The Top 6 Mental Health Apps, According to ADDitude Readers
Whether you need a mood boost, a mindful moment, or a mental health professional, help is at your fingertips with a growing library of meditation and online therapy apps. Here, ADDitude readers share their favorites.
Cost: $60 to $90 per week for unlimited messaging, phone, and weekly video sessions
Switch between communication methods (live chat, phone, video) as you like
Matched with a therapist, on average, within 24 hours
Simple flat fee that’s all inclusive
An online therapy website and app, Better Help connects adults, teens, and couples to licensed therapists for help with depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma, grief, and other issues. The fee structure is simple and straightforward (the price depends on your location) and includes unlimited messaging, and weekly video sessions. ADDitude readers said they enjoy the convenience of online therapy and appreciate the level of access they have to their provider through unlimited messaging. “I love that my psychologist checks up on me throughout the week,” said one reader. Another perk: you’re not locked into one way of communicating with your provider, but can switch between text, phone, and video.
Cost: $69 per week for unlimited messaging, $99 per week for live sessions
Choose your therapist from three options
Works with some insurance providers
Has a psychiatry program (different rates apply)
Talkspace is an online therapy site and app with licensed providers who provide services for all of the conditions listed above, plus sleep therapy and psychiatry services. Users choose from one of several service plans: unlimited messaging only (video, text or audio), weekly live sessions, or a combination of both services. While Talkspace tends to be a little pricier than Better Help, it works with some insurance providers. ADDitude users told us they appreciated choosing their provider from three matches offered, and they praised the flexibility of unlimited messaging. Explained one ADDitude reader: “When I was using Talkspace, it was a relief to be able to type something as it happened rather than try to remember everything on a given day.”
Choose from different voices for many guided meditations
“Move” section with large selection of workouts and exercise videos
Great for beginners, with lots of bite-sized meditations
Started by a former monk, Headspace is a meditation and relaxation app that offers a wide selection of recordings and videos arranged according to theme, from stress, anxiety, and focus to mindful eating and navigating injustice. There are “SOS” recordings to help with specific emergencies like fear of flying and climate anxiety, as well as breathing exercises, focus music playlists, sleepcasts, and exercise videos. Each time you open the app, you’re greeted with a daily line-up, curated just for you, that is organized by morning, afternoon, and evening exercises and courses. This clear organization, and the app’s plethora of brief meditations, make Headspace great for beginners. “I found the Headspace app invaluable for helping me to calm my mind and get to sleep,” said one ADDitude reader. Another offered: “It was a tool I had at my fingertips when I felt overwhelmed.”
Huge variety of sleep stories, some narrated by celebrities
Lots of content for kids
Calm is one-stop clicking for all things relaxation. The soothing begins as soon as you open the app, which triggers nature sounds to play while you choose from tabs titled Meditation, Wisdom, Music, or Sleep. The “sleep stories” are an especially popular feature boasting a huge selection that includes celebrities like Harry Styles, LeBron James, and Matthew McConaughy. The library of soundscapes is also impressive, including options from alpine meadow to volcano lava flow, and helpful for focus or with winding down. The app earns high praise from ADDitude users with children, who enjoy the exhaustive library of sleep stories, meditations, and movement videos for kids as young as three.
Insight Timer offers far more than just a meditation timer. It houses an extensive collection of meditation tracks, allowing you to choose from spiritual, Zen, or transcendental meditation, an exhaustive library of breathwork exercises as well as music and sleep recordings. In addition, users enjoy using the journal function to note goals, mantras, victories, and challenges, as well as the app’s community tools, including various chat groups. If you appreciate a live element to your practice, there’s a large selection of live events available on topics from yoga and Reiki to light language transmission and quantum healing.
Cost: free for up to 3 habits; to track more, upgrade for $8.99
Set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals
Can be used to break bad habits and build good ones
Group habits by category
Meditation can be hugely beneficial — but, of course, it’s a practice that relies on repetition. For people with ADHD, this can prove challenging, since impulsivity and distractions often interfere. This is where a habit-tracking app like Done comes in. You choose which habits you’d like to work on building or breaking, group them in categories like Fitness, Organization, and Eating, then come up with weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Each time you successfully engage in the new habit, you get the positive reinforcement of seeing the color change on the home screen, and watching the days rack up will motivate you to keep up your winning streak.
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1 Fried, R., DiSalvo, M., Farrell, A., & Biederman, J. (2021). Using a Digital Meditation Application to Mitigate Anxiety and Sleep Problems in Children with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1177/10870547211025616
Technology is the angel and the devil who perch on our shoulders. For all the ways screens can harm our emotional well-being, they also have the potential to vastly improve it — and apps for meditation and online therapy are among the most popular tools used to fortify mental health.
Online therapy sites and apps enjoyed a surge in popularity during COVID shutdowns, but they’ve remained appealing as a convenient, affordable, and flexible option. For people with ADHD, who may need check-ins more frequently than once a week, unlimited messaging has been a game-changer. Explained one ADDitude reader who used Better Help for their teen: “My child could send their provider a message whenever something was bothering them. They didn’t have to wait until the next scheduled appointment.”
Another essential tool in any mental health toolbox is meditation. Various studies have demonstrated the positive impact of meditation on everything from reducing stress and anxiety to promoting healthy sleep to improving symptoms of ADHD — and, thanks to a host of apps, the guided meditation have never been easier to access. A 2021 study published in Journal of Attention Disorders1 revealed that meditation apps like Headspace significantly reduced anxiety and sleep problems in children with ADHD, no matter how much they meditated. The verdict is clear: meditation works, whether in app form, or otherwise.
But with hundreds of meditation and therapy apps promising life-changing results, how do you choose the one that meets your particular set of preferences and needs?
To ease the selection process, we asked ADDitude readers to share their favorite mental health apps, and to tell us what they loved about them. Here’s your top six.