Mobile Apps

Mobile apps can be effective tools that make therapy more accessible, efficient, and portable for those with anxiety disorders, depression, OCD, PTSD, and other related disorders.

Mobile apps
To select an app for its benefits and ease of use, read the reviews below by ADAA members. These volunteer reviewers are mental health professionals with degrees in psychology, medicine, social work, and counseling; they are not involved in the development or marketing of mobile apps.



Ratings Key

Ease of Use  How easy was it to use this app at first? 1 = very difficult; 5 = very easy
Effectiveness  How likely will the content provide the tools or methods to accomplish its purpose? 1 = highly unlikely; 5 = highly likely
(Recommendations: Education, Screening, Self-Monitoring, Treatment)
Personalize  What is its ability to personalize an individual’s needs? 1 = no ability; 5 = complete ability
Interactive/Feedback  How interactive is the app in giving feedback? 1 = not interactive, no feedback; 5 = very interactive, helpful feedback
Research Evidence  Does scientific research demonstrate its effectiveness? 1 = no research evidence; 5 = ample research evidence

Headspace

Targeted to anyone who wants to learn meditation to reduce anxiety and stress and improve their attention and awareness; good for a beginner to establish a regular meditative routine. The skills taught include mindfulness and cognitive diffusion, breathing exercises, meditation practice, tips for increased relaxation, concentration; may be applied to anxiety and depressive disorders, PTSD, and OCD, especially in conjunction with a health provider.

This app does a terrific job of describing basic concepts with a creative animated interface, presenting meditation in a user-friendly way with clear instructions; creating an online forum; supplying podcasts; normalizing mind-wandering; and illustrating main points with videos.

It is not be helpful for those who want to track treatment progress, already have an established meditation practice, or are perfectionistic in learning new mindfulness skills. It is not intended as a treatment substitute for those with serious anxiety and related disorders or depression; not recommended as sole method of recovery.

Teens, adults, men, women, veterans; iPhone, Android; free for first 10 sessions only


The first 10 sessions are free, giving an idea of how the app works; then a monthly or yearly subscription is required. Users can choose specific sessions or session lengths to meet their needs, but it is not interactive. The package includes many recorded sessions focusing on different topics, but it is not designed to respond to individual needs.

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Ease of Use = 4.75
Effectiveness = 4 (Education, Self-Monitoring, Treatment)
Personalization = 2.5
Interactive/Feedback = 2.25
Research Evidence = 3

Pacifica

Targeted to help those with anxiety and mood disorders and stress, this app teaches deep breathing, behavioral exercises, excises and identifying cognitive distortions (negative thinking patterns), and learning how to replace them with positive thinking patterns. It’s also good for those experiencing bouts of anxiety between treatment sessions.

The app does a terrific job of changing negative thoughts into positive ones, personalizing one’s cause of anxiety using voice recordings, and introducing CBT and reinforcing exercises between therapist appointments. It is not for someone is crisis; more helpful alongside therapy, but not as a replacement or for use by clinicians to track a client’s treatment progress.

Teens, adults, men, women, veterans; iPhone, Android; free

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Ease of Use = 4.6
Effectiveness = 3.6 (Education, Self-Monitoring, Treatment)
Personalization = 5
Interactive/Feedback = 4
Research Evidence = 1.6

Self-Help Anxiety Management

An app to help you understand what causes your anxiety, monitor your anxious thoughts and behaviour over time, and manage them through self-help exercises and private reflection. The app is targeted to older teens and adults with anxiety disorders. The skills taught may help those with good insight and self-awareness.

It does a terrific job of helping people utilize basic coping techniques and consolidate them into an easily accessible "toolbox." It is not helpful for those with poor insight or those who don't like to take time to read information.  

Teens, adults, men, women, veterans; iPhone, Android; free

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Ease of Use = 3
Effectiveness = 3 (Education, Self-Monitoring, Treatment)
Personalization = 3
Interactive/Feedback = 2

What's My M3

Your M3 score is a number to help you and your doctor understand if you have a treatable mood disorder. You can monitor your score to see how your mental health is changing over time. This app is targeted to help individuals rate various symptoms of mood disorders to determine the impact it may have on their functioning. The skills taught may help those with major depression, bipolar, anxiety disorders and PTSD.

Terrific job of helping people quickly determine if they need to speak to their primary care physician about a possible mental health condition that needs treatment. It is not helpful for those looking for anything but a score indicating that a mental health condition.

Adults, men, women, veterans; iPhone, Android, Windows; free

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Ease of Use = 5 
Effectiveness = 3 (Screening) 
Personalization = 1  
Interactive/Feedback = 1 
Research Evidence = 5

PTSD Coach

This app is targeted to help individuals suffering from PTSD, as well as those simply interested in learning more about this disorder. The skills taught may be applied to individuals with mild to moderate versions of PTSD and for whom self-guided assessment and treatment might be sufficient.

It does a terrific job of education, assessing PTSD, and offering easy to understand tips to manage common PTSD symptoms, and finding additional treatment resources with providers within a search function. It would not be helpful for PTSD sufferers who require one-to-one treatment, high-frequency direct clinical interface, or for those who have difficulty make safe decisions.

