- 1. Best meditation app: Headspace
- 2. Best wellbeing app: Thrive
- 3. Best mental health app for a bit of calm: Calm
- 4. Best mental health app for mums to be: Biamother
- 5. Best therapy app: Babylon
- 6. Best mental health app for teenagers: Wysa
- 7. Best mental health app for panic attacks: Rootd
- 8. Best app for anxiety: Catch It
- 9. Best free mental health app: Chill Panda
- 10. Best mental health app for helping you express how you're feeling: Cove
- 11. Best mental health app for instant help: Ieso
- 12. Best CBT app: WorryTree
- 13. Best mental health course: Be Mindful
- 14. Best NHS-approved app: My Possible Self
- 15. Best mental health app created by a professor: TRUCONNECT by TV.FIT
- 16. Best mental health app for those interested in hypnobirthing: My Mindful Midwife
- 17. Best mental health app for headspace: Muse
- 18. Best mental health app for talking: Talkspace
It's no news that life has been a little stressful lately. Pair end-of-pandemic anxiety with the cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine and other troubling global news, and it's no surprise that the nation's mental health has taken a toll.
First things first, know this: it's okay to feel anxious, and you are not alone. Most common mental health conditions do a great job of isolating you, yet stats show one in four people experience poor mental health each year in England.
Think of it this way: if you had a physical ailment, like a muscle sprain or tear, you'd book an appointment with your GP or physio. Mental health issues should be viewed the same: sans stigma or shame.
There are now ways to safeguard your mental wellbeing day-to-day at the tap of a button - like downloading one of the best mental health apps, designed by qualified professionals to offer you support from the comfort of your mobile phone.
An app is never a replacement for IRL help, and a phone can never do the same job as a qualified doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist. That said, we're always on our phones, so if you're dealing with low grade symptoms of depression, anxiety symptoms, or general low mood, an easy-to-use app might just help.
Keep scrolling for our pick of the best, and remember: you are not alone. Mental health help is out there. Don't skip our pick of the best fitness apps, best sleep tracking apps, and best running apps, while you're at it.
Best mental health apps: 18 to download now
1. Best meditation app: Headspace
You'll likely have heard of Headspace, the much-loved meditation app (partly thanks to mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe's dulcet tones). It promises to help you live a healthier, happier, more well-rested life in just a few minutes a day with the Headspace app, offering guided meditations and expert-led "SOS" sessions for moments of panic, anxiety, or stress.
Fun fact: Headspace has been proven to reduce stress in just ten days, reduce negative emotions by 28%, and increased resilience by 11%.
2. Best wellbeing app: Thrive
Thrive is an NHS-recommended mental wellbeing platform helping you to manage stress, anxiety, and those days when you just feel a little down. By helping to track your moods and educate you on the best coping mechanisms for managing the down days, users can equip themselves with the best tools to manage stress, sadness, and negative thoughts. With over three million users globally, it's designed to suit your mental health needs.
3. Best mental health app for a bit of calm: Calm
Similar to Headspace, Calm is a well-known app, and for good reason. The ultimate wellness tool, it offers guided meditations for any situation, sleep scapes, and calming audio content in different six languages.
Plus, the only thing better than celebrity workouts is, well, celebrity mental workouts, and Calm comes complete with some incredible sleep stories read by the likes of Harry Styles, Stephen Fry, and Matthew McConaughey. Swoon.
4. Best mental health app for mums to be: Biamother
Becoming a new mother is stressful as is, without throwing a global pandemic in the mix, too. Thanks to the Biamother app, new mums or mums-to-be can enjoy pregnancy-focused meditations, advice-packed podcasts, and tips from experts to help reduce pregnancy-related anxiety. Think a holistic wellness platform for new and expectant mothers.
