Type “anxiety” into the Google Play Store and you’ll see over 250 mobile apps. Among them are apps that help you embrace or dissolve anxiety. You’ll also find apps that promise to help you deal with sleepless nights, panic attacks, depression, and dozens of other challenges related to mental health.

The first app-based mental health solutions were designed for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those with mental and behavioral disorders. Today, apps are also designed for healthy users who simply want to stay mentally fit. As long as these apps meet a felt need of their target audience, they can be successful.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the market demands mental health apps. Check out the infographics below to see why there are over 250 of these apps in the major app stores.

mental healthcare app development
Source: National Alliance on Mental Health

You may say that it’s more reliable to find the right therapist. However, it takes time to find a professional therapist. And once you do find one, covering the cost can take a significant part of your budget. Other reasons for the rise of mental health apps are inadequate insurance and a lack of available treatment options (like individual therapy). An app for emotional health, if well-designed and properly used, can prevent mental health issues and mitigate their negative effects.

In this article, we discuss medical mobile applications for dealing with issues of mental health. You can check out the list of features we think would work great for these apps and look through a list of solutions already available on the market. And finally, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how to develop a mental health app that will be useful for patients and beneficial for your business.

Six types of mental health solutions

  1. General mental health apps help users be aware of their emotional health. This is accomplished with a set of features that help users maintain good habits, break bad habits, and control their mood — along with exercises for relaxation and positive quotes.
  2. Education and assessment apps are designed to provide information on mental health disorders. For the most part, they share materials commonly used by mental health practitioners to identify mental health disorders.
  3. Mental disorder apps are designed specifically for people with depression, schizophrenia, or anxiety. If correctly developed, they offer programs that resemble traditional forms of treatment, using techniques like mood monitoring, cognitive behavioral therapy, and cognitive skills training.
  4. Self-improvement apps help users understand and improve their mental health. They also work for users who are mentally fit and want to stay that way. The majority of self-improvement apps offer breathing techniques, meditation, and audio relaxation.
  5. Treatment adherence apps support patients that can manage their conditions on their own. These apps offer reminders about taking medications and allow users to journal their feelings in order to recognize and prevent crises.
  6. Peer connection apps connect users to those who share the same mental health diagnoses for communication and support.

Mental health mobile apps have an advantage over traditional forms of mental health treatment since they guide users without making them leave their comfort zone. These innovative mental health solutions are the choice of users who don’t want to face anyone initially but prefer to slowly begin to heal through an app’s guidance.

Features to include in a great mental health app

There are no secrets to managing mental health. The advice is all the same: eat well, sleep well, exercise, stick to a routine, try to analyze your thoughts. Since you are seriously considering launching a mental health startup, here are some features you should include in your app to help users manage their mental health.

Calendars and checklists

A calendar and a checklist can help users keep their lives in order. As a bonus, you can add a reward system for completing tasks. This way, users will feel motivated to do a little more the next day, and even more the day after, keeping up their progress and continuing to improve.

Sleep trackers

A sleep tracker or a sleep analysis feature can help those working on their sleeping habits. Designed for manual input or synced with a sleep analyzing device, these features provide users with insights about their sleep patterns and help them maintain stability and productivity throughout the day.

Trigger checkers

A feature for marking down triggering situations can help users analyze them and devise a set of appropriate responses. Users can then discuss these situations with a therapist and figure out the best ways of dealing with them.

Reminders

Some people have to take medicine at specific times throughout the day. A set of reminders with alerts can help them stay on top of that.

Relaxation techniques

Mindfulness is a great way to improve everyday life. Breathing techniques, guided and unguided meditation, prayers, and positive affirmations are just a few of the features you might incorporate into your app.

Like-minded communities

Dealing with something is easier when there are others around you who are also dealing with it. Incorporate a community feature into your application — offer text or video chats, let people share progress and set goals, and so on. This can help users know they’re not alone and can pull them through hard times.

Journals

Journaling helps people sort out their thoughts and understand what’s going on inside. As not everyone is comfortable physically writing down their thoughts and feelings, a journaling feature in your app could be a portable and secure solution.

Sharing data

A mental health mobile app can allow users to share their moods on social media, directly with family members, or with healthcare providers. It can also allow users to export data or send it by email in different formats.

Matching users and therapists

After gathering a user’s medical data through a set of questions, a mental health app can use an algorithm to recommend suitable therapists.

A mental health app with all the features listed above can be lightweight and easy to use.

