10 Virtual Therapy and Mental Health Apps to Cope With Stress

You can take care of your mind wherever you happen to be.

Staying mentally healthy is just as important as staying physically healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of April 2022, has established the How Right Now campaign. The site provides different resources to help you cope with the ways you have been affected by the circumstances of the pandemic.

Psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, Chief Learning Officer of Online-Therapy.com, explained that because stress manifests itself in every aspect of our lives, and because there may be so much creating that stress, finding any kind of resource to help you is worth it. "…[A]nything that helps you get out…feelings and thoughts, is so beneficial," said Lombardo.

If you can't afford a weekly therapy session, don't worry. There are plenty of apps that can help you work through stress—whether it's through interaction with a therapist or an app dedicated to mindfulness.

1. Youper

Youper features an artificial intelligence (AI) "emotional health assistant"—a bot you can have text message conversations that provides feedback to help monitor and improve your mental health. According to the app's website, Youper can also help with developing more personalized treatments for conditions like depression and anxiety and offers behavioral coaching assistance. As of April 2022, you can have access to options like online therapy and medication management if you reside in certain areas. Also, using the app is not free, as subscriptions start at $3 per month. Still, it's a great solution for instant, at-the-ready communication. (Free to download with in-app purchases; available on iOS and Android)

2. MindDoc

If you have been struggling with depression or anxiety, navigating these issues can be particularly challenging. Formerly known as Moodpath, the MindDoc app, geared toward helping with depression and anxiety specifically, includes features like a digital journal, a mood tracker, and plenty of audio files and articles focused on building positivity and self-confidence. MindDoc is free with limits to some of the features you can use, and multi-month subscriptions start at $29.99. However, it can be a great supplement to your existing therapy routine. (Free to download with in-app purchases; available on iOS and Android)

3. Talkspace

The Talkspace app has connected people to therapists virtually through messaging and video calls. Using the app is not free. You will have to sign up in order to determine the costs associated with using the service—therapy plan pricing will depend upon your area and the availability of in-network therapists near you. Regardless, the app will help you find a therapist that fits your needs and is available 24/7, so you can message during any particularly challenging episode. (Free to download with in-app purchases; available on iOS and Android)

4. Woebot

Sometimes you just need someone—or something—to vent to. Woebot is an AI service that lets you message a bot, which responds with encouraging, thought-provoking feedback throughout the conversation. The app, which a group of psychologists designed, uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to interact and respond with its users. Woebot is totally free and can be helpful in a pinch when you're feeling particularly stressed. (Free; available on iOS and Android)

5. Bloom

The Bloom app is the perfect combination of everything you want in a therapy app. It features daily video therapy sessions and cognitive behavioral therapy exercises while offering feedback based on your mood tracker. The app offers a free seven-day trial and costs $60 per year afterward. this app is a great stepping stone if you're interested in starting therapy but don't know where to begin. (Free to download with in-app purchases; available on iOS)

6. Sanvello

Formerly known as Pacifica, Sanvello is another combination app with a daily mood tracker, coping resources, and a community support forum. Unlike some other apps, Sanvello accepts some insurance plans so that you can get instant help for a discounted price. Plans start at $8.99 monthly, but its basic feature has plenty of resources for free. (Free to download with in-app purchases; available on iOS and Android)

7. Better Help

You don't need to spend hours searching for the right therapist. Better Help connects you with a licensed therapist for you, you and your partner, or your child. You have the option of text messaging, live chatting, calling, or video chatting with your counselor to choose the method that best fits your lifestyle. Better Help costs $60-$90 a week, depending on your plan and based on factors like your preferences and the availability of therapists. (Free to download with in-app purchases; available on iOS and Android)

8. I am

Positive affirmations are a great way to help change that internal voice and switch your negative thoughts to positive ones. The "I am" app sends you notifications with positive affirmations throughout the day to help foster those kinds of thoughts. You can set as many reminders as you like, anytime during the day. Subscriptions start at $2.99 per month, but the app also features a one-week free trial of the premium features, with the cost being $14.99 per month afterward. (Free to download with in-app purchases; available on iOS and Android)

9. Ten Percent Happier

Ten Percent Happier provides guided meditations for reducing stress, cultivating healthy habits, and more, and can be a great addition to your typical therapy routine. The app costs $99.99 per year after a seven-day free trial, but you can also purchase a subscription starting at as little as $9.99 per month. (Free with in-app purchases; available on iOS and Android)

10. Headspace

With Headspace, you can focus on aspects like happiness and improved sleep. This app can assist you with coming to terms with your thoughts and feelings throughout the day—with the art of mindfulness. It also offers different ways to engage with mindfulness using music, physical activity guidance, stories, and more. Headspace comes with a 7-day free trial ($12.99 per month following the trial) and a 14-day free trial ($69.99 per year following the trial). (Free with in-app purchases; available on iOS and Android)

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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