns), and iCope (for inspirational messages and reassurance). Available for free on Android devices.

Stay Alive- is a pocket suicide prevention resources app, which is packed full of useful information to help you stay safe. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide. Notice, if you or someone you care about is having suicidal thoughts, dial 911. Available for free on iOS and Android devices.

Headspace- is a meditation app for beginners that focuses on improving sleep patterns, teaching various relaxation and mindfulness techniques. Out of all the apps I downloaded to complete this blog post, Headspace was my personal favorite. Available for free on Android and iOS devices.

MoodTools- MoodTools Depression Aid- was designed in collaboration with multiple mental health professionals. MoodTools contains several different research supported tools including a thought diary to help combat distorted thinking patterns based on principals from Cognitive Therapy, and tools to develop a suicide safety plan to help keep you safe and utilize emergency resourses.

DISCLAIMER: No mental health phone app is intended to be a substitute for professional intervention, or treatment. If you are experiencing emotional distress contact your primary care physician, a licensed therapist in your area, or simply dial 911.

Misti Luke is a licensed behavioral health therapist. She maintains a small private practice in beautiful Broken Bow, Oklahoma. For correspondence


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