Best Apps to Improve Your Mental Health

Looking for apps to help you improve your mental health?
Then you’re in the right place.

Common recommendations to improve mental wellbeing such as talking to a therapist, or taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) can be very helpful, but it’s important to remember that when it comes to mental health, what will work for one person won’t always work for another. The process of prioritizing our mental health is as unique as our individual experiences, so we’ve put together a list of ten different methods – and sixteen great companion apps – to support you on your journey to mental wellness.

 

Mental Wellness in North America

The State of Mental Health in America report, which screened for mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, stated that in September of 2020, individuals screened for anxiety “were up by 634% from January” and “depression screens were up 873%.” 

The comparison from this report does not take into account the time span between September of 2020, and June of 2022 when this blog post was written, however it is evident that there has been a massive increase in the number of North American citizens who are experiencing a mental health illness. This number is highest among youth, especially LGBTQ+ youth. There are numerous factors that weigh into collective mental health issues, including the collective trauma we have experienced due to events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing wars and even social media.

We’re here to help you put the tools you need to prioritize your mental wellbeing, right in your pocket. Here are some of the best apps to improve your mental health.

 


Best Ways to Improve Mental Health – and Corresponding Apps

 

1. Good Community – Meetup and Eventbrite

Being part of a community where you feel supported and nourished by relationships is an integral part of mental wellbeing. Finding a community of people who share similar values and interests is easier using apps like Meetup and Eventbrite.

Meetup allows you to connect, and “meet up” with people who share your values and interests, while Eventbrite allows you to quickly find events related to those interests.


2. Stay Active – ClassPass

Having a regular fitness routine is shown to boost endorphin levels, which activate the opioid receptors in the brain, bringing about feelings of euphoria and general well-being. There are a plethora of fitness apps available in the Google Play Store and the App Store, but ClassPass has 14 activity types, including Dance, Yoga, Kickboxing and Martial Arts. They also offer your first 14 days for free!

3. Talk About Your Feelings – BetterHelp

It can feel vulnerable to openly express your feelings and experiences, especially if this isn’t something you’re used to in your everyday life. Sometimes talking to a professional therapist can really help with mental wellness, and BetterHelp provides quick access to over 20K accredited and trained therapists, so you can find a therapist that fits your individual needs.

4. Eat Well – Instacart and Happy Cow

In order to feel well mentally, our basic needs must be met first, which includes eating delicious, quality meals! Unfortunately, in our fast-paced society, we don’t always have time to slow down and make healthy meals at home. Perhaps if we didn’t have to go to the grocery store, we would have more time to cook! 

If this sounds like you, check out Instacart – a grocery delivery and pickup service. They offer the first two weeks of deliveries for free.

If you are looking to improve the quality of your diet, check out Happy Cow, an app that helps locate vegan and vegetarian restaurants near you!


5. Drink Plenty of Water –
Myfitnesspal

Sometimes when we experience mood states like anxiety or depression, it may be because we simply have not consumed enough water. 

According to the NIH study conducted “to investigate the relation between plain water drinking and risk of depression and anxiety among a large sample of Iranian adults”, it was found that there were inverse correlations between plain water consumption and common psychological disorders like anxiety and depression. 

If there’s a chance that drinking water could lower the effects of these disorders, maybe it’s time to start tracking our water consumption! 

Myfitnesspal is a great way to log water consumption, plus you can use the app to track calorie intake and fitness goals.


6. Get Outside –  AllTrails and Pokémon GO

Research has demonstrated that “various types of nature experience are associated with nature in various ways”. Spending time in nature has the capability to improve mood, regulate stress, and increase feelings of connectedness. 

Looking for some beautiful scenery and trails? Check out the AllTrails app. Users can filter by proximity, length of trail, trails with views or waterfalls, difficulty level, and rating.

Another fun app to use to get outside and get social is Pokémon GO. Curious to read more about Pokémon GO? Check out our blog post, Why Pokémon GO is a Successful Mobile App.

7. Practice Gratitude – Gratitude – Daily Journal

Remember when you wanted exactly what you have now? So often, we forget to acknowledge all the hard work that has already paid off because we’re rewarded for quickly moving on to the ”next thing”. Creating a regular gratitude practice helps us focus on and feel more positive emotions, and to appreciate all there is to be grateful for in the moment.

8. Laugh – Comedy Central

Laughter is one of the best ways to improve our mental wellbeing. According to the 2016 study, Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review, “Laughter decreases serum levels of cortisol, epinephrine, growth hormone, and 3,4-dihydrophenylacetic acid (a major dopamine catabolite)” which is indicative of a reversal of the stress response. Laughter is easily accessible and acceptable, and according to this study, laughter also reduces anxiety and tension, and counteracts symptoms of depression.

Need a quick pick-me-up? Check out the Comedy Central app, available on the App Store and the Google Play Store!

9. Acts of Service – Be My Eyes and VolunteerMatch

Studies have shown that volunteering, especially when the volunteering is “other-focused”, is significantly predictive of better mental health, physical health, life satisfaction and social well being. 

Interested in ways to find volunteering opportunities? Check out the VolunteerMatch app online. If you want something more specific, consider volunteering with Be My Eyes, an application that helps connect blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers to help recognize objects and cope with everyday situations.


10. Meditation – Insight Timer and Waking Up

The basic concept of meditation is to connect mind and body, and to become an observer of the thoughts that are constantly passing through our minds. When we become mindful of our thoughts, we can take a step back and recognize that we are not our thoughts, but rather someone who is experiencing these thoughts.

Meditation has many benefits, including reduction of stress and control of anxiety. If you’re curious to read more on the positive effects of meditation, take a look at The Many Benefits of Meditation on the Headspace website.


Interested to see if meditation would work for you?
Insight Timer offers over 100K guided meditations that you can filter by duration, topic and even origin! 

Waking Up is a meditation resource that provides not only a series of guided meditations, but short meditation theory talks to help users understand the  behind-the-scenes of a meditation practice.

 

The Spectrum of Mental Health

Mental health covers a wide spectrum of wellness. Some people often feel great, and need only to maintain their mental wellbeing, whereas other individuals require a greater level of assistance, perhaps by a professional therapist or psychiatrist. No matter where you fall on this spectrum of mental wellbeing, there are resources available to you! Remember that while it’s not pleasant to suffer from less than optimal mental wellbeing, you’re definitely not alone, and seeking out help has the potential to work wonders.

 

Additional Mental Health Resources

In addition to the mobile and web apps referenced in the list above, there are a plethora of resources (including more apps, along with games and worksheets) available to individuals who seek them on the DIY Tools page of Mental Health of America’s website.

 

Quick Disclaimer:

If none of these apps seem to help, and especially if you feel they add MORE stress into your life, it may be time to put down the phone for a digital detox.


If you or someone you know
is experiencing a mental health crisis, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or dial 911 in case of emergency.

Kassidy Jezierski Image

Kassidy Jezierski is the Operations Lead at Lithios. She works to clearly communicate the capabilities and optimal engagement opportunities between Lithios and its clients. In her free time, she enjoys fingerpainting pictures of lambs and docile sheep.

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