15 Best Mental Health Apps for Teens

In today’s digital age, where smartphones and technology are ubiquitous, mental health apps have emerged as valuable tools for teens seeking guidance in navigating their complex emotions.

The pressures faced by adolescents are more pronounced than ever, and these apps offer a lifeline for those grappling with issues like anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. 

This article delves into the world of mental health apps for teens, exploring their benefits, types, and classifications, and offering insights on how they can be effectively used to promote emotional well-being.

Additionally, we’ll discuss how teens can cope with mental health issues at home and provide essential guidance on choosing the most suitable app for individual needs.

Definition of Mental Health Apps

Mental health apps are digital tools designed to support individuals in managing and improving their emotional well-being. These applications offer a wide range of features, from self-help resources and mood tracking to meditation and access to licensed therapists. 

Mental health apps aim to provide users with readily accessible tools and strategies to address and alleviate symptoms associated with various mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, stress, and more. They cater to a diverse audience, including teenagers who often find solace in their smartphones and the digital world.

Benefits of Mental Health Apps for Teens

The benefits of mental health apps for teenagers are multifaceted and can significantly impact their emotional and psychological well-being. Here are some key advantages:

1. Accessibility

These apps are accessible 24/7, allowing teens to seek support whenever they need it, even in the comfort and privacy of their own space.

2. Reduced Stigma

Teens often hesitate to seek help due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Mental health apps provide a discreet way to access resources and support without judgment.

3. Self-Help

Many apps offer self-help tools and techniques that empower teens to take control of their mental health and build resilience.

4. Convenience

With features like mood tracking, journaling, and mindfulness exercises, mental health apps offer convenient tools for managing stress, anxiety, and depression.

5. Education

These apps provide valuable educational resources, helping teens better understand their emotions and mental health conditions.

6. Supportive Communities

Some apps foster a sense of community by connecting users with others facing similar challenges, reducing feelings of isolation.

7. Cost-Effective

Compared to traditional therapy, mental health apps are often more cost-effective, making support more accessible to a broader range of individuals.

How can teens cope with mental health issues at home?

Teens can take several proactive steps to cope with mental health issues in the comfort of their homes:

1. Seek Support

Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or school counselors and share your feelings and concerns. If symptoms persist or worsen, consider seeking professional help from therapists, counselors, or mental health apps.

2. Physical Activity

Engage in regular physical activity, as exercise is known to boost mood and reduce stress.

3. Mindfulness and Relaxation

Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, to manage anxiety and stress. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Understand that it’s okay to seek help when needed.

4. Healthy Lifestyle

While mental health apps can be beneficial, excessive screen time can have adverse effects. Set boundaries for screen use and ensure you engage in offline activities. Prioritize a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption, which can exacerbate mental health issues.

Classifications of Mental Health Apps

Mental health apps can be classified into several categories based on their primary focus:

1. Best for Talk Therapy: BetterHelp: 

While not an app, BetterHelp offers online therapy services, making it a valuable resource for teens seeking talk therapy and professional support.

2. Apps for Anxiety, Sleep, and Wellbeing:

These apps target anxiety reduction, improved sleep, and general well-being. 

3. Apps for Low Mood and Depression: 

Tailored for individuals dealing with depressive symptoms and low moods.

4. Apps for Eating Disorders:

Designed to assist those struggling with eating disorders by promoting healthy relationships with food.

Let’s explore some of the best apps that fall into the above categories.

Types of Mental Health Apps for Teens

app for teens
Image Credit: learnsafe.com

Mental health apps come in a wide variety, each tailored to address specific emotional or psychological concerns. Here are some noteworthy mental health apps for teens:

1. Happify:

Happify is a transformative mental health app designed to empower you to take control of your emotional well-being. With Happify, you’re equipped to conquer negative thoughts, navigate life’s stresses, and triumph over various challenges that come your way. 

Happify offers a diverse range of tracks, with over thirty options to explore. These tracks cover a broad spectrum of emotional well-being, from taming negative thoughts and managing stress to cultivating self-confidence and nurturing mindfulness through meditation. 

Once you’ve selected your desired track, Happify provides you with a collection of bite-sized games and activities, carefully designed to support your personal growth. Happify’s effectiveness is further underscored by its own surveys, which reveal that a remarkable 86% of users report significant life improvements within just two months of consistent usage.

2. Stop, Breathe & Think:

The Stop, Breathe & Think app is your personal guide to mindfulness and meditation, designed to cultivate compassion, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being. With a user-friendly interface and accessibility on both iOS and Android devices, it offers a convenient way to integrate mindfulness practices into your daily routine.

The app’s foundation is a straightforward yet powerful three-step process: Stop, Breathe, and Think. First, it encourages users to pause their busy lives and “Stop” whatever they are doing. This simple act of cessation provides a moment to disconnect from distractions. 

Next, the app guides users through a focused “Breathe” session, allowing them to pay attention to their breath and harness its calming effects. Finally, users are prompted to “Think” and reflect on their current emotional state, identifying stressors or sources of anxiety.

3. Pacifica:

Pacifica is a versatile mental health app designed to provide support and relief for individuals dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. This mobile- and web-based platform incorporates evidence-based practices like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness meditation, relaxation techniques, and mood tracking to empower users on their mental health journey. 

The app offers a range of valuable features, including mood and health tracking based on user input, daily audio lessons grounded in CBT principles, and engaging chat groups that focus on various topics such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and relationships.

4. Unique Daily Affirmations: 

Unique Daily Affirmations is a remarkable mental health app designed to empower users with positive self-affirmations, fostering self-esteem and resilience. This app offers a daily dose of encouragement and positivity, seamlessly integrating affirmations into your daily routine. 

With a user-friendly interface, Unique Daily Affirmations presents affirmations on your screen, prompting you to engage actively by pressing the “HOLD” button and repeating the affirmation aloud. This interactive approach ensures that the affirmations resonate deeply, helping you shift your focus from weaknesses to strengths.

5. Hydro Coach: 

Hydro Coach is an indispensable app designed to revolutionize your hydration routine. No longer will you need to guess how much water your body requires. This smart app calculates your optimal daily water intake by considering factors such as your height, age, gender, and the climate you reside in. 

But Hydro Coach doesn’t stop at mere calculations. It ingeniously incorporates your daily schedule, from the moment you wake up to when you settle into sleep, to craft a personalized drinking pace that ensures you stay adequately hydrated.

One of Hydro Coach’s standout features is its gentle yet effective reminders throughout the day, prompting you to sip and stay hydrated. Every time you finish a cup or water bottle, simply open the app and log your intake, allowing it to keep a meticulous record of your hydration habits.

6. Mindful Gnats: 

With Mindful Gnats, young users embark on a journey toward cultivating mindfulness, a practice known to enhance self-awareness, reduce stress, and promote emotional resilience. Through this app, users can expect a range of engaging activities and exercises designed to instill mindfulness into their daily routines. 

Whether utilized alongside the desktop game or as a standalone resource, Mindful Gnats empowers young minds to develop vital life skills that can positively impact their mental and emotional health.

7. Tellmi: 

Tellmi is a compassionate and secure mental health app designed to offer a supportive community for individuals facing various emotional challenges.

What sets Tellmi apart is its commitment to safety and human connection. Every post within the community undergoes human moderation before being published, ensuring a respectful and empathetic environment. 

Additionally, Tellmi offers in-house counselors for those seeking extra support, making it a holistic resource for anyone in need. Whether you’re wrestling with stress, anxiety, depression, navigating interpersonal conflicts, or coping with the aftermath of a difficult breakup, Tellmi provides a safe haven for sharing your concerns