5. Best therapy app: Babylon
If you feel you need support from a qualified professional but aren't able or comfortable heading into your local GP practice right now, it may be worth giving Babylon a go. The app offers therapy sessions in the form of virtual video appointments with registered behavioural therapists. Plus, you'll get access to healthcare information services, medical prescriptions, and appointments with qualified GPs, straight from your mobile. Read our guide to online therapy, here.
6. Best mental health app for teenagers: Wysa
Another app promising alternative therapy is Wysa, which combines anonymous, personalised AI chat with guided support from qualified mental health professionals. It's essentially a therapist chatbot designed for teens aged 13 to 18 years old. You'll also benefit from hundreds of courses spanning anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and bullying. There's a reason its 3,300 reviews rate it 4.8/5 in the App Store.
7. Best mental health app for panic attacks: Rootd
Panic attacks are all too common, sadly, from the minor, tight chest occurrences, to the full-blown suffocation that makes you stop in your tracks. That's where Beat Panic comes in, expertly designed to guide people through a panic attack, wherever you are. By making you focus on something other than your reality and helping you breathe deeply, it promises to help reduce your heart rate—and panic levels—in no time.
8. Best app for anxiety: Catch It
If you think you may be suffering from more minor symptoms of anxiety or depression, like nervousness or lethargy, downloading an app like Catch It could be a great way to educate yourself on the many different indicators of an underlying mental health condition and how to identify them in yourself. The app teaches you how to recognise said symptoms, plus how to manage your feelings by encouraging you to look at problems in a different way and, more generally, turn any negative thoughts into positive ones.
9. Best free mental health app: Chill Panda
The clue is in the name with this one. If you're feeling overworked and run down or have noticed heightened feelings of fear and anxiety, the Chill Panda app will help with a whole host of breathing exercises, distracting techniques and worry management. While it's primarily a game, the app monitors your heart rate and suggests the appropriate tasks for your current state of mind. Suitable for both children and adults. Clever.
10. Best mental health app for helping you express how you're feeling: Cove
One of the biggest challenges, when you are struggling with your mental health, is expressing how you're feeling to friends, family, or professionals who can help. That's because mental illnesses normally convince you to isolate yourself from others. With Cove, you can express yourself in a totally different way, via the medium of music. Capture your mood and express your feelings, whether that's happiness, sadness, peace, or frustration. Whether you create for yourself only or to communicate with others is up to you.
11. Best mental health app for instant help: Ieso
Price: Partly free, available via the NHS website.
Feel like you need to talk to someone and need to talk to someone urgently? No one is a replacement for the Samaritans hotline, open 24 hours a day on 116 123, but Ieso offers online instant messaging for those who have slightly lesser issues they'd like to chat through with someone. It's totally confidential and will connect you to a trained cognitive behavioural therapy therapist. Therapy is sent via text, so you can read back over your sessions any time, any place.
12. Best CBT app: WorryTree
The main aim of the WorryTree app is to help you manage, record, and take control of your mental health issues. It's essentially an interactive online journal, encouraging you to jot down your worries and fears and then using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you recognise and tackle your worries. That's your worry action plan, sorted.
13. Best mental health course: Be Mindful
Price: £30.00, available from bemindful.com.
Not an app, but a course, and a helpful one at that. If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or anxiety, the best bet is to book an expert with a professional and let them guide you on your path to recovery. However, if for whatever reason you can't do that, the Be Mindful app could prove a starting point, with the aim of educating you via mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). It's NHS-approved and clinically proven to help reduce your levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
14. Best NHS-approved app: My Possible Self
Price: Free, available from mypossibleself.com.
Designed by the world’s leading mental health experts, this app is clinically certified and approved by the NHS. The app features a wide array of tools to promote happiness and wellbeing, from an everyday ‘mood tracker’, to learning modules for a better understanding of what aspects of life are causing anxiety. Neat.
A photo posted by on
15. Best mental health app created by a professor: TRUCONNECT by TV.FIT
Like the sound of over 45 mental health and lifestyle e-books for children and adults that have been created by Professor Christopher Williams, someone whose work is prescribed by the NHS? The e-books cover a range of topics to support enhanced mental wellbeing, from looking at the world slightly differently, to simple day-to-day changes you can make to feel happier straight away, to staying motivated in a new routine.