Mental health mobile app data security

If a mobile app is insecure, users’ mental health data is at the risk of being exposed. HIPAA, the GDPR, PIPEDA, and other laws and standards exist to prevent this and ensure that user data is secure.

Not all mental health mobile apps must comply with regulations, however.

  • Apps that don’t contain any personal or medical data and are tailored for personal use don’t fall under these regulations.
  • Apps that collect medical data along with payment details and allow for sharing records do fall under these regulations.

For an app to comply with HIPAA, the GDPR, and PIPEDA, stored and shared data must be encrypted at all stages. Plus, secure login to personal accounts must be ensured with facial recognition, fingerprint scans, voice scans, or other biometric authentication techniques.

An app can collect and process personal data even if that data is not shared with physicians or on social media:

  • An app may collect real-time location information to inform users about mental health practitioners working nearby.
  • An app can use information on a user’s location to deliver targeted ads.
  • An app can use personal information to build an individual consumer profile.

In these cases, the application is subject to regulations like HIPAA, the GDPR, and PIPEDA. App providers should be transparent about how their mobile applications collect, share, and use data. Also, they must ensure that collected data isn’t misused.

Examples of the best mental health apps

Depending on their severity, mental disorders require professional psychological or psychiatric assistance. Mental health technology companiesbuild feature-rich apps that can be helpful in addition to an existing line of treatment, but these apps cannot and should not be used as a substitute for professional help.

Coping with bipolar disorder

Mental Health Solution
source: iMoodJournal

iMoodJournal

Price: $2.99

iMoodJournal is a personal journal that lets users record their moods, symptoms, sleep patterns, activity levels, and medication intake. This lets people follow their behavior patterns on summary charts, see what might have caused any distress, and work to resolve such situations in the future.

eMoods

Price: Free with in-app purchases

eMoods is a mobile charting journal that allows a user to log in, graph and report symptoms related to mood disorders, and manage Bipolar I and II disorders. With eMoods, users can easily chart daily medications and track sleep, mood, and mental health-related symptoms. The app can also help users notice triggers and learn how to control them.

T2 Mood Tracker

Price: Free

T2 Mood Tracker sorts moods into six categories: anxiety, depression, head injury, stress, post-traumatic stress, and general well-being. Once users start registering how they feel, this mental health tracker app organizes that information in charts and graphs to represent changes in their condition. Users can also write notes to themselves marking changes that might have happened in their lives (major life events, changes in medications, and so on).

Tackling obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Mental Health Solution
source: NOCD: Effective care for OCD

nOCD

Price: Free

The nOCD mobile application helps to mitigate negative effects of obsessive compulsive disorder by combining two approaches: mindfulness and exposure and response prevention (ERP). Patients can quickly receive clinically-supported guidance, take weekly tests to assess changes in their disorder, and receive motivational support from the app.

Worry Watch

Price: $3.99

Worry Watch helps users figure out their anxiety triggers, mark mood trends, reflect on episodes from the past, and incorporate this information into their professional treatment. Worry Watch serves as a personal diary, providing a place to track and analyze moods and worries.

Live OCD Free

Price: $29.99

Live OCD Free guides patients through exposure and response prevention (ERP) treatment, allows them to create practical goals, and provides a number of tools to deal with an OCD episode.

Addressing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Mental health development
source: PTSD Coach

PTSD Coach

PTSD Coach was created by the VA’s National Center for PTSD. The application offers PTSD self-assessment, positive self-talk, anger management, and support. Users can customize tools based on their preferences and integrate their contacts, photos, and music playlists to create a safe and stable environment for when they might need one.

Breathe2Relax

Price: Free

Breathe2Relax is an application developed by the US National Center for Telehealth and Technology. It works for people suffering from PTSD by helping them breathe and reminding them that they’re okay. It’s a great immediate solution in response to a sudden PTSD episode.

Why do people suffer from PTSD? Among the main causes are domestic violence, childhood neglect, bullying, death of a loved one, burglary and robbery, etc. One of the most damaging, challenging, and traumatic events in life that cause PTSD and is hard to heal is partner betrayal. When a person experiences infidelity, they look for how to forgive a cheater top tips to move forward. Applications for PTSD can help with such stressful situations and are useful tools for re-building social networks, boosting mood, managing relationship problems, and more.

Managing schizophrenia

Mental health development
source: UCSF PRIME

UCSF PRIME

Price: Free

UCSF PRIME is a mobile application developed at the University of California in San Francisco. It aims to create a community of young adults with schizophrenia. It also offers users an ability to set and track “challenge goals” – things they want to accomplish and improve about themselves.

