2Joined Mar 2021


  • Name: List of mental health apps.
  • What is it? 
    • Mental health apps from a systematic review, research papers and pilot studies.
  • Why do you like it? 
    • I have not tried these. But they seem to be promising because of the research behind them.
  • Where to start?

The list of the most promising apps against mental illness according to a systematic review (Miralles et al., 2020):

  • Actissist and UCSF PRIME reduced psychotic symptoms and symptoms of schizophrenia.
  • Virtual Hope Box reduced self-harming and suicidal behaviour.
  • Agoraphobia free reduced symptoms of agoraphobia.
  • Challenger reduced general anxiety and social anxiety.
  • MoodHacker and SuperBetter reduce depression.
  • SuperBetter increased pain management and reduced depression (d= 1.05) (Roepke et al., 2015; Devan et al., 2019; Miralles et al., 2020).
  • PTSD Coach reduced PTSD symptoms (d= .41), depressive symptoms (d= .45) and increased psychosocial functioning (d= .51) (Kuhn et al., 2017).

Some additional apps are listed here:

  • Mindease reduced anxiety. A pilot study showed a 51 % reduction in anxiety (Brietbart, 2018). 
  • Happify increased positive mood with 27 % and well-being with 11 % during a 8 week trial and it had a dose-response relationship (Carpenter et al., 2016; Parks et al., 2018).
  • TeleCoach reduced hazardous alcohol use (d= 1.37) (Berman et al., 2020). 
  • ‘Calm’ and ‘Headspace use mindfulness and guided meditation. Headspace reduced anxiety and depression. It also increased positive affect and well-being (Bostock et al., 2019; Wang et al., 2020).
  • ‘CBTi Coach’ and Moodmission uses CBT principles and techniques (Wang et al., 2020).
  • Additional evidence-based apps against mental illness can be found at the United Kingdom National Health Service: https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/ 
  • There are many systematic reviews, meta-analyses and other research that look at more apps. It would be good to do an overview over the evidence and accessability in the field of mental health apps.


Berman, A. H., Molander, O., Tahir, M., Törnblom, P., Gajecki, M., Sinadinovic, K., & Andersson, C. (2020). Reducing Risky Alcohol Use via Smartphone App Skills Training Among Adult Internet Help-Seekers: A Randomized Pilot Trial. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11.

Bostock, S., Crosswell, A. D., Prather, A. A., & Steptoe, A. (2019). Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being. Journal of occupational health psychology, 24(1), 127.

Brietbart. (2018). Mind Ease: a promising new mental health intervention. https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/kuZz3aB6Z7tciEhG5/mind-ease-a-promising-new-mental-health-intervention 

Carpenter, J., Crutchley, P., Zilca, R. D., Schwartz, H. A., Smith, L. K., Cobb, A. M., & Parks, A. C. (2016). Seeing the “big” picture: big data methods for exploring relationships between usage, language, and outcome in internet intervention data. Journal of medical Internet research, 18(8), e241.

Devan, H., Farmery, D., Peebles, L., & Grainger, R. (2019). Evaluation of self-management support functions in apps for people with persistent pain: systematic review. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 7(2), e13080.

Fu, Z., Burger, H., Arjadi, R., & Bockting, C. L. (2020). Effectiveness of digital psychological interventions for mental health problems in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry.

Kuhn, E., Kanuri, N., Hoffman, J. E., Garvert, D. W., Ruzek, J. I., & Taylor, C. B. (2017). A randomized controlled trial of a smartphone app for posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 85(3), 267–273. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000163

Miralles, I., Granell, C., Díaz-Sanahuja, L., Van Woensel, W., Bretón-López, J., Mira, A., ... & Casteleyn, S. (2020). Smartphone apps for the treatment of mental disorders: systematic review. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 8(4), e14897.

Parks, A. C., Williams, A. L., Tugade, M. M., Hokes, K. E., Honomichl, R. D., & Zilca, R. D. (2018). Testing a scalable web and smartphone based intervention to improve depression, anxiety, and resilience: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Wellbeing, 8(2).

Roepke, A. M., Jaffee, S. R., Riffle, O. M., McGonigal, J., Broome, R., & Maxwell, B. (2015). Randomized controlled trial of SuperBetter, a smartphone-based/internet-based self-help tool to reduce depressive symptoms. Games for health journal, 4(3), 235-246.

Wang, L., Fagan, C., & Yu, C. L. (2020). Popular mental health apps (MH apps) as a complement to telepsychotherapy: Guidelines for consideration. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 30(2), 265.