The stigma surrounding mental health and treatment is slowly fading. And now, thanks to technology and apps, more and more people have easy and affordable access to the support they need to stay on top of their mental well-being.
Yellowbrick, a national psychiatric center of excellence located just north of Chicago, examined some of the most popular wellness apps available to reveal what people are seeking treatment and assistance for. Since 2009 the number of popular mental health and wellness apps available to consumers has grown. With a spike in popularity in 2013.
The top three areas of focus for these popular wellness apps include help with anxiety, stress, and mood. Not surprising, considering the demands of work, family and life that many people experience. Prior to this type of technology, there was a taboo around seeking assistance from a counselor or therapist, now, some of the benefits of counseling can be found in an easy to download application.
The top ranked mental health app on Yellowbrick’s list is Calm. Calm made its debut in the market in 2017 and strives to help with anxiety through music, meditation and sleep. The application offers recordings of soothing sounds like flowing bodies of water, cracking fireplaces and the great outdoors. Calm even offers a narrator option to read users a bedtime story to help them fall asleep.
Another popular, top-ranked app includes Headspace, which focused on anxiety relief. Headspace came in third in the Yellowbrick rankings and teaches users about meditation and mindfulness techniques to reduce their anxiety.
The application, Moodnotes, had a high user rating and came in second place on the Yellowbrick rankings. Its purpose is to help users journal and improve their thinking habits and avoid so-called “though traps.” For $3.99 a month, Moodnotes leads users on a series of journaling exercise. This mood-based application aims to help users track their moods over an extended period of time and increase their self-awareness.
Apps that focus on relieving users’ stress are becoming increasingly popular. Stress is an everyday part of most people’s lives, and because of that commonality, there are a wide array of stress-relieving apps available. iCBT was released in 2010 helps users manage their stress levels by tapping into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Methods. The aim is to correct distorted patterns of thinking and help improve a user’s sense of personal well-being.
Some of the apps come with monthly or annual fees that are higher than the one-time download cost attributed to many popular apps. However, their annual and monthly benefits are considerably more affordable than in-office counseling or therapy.
There are several free apps that made it onto Yellowbrick’s rankings including Thinkup, 7 Cups, Moodpath, Daylio, and Anxiety Relief Hypnosis.