Schizophrenia HealthStorylines


Price: Free

This mental health mobile app was developed in partnership with the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America. Using this mobile application, users can easily track moods and symptoms, receive pill reminders, import data from other health apps, and connect with support groups.

Combating eating disorders

Mental health development
source: RR: Eating Disorder Management

Recovery Record

Price: Free

Recovery Record helps people recover from eating disorders and perceive their bodies in a more positive way. The app lets users keep records of what they eat and answer questions to assess their mood and track their recovery over time.

Rise Up + Recover

Price: Free

Rise Up + Recover offers users the ability to keep track of their meals and the feelings they have when eating. An important feature is that users can print out their progress as a PDF file and show it to a professional if they wish.

Lifesum

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Lifesum is an application for establishing and following a healthy lifestyle regimen. Users can set goals to eat healthier, exercise more, walk more, and so on. It can be life changing for those with a distorted self-image, showing them that there are more ways of being healthy and beautiful than they might think.

Overcoming addictions

Mental health app development
source: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Price: $7.99

Twenty-Four Hours a Day is based on a book by Richard Walker. It offers 366 meditations from the book to help people take their minds off addictions and shift to a more constructive mindset.

Quit That!

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Quit That! is an iOS application for tracking and stopping habits. Users can track harmful behaviors, see for how long they’ve managed to stay away from them, and follow their progress.

12 Steps AA Companion

Price: $2.99

12 Steps AA companion is the official Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) mobile application. It includes a digital version of The Big Book, which is used in AA groups around the world. The app lets users read the book, highlight text, adjust fonts, and search by topic. There are also morning and evening prayers, the ability to take and share notes from AA meetings, and contact information of local and national AA support groups. The app’s icon was specifically designed to be discrete and protect user anonymity.

Squirrel Recovery

Price: Free

Squirrel Recovery is a mobile application for people recovering from heroin addiction. It uses social support and positive reinforcement to help people stay on the path to recovery. It lets users set up a support system of contacts and then sends notifications to those contacts reminding them to check up on the person who’s recovering. There’s also a panic button that can be used to immediately notify all support contacts that the user is experiencing cravings. For achieving certain milestones, users receive coins and encouraging motivational quotes.

AA Speakers

Price: $3.49

AA Speakers is a mobile application that allows users to listen to addiction recovery speakers, workshops, and audio books. It includes more than 300 different speakers, an audio recording of The Big Book, The Joe and Charlie Big Book Study, and The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.

recoveryBox

Price: $1.99

recoveryBox allows users to track their daily lives on a calendar, color coding it in red, yellow, and green. Green represents positive activities that help with recovery, red refers to negative behaviors that do the opposite, and yellow indicates warning signs. Color coding helps users understand which particular behaviors further their progress and which hold it back. Users can set goals, receive green lights for reaching them, and then share success with their friends and loved ones.

Tackling depression

Mental health app development
source: Talkspace Online Therapy

Talkspace

Price: Free

Talkspace is a mobile application that makes therapy portable and affordable. For $49 per week, users can discuss their issues with a licensed therapist as often as they need. There’s also an option for couples therapy for the same price.

Happify

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Happify is a mood training application that helps users achieve a better state of mind. With different games, activities, and prompts, users can train themselves to overcome the darkness in their minds and cultivate a more positive view on life.

MoodTools

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

MoodTools helps people recover from clinical depression. Users can take a depression assessment test, track their recovery over time, write down thoughts and feelings, and create a suicide prevention plan.

What’s Up

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

What’s Up mental health app helps people cope with depression, stress, and anxiety by implementing cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy methods. The app includes a positive and negative habits tracker that identifies what helps users recover and what is counterproductive. What’s Up offers different activities to pull users out of negative thinking patterns and help them think about the good parts of life.

MoodKit

Price: $4.99

MoodKit offers more than 200 activities that implement cognitive behavioral therapy to improve the user’s mood. It teaches people to change the way they think, develop self-awareness, and cultivate healthier attitudes toward life. Users can also reflect on their day by journaling, noting their thoughts, and documenting how they’ve overcome the day’s obstacles.

Relieving stress & anxiety

Mental health app development
source: MindShift CBT - Anxiety Canada

MindShift

Price: Free

MindShift was developed specifically for teenagers and young adults suffering from stress and anxiety. It helps users change the way they see anxiety, shifting their minds to a calmer, better place. It encourages people to take charge of their lives, face challenges upfront, and turn away from the intensity of their negative feelings.

