The Best Therapy and Mental Health Apps

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Because sometimes in-person couch sessions just don't work for your schedule, your wallet, or your needs. Turn to these therapy apps to score the same benefits.

01 of 09

Mental Health and Therapy Apps That Make It Easy

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TBH, one of the hardest parts of adulting is navigating the world of health care (think: finding time for, booking, and navigating doctors' office hours and confusing insurance claims). Luckily, the technological advances of the last few years haven't only brought you interactive Snapchat filters and virtual reality — they've also brought you telemedicine, and it's totally changing the health care landscape. Now you can take the hassle out of the waiting room and onto your smartphone screen, where health care can be much more accessible and less torturous — and doesn't have to break the bank.

Mental health telemedicine, in particular, is starting to shine with the introduction of virtual therapy apps and mental health apps that make caring for your mind as easy as playing Candy Crush or texting your BFF.

Read on for the best therapy apps and mental health apps and who might benefit.

02 of 09

Who Could Benefit from Therapy Apps

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Disclaimer: If you're having a mental health emergency, your best bet is to seek emergency services or call a relevant hotline. Many online therapy services and mental health apps willingly admit that they're not the best choice under certain circumstances, such as if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, are a minor, have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, have been advised to be in psychological supervision or psychiatric care, or were required to undergo therapy or counseling by a court order or by any other authority.

However, if you're dealing with common mental health issue (like stress, addiction, anxiety, relationship troubles, parenting issues, depression, anger, LGBT matters, grief, religion, self-esteem, etc.), want to give therapy a try, or just need an easier way to talk it out, then these therapy apps might be a great fit for you.

03 of 09

For Traditional Therapy, Minus the Waiting Room: LARKR

For Traditional Therapy, Minus the Waiting Room: LARKR
LARKR

LARKR is a therapy app that connects you with a licensed therapist via livestream video chat. Plus, they have professionals with specific expertise in addiction, anxiety, mood disorders, relationship issues, LGBT, PTSD, depression, and more. So you can get all the perks of having an IRL couch session—without the hassle of traveling or finding a therapist who "fits" you in your area. Each 50-minute session will run you $85, and LARKR has streamlined the billing process to make it easy to apply for insurance reimbursement if you choose.

04 of 09

For Millennial-Style Communication: Talkspace

For Millennial-Style Communication: Talkspace
Talkspace

When shit goes down with your boyfriend at 2 a.m., you probably don't want to wait until a scheduled appointment to let your feelings loose.

That's where Talkspace comes in; it's a therapy app (for your phone, tablet, or computer) that first matches you with a relevant licensed therapist, then allows you to send messages (text, voice message, video message, or photo) directly to them any time of day or night. Your therapist won't necessarily respond immediately, but you have the ability to bring up an issue whenever it suits you, which is a huge plus. And being able to choose your type of message (written or recorded audio) means you can either video word vomit or take your time to write it out.

Sounds easy, right? It's even easier on your wallet; unlimited chat therapy starts at just $32/week. Need more support? You can also opt for weekly video chat therapy or even couples' therapy.

05 of 09

For When You Just Want to Talk: 7 Cups

For When You Just Want to Talk: 7 Cups
7 Cups

Maybe you don't think you need a full-blown therapy sesh, but you need to talk it out with someone who can give you a caring, compassionate, and objective view. The 7 Cups mental health app and website offers anonymous instant messaging right this second (no appointment necessary) with a trained volunteer "active listener" or an online counselor that you can choose yourself. (They each post a bio with their style, life experiences, and/or affiliations.) You can pop into a virtual support group, where you can join guided discussions or open-ended forums to chat with people going through similar issues. Best part? All of these services are free.

If you don't love the idea of chatting with a stranger or are looking for more legit help, there's good news: 7 Cups can also connect you with a licensed therapist right on their platform (though this service does cost $$).

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06 of 09

For All-Inclusive, Unlimited Therapy: BetterHelp

For All-Inclusive, Unlimited Therapy: BetterHelp
Better Help

With more than 1,500 licensed therapists on board, BetterHelp is the world's largest e-counseling platform. And it's not just one type of counseling: You can choose to message, chat live, hop on the phone, or video chat with your therapist an unlimited number of times per week.

It's affordable, too: Prices on this therapy app range from $35 to $70 per week for unlimited communication with your counselor. (However, the company notes that services offered using the site are generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, but are likely comparable to or less than what an insurance co-pay would be.) Not sure if it's right for you? Read some of their 11,000 public testimonials and reviews.

07 of 09

For Doing It Yourself: Pacifica

For Doing It Yourself: Pacifica
Pacifica

If talking to a therapist isn't your jam (either IRL or virtually), there are plenty of apps for solo exploration, too. Take Pacifica, a self-help mental health app that taps into the science of cognitive behavioral therapy, for example. Choose from psychologist-designed guided self-help "paths" made up of audio lessons and activities, mood and health tracking, or relaxation techniques to suit whatever you need at the moment. Even though you're not chatting with a therapist, it doesn't mean you're totally alone; on this mental health app, you can interact with peer support communities to share stories, ask for advice, or discuss common issues. Best of all? It's totally free.

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08 of 09

For Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously: SuperBetter

For Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously: SuperBetter
Joyable

If self-help books and talking about your feelings make you feel worse instead of better, you just might love SuperBetter, a game app that helps you play your way to better mental health. SuperBetter presents you with tasks and challenges designed to increase your resilience and ability to stay strong, motivated, and optimistic even in the face of difficult obstacles. The idea: Developing these skills inside the mental health app will translate to the same skills IRL. Over 30 days, SuperBetter may help improve mood, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and increase self-confidence in goal-crushing, according to a small study at the University of Pennsylvania.

09 of 09

For Therapy Plus an Rx: Cerebral

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Cerebral

FYI, not all mental health pros can prescribe meds. If you're looking to speak with a therapist who can also give you an Rx, Cerebral might be the best therapy app for you. Using Cerebral, you can meet with a telehealth prescriber or therapist who can diagnose and treat conditions like anxiety, depression, insomnia, and ADHD online (with or without medication). You can get support through regular video or phone visits and unlimited messaging, and then if you need an Rx, they handle that, too, discreetly packaging and delivering it to your door each month. (So easy, right?)

Great news: This therapy app works with insurance to help make it even more affordable, with plans ranging from $85 to $325 per month, and with special discounts for the first month, so you can give it a try without risking much cash.

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