16. Best mental health app for those interested in hypnobirthing: My Mindful Midwife
Price: £3.49, available via mymindfulmidwife.com
FYI, there's a new app out which combines the professional know-how of an experienced midwife with the mindful pregnancy and birth preparation expertise of a renowned hypnobirthing teacher. Pregnancy - and birth - can mark a significant period of change in your life. This app promises to help support you and your mental health through that transition.
17. Best mental health app for headspace: Muse
Like the sound of a personalised meditation coach in the palm of your hand? Enter stage right Muse, an app specifically designed to help you optimise your meditation technique and boost your quality of life, including over 500 guided meditations. Level up your practice with their clever headband, designed to "receive real-time data on your brain and body signals and translate them into peaceful weather sounds."
18. Best mental health app for talking: Talkspace
Always been keen on the idea of therapy but not so keen on the in-person aspect? Talkspace offers therapy via text - all it takes is filling out a short questionnaire and they'll match you with a qualified therapist, on hand to text you throughout the day. Their therapists cover a broad range of mental health services, offering advice and support for everything from anxiety to depression.
What does it mean to struggle with your mental health?
According to Pablo Vandenabeele, Clinical Director of Mental Health at Bupa, mental health issues can present themselves in a range of ways.
"They usually appear gradually, often over a few weeks. It’s normal to occasionally experience a low mood or anxiety. If you’re experiencing feeling low, irritable, stressed and worried for a few weeks or longer, this could be a sign", he explains.
You may also have trouble concentrating or remembering things, find it difficult to manage everyday life and may be sleeping less, or too much. In short, you may feel disconnected from the world.
Can a mental health app really help?
This one's for you if you raised your eyebrows at the thought of an app being able to help your mental health. While it'll depend on the individual and, as above, isn't a replacement for therapy or in-person sessions, they can help provide relief and support for many.
"Some mental health apps can be helpful to those who are unable to attend face-to-face appointments. They can also provide ongoing support in between your sessions with a doctor or therapist", shares Vandenabeele.
That said: "If you have concerns about any symptoms you are experiencing, please visit a qualified professional", he adds.
If you are really struggling with your mental health, remember, whatever you're going through, that Samaritans are always at the end of the phone, any time, day or night. They promise to listen without judging you or telling you what to do. Call now on 116 123. You are not alone.
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.
Squid Game: The Challenge's final episode trailer has landed
Things are about to get *very* intense
By Lauren Hughes
Two beauty editors with excellent taste have spoken: there are the best luxury beauty gifts 2023 has to offer
By Katie Thomas
Meet the woman shaking up the denim industry
By Sunil Makan
18 PT-approved celebrity workouts that promise to make your next sweat session a good one
What our Health Editor thought when she tried the workouts of Lizzo, Blake Lively, Jen An and more.
By Ally Head
This Pilates ab workout is a combination of all the most effective exercises for a strong body
This one's a good'un.
By Ally Head
These are the only bodyweight exercises experts reckon are *actually* effective
Try from home, the garden, or the gym.
By Ally Head
19 running shorts that don't ride up, chafe, or smell, sweat tested by a Health Editor
Looking for new fit kit? You're in the right place.
By Ally Head
These are *officially* the 14 best items of gym wear you can buy, according to four fitness pros
Kit that flatters, sweat wicks and lasts the long run.
By Grace Lindsay
This is the best HIIT workout you can do, according to world-renowned trainer Kayla Itsines
Yep, you can do it from home.
By Ally Head
A diabetes drug is going viral for its supposed weight loss benefits—but there’s a seriously dark problem here
Searches for weight loss injections have soared by 134%.
By Ally Head
Best cycling shorts: Fitness writers share the only 9 pairs worth your ££
Tried and tested.
By Ally Head