Self-help for Anxiety Management

Price: Free

Self-help for Anxiety Management is meant for people who want to deal with their anxiety in ways other than meditation. The app teaches users 25 different self-help techniques and lets them create their own 24-hour anxiety kit for tracking anxious thoughts and behaviors. There’s also an online community where people can communicate and support each other confidentially.

CBT Thought Record Diary

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

CBT Thought Record Diary lets users document their thoughts and negative emotions, evaluate them, identify the negative aspects, and see the world in a better light. This application helps people change their approach to anxiety gradually and work to improve their thinking for the future.

Pacifica

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Pacifica uses meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy to help people overcome stress and anxiety. It also offers an option for tracking mental and physical health, setting daily goals, and writing a thought diary.

7 Cups

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

7 Cups is an online chat where users can talk to trained active listeners, tell them about whatever is bothering them, and not be alone when trying to understand the complexities of life.

Achieving mindfulness through meditation

Mental health app development
source: Headspace: Meditation & Sleep

Headspace

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Headspace offers various types of meditation – both guided and unguided – to help users understand themselves better and tackle life’s obstacles more easily. It’s subscription-based but offers ten free sessions for the trial period.

Calm

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Calm helps users achieve a calm and mindful state of being. With beautiful backgrounds and a wide variety of meditations, Calm takes users away from the complexity of life and gives them a place to find peace of mind.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Price: Free ● Offers In-App Purchases

Stop, Breathe & Think offers guided and unguided meditations based on a user’s mood. First, it asks the user to choose several words to describe their mood, then presents a number of meditations that best fit that mood. Whether someone is experiencing sadness, despair, frustration, or anything else, Stop, Breathe & Think has a meditation for it.

How mental health apps generate revenue

Most mental health apps are created to generate revenue. They use different strategies to do that.

  1. Paid downloads. Around 41% of mental health apps are available for purchase. The average cost is $3.03. Some providers offer a suite of related applications along with their paid apps
  2. In-app purchases. Around 79% of apps (free and paid) offer in-app purchases. Even when an app is advertised as free, the greater part of its features and content may only be available with an in-app purchase..
  3. Subscription. Subscriptions. Often, access to the full content and functionality of an app is provided via a subscription model. The monthly price for Headspace is $12.00, for example, and the yearly rate is $69.99.
  4. In-app advertising. Ads within a mental health mobile application generate revenue. In most cases, ads appear as full-screen banner images or widgets added to sidebars and footers.
  5. External links. Apps can also offer links to related services and products such as books, podcasts, and MP3 downloads.

According to data from multiple app store intelligence firms, the mental health apps market is growing. In 2018, the top ten mental health apps earned $15 million in the US alone and $27 million worldwide.

Developing mental health mobile apps

The market for mobile applications focused on mental health is actively growing and developing. Although there are many applications available, some cater to only one mobile operating system.

The cost of developing your own mental health mobile app mostly depends on two factors: the set of features you decide to add and the number of hours spent building the app.

The location of hired mental health app developers will largely determine the hourly rate.

  • In the US, app developers charge from $50 to $250 an hour.
  • The average hourly rate for web development in Australia is $50 to $150.
  • Agencies in Western Europe and the UK provide their services at $35 to $170 per hour.
  • Eastern European developers charge $20 to $150 per hour.
  • Indian companies charge from $10 to $80 an hour.

The collaboration model based on hourly rates is called the Time and Materials model. Under this model, you pay for the hours spent crafting your mobile application. This model is flexible, allowing you to make improvements to your app along the way. You can choose what tasks your developers should prioritize and what features to cut to reduce the cost for development of mental health services.

Developing mental health mobile apps
source: steelkiwi.com

You can estimate the cost of developing a mobile app. But no professional development company can provide you with an exact quote before discussing the details. Say you decide to work with the Steelkiwi team. First, you’ll need to fill out a contact form. Then we’ll schedule a call for a convenient time.

As we prepare for the call, our team will analyze your app’s niche. For your part, you should come up with initial requirements and specifications. We’ll then roughly estimate the cost of implementing your mental health app ideas considering the scope of work.

This rough estimate will be open to discussion to meet the budget and needs of your business. Eventually, our team will provide a detailed estimate.

If you’re considering mental health app development to help people address their mental health problems, contact our sales department to start today.