Top Free Mental Health Apps
Technology is constantly evolving, and more and more individuals and organizations are creating technological tools to enrich people’s lives. These range in topics and genres, and one category that is increasing is mental health/illness. We have put together a list of FREE apps that you can download both on the App Store or Google Play. Please keep in mind that these apps are not a replacement for psychological or medical treatment.
Coping with stress
Even though this app is targeted to students, anybody can use it. Healthy Minds is a tool made to help deal with emotions and the stresses of everyday life. It was developed by The Royal, one of Canada’s top mental health care and academic science centres. With this app, you can take advantage of a mood tracker, breathing exercises, stress relief activities, a journal, and more.
Created by Anxiety Canada, Mindshift is a great tool to take control of your anxiety. It uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help users relax and come into a mindful state. The app tackles issues like worry, panic, perfectionism, social anxiety, and phobias. Some key features include CBT-based tools, a thought journal, and goal-setting options.
Depression and/or suicide
Created in collaboration with multiple mental health professionals, MoodTools includes a depression test (PHQ-9 depression test), a symptom tracker, a thought diary, and a suicide safety plan to help combat depression and alleviate negative moods.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The US Department of Veteran Affairs created an app for those afflicted with PTSD. Important to note is that this app is not just for military veterans; it is for anyone with PTSD who has suffered a traumatic event. PTSD Coach provides users with educational resources, self-assessment tools, stress managing tips like relaxation skills, and anger management.
Rise Up + Recover
This comprehensive app is a great addition to the treatment of anorexia, bulimia, obsessive eating, binge eating, and compulsive eating. Rise Up + Recover uses CBT to help its users in their treatment journey. Users can log in their meals, emotions, and behaviours, and export their entries to PDF to share with their therapist. It also includes custom reminders to inspire users, shares motivational quotes, and has additional resources.
Saying When: How to quit drinking or cut down
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital, created Saying When to help users take control of their drinking habits. The step-by-step program includes self-assessments, additional resources, personalized goals, and a dashboard to organize it all. CAMH stresses that this tool is not meant for those with a serious drinking problem (but they do provide resources for those that do).
Quit That! (iOS only)
This is an app that helps you track the things you are trying to quit (smoking, drinking, etc.). A great bonus is that there are no pesky ads! Interesting features in Quit That! include a live counter to show your progress, a calculator to see how much money you saved since quitting, a schedule maker, and a note taking section.
CAMH (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) has teamed up with MEMOTEXT Corporation to create A4i, a platform designed for those with schizophrenia and other psychoses. It is still in the process of being created, but key features that will be included are a curated news feed, evidence-based strategies, pill reminders, personalized crisis tools, and an ambient noise recorder to help differentiate between real noises and hallucinations.
– Gabrielle Lesage