Teens,  parents, adults, men,  women,  veterans; iPhone; free


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Ease of Use = 4 
Effectiveness = 5 (Education, Screening,Self-Monitoring, Treatment)
Personalization = 4
Interactive/Feedback = 4
Research Evidence = 4

T2 Mood Tracker

Helps individuals track their emotional states and how they change over time for personal insight and accurate reporting to a mental health professional. The skills taught may be applied to individuals with depression, anxiety, stress, trauma-related feelings, any other self-identified emotional states, as well as TBI, chronic pain; customizable for sleep and other issues.

This app does a terrific job of providing a simple tool to track changes in your mood, making it easy to assign values to a wide variety of mood states and conditions. Can track specific symptoms or a great variety. A graphing feature allows visual feedback for long time periods. It would not be helpful for someone who requires more services or support than a simple assessment tool for mood tracking. Few to no interaction or "coaching tips”; links are not useful.

Teens, parents, adults, men, women, veterans; iPhone, Android, Windows; free

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Ease of Use = 4   
Effectiveness = 3.5 (Self-Monitoring)  
Personalization = 4.5
Interactive/Feedback = 2.5
Research Evidence = 1

MindShift

Targeted to help adolescents, teens, and young adults gain insight into and basic skills to manage their symptoms of anxiety disorders, including GAD, social anxiety, specific phobias, and panic attacks, as well as worry, performance anxiety, test anxiety, and perfectionism. The skills taught may be applied to individuals with physical, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral manifestations of anxiety, providing users with more helpful, balanced ways of thinking about feared situations.

It does a terrific job of readily offering lists of active coping strategies tailored to the type of anxiety and a variety of methods to manage anxiety; the information and strategies are simple and clear. "Chill out" tools such as breathing exercises, mental imagery, and mindfulness strategies are provided in text and audio format. "Quick Tips" are included to assist with anxiety in the moment. Users can "favorite" the methods that work for them.  It is not helpful for people looking to track their symptoms and progress, those easily overwhelmed by many choices, or those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Teens, parents, adults, men, women; iPhone, Android, Windows; free


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Ease of Use = 3.6
Effectiveness = 3.3 (Education, Screening, Self-Monitoring, Treatment)
Personalize = 3.6
Interactive/Feedback = 2.6
Research Evidence = 1.3

WorryWatch

For individuals with chronic worry, anticipatory anxiety, and GAD, this app provides simple self-monitoring and documenting of worry within a pre-fixed menu, and whether the user believes the actual worry was as bad as what actually happened. The other function is a graphical tool that charts the worry entries by various factors.

This app was created based on the personal experience of a longtime sufferer of GAD. It is not meant to replace traditional therapy such as CBT, but with the good intention of complementing it. It is not suited for those who have difficulty interpreting graphical representations of information. It would be helpful to have a tutorial to highlight the features of the app and how to use it. It does a terrific job of displaying evidence of the intensity, frequency, and duration of cognitive distortions.

Teens, parents, adults, men, women, veterans; iPhone and iPad; under $4.99, no subscriber fee

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Ease of Use = 3
Effectiveness = 3 (Education, Self-Monitoring)
Personalize = 2
Interactive/Feedback = 2.6
Research Evidence = 1.6

Breathe2Relax

A simple, intuitive, and attractive mobile app designed by the National Center for Telehealth & Technology to teach breathing techniques to manage stress. The skills taught may be applied to those with anxiety disorders, stress, and PTSD.

This app can be personalized to an individual's pace that the user finds relaxing; includes a video demo, reading materials, and charts to map personal progress. Helpful for self-starters or those working with a therapist to include breathing techniques in their overall treatment.

Teens, parents, adults, men, women, veterans; iPhone, Android; free

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Ease of Use = 5
Effectiveness = 4 (Education, Self-Monitoring)
Personalize = 5
Interactive/Feedback = 4
Research Evidence = 4

MoodKit

This app will help individuals with depression, anxiety disorders, anger management issues, etc. The skills taught include self-monitoring, identifying and changing unhealthy thought patterns, and engaging in mood-enhancing activities; they may promote well-being.

It does a terrific job at making some of the general concepts of CBT available for people to work on by themselves or with the aid of a therapist. It would not be helpful to those with moderate to severe depression.

Adults; iPhone; under $4.99, no subscriber fee

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Ease of Use = 5
Effectiveness = 4 (Education, Self-Monitoring)
Personalize = 5
Interactive/Feedback = 3
Research Evidence = 1

PE Coach

Designed for individuals with PTSD, specifically those working with a therapist using prolonged exposure (PE) treatment. The skills taught include education about the treatment, and common reactions to trauma, and breathing retraining.

Not useful as a self-help treatment for PTSD; to get the most out of it, individuals should be in therapy.

Teens, adults, men, women, veterans; iPhone, Android; free

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Ease of Use = 4
Effectiveness = 4 (Education, Self-Monitoring, Treatment)
Personalize = 3
Interactive/Feedback = 2
Research Evidence = 1


More apps here (not reviewed); inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Updated July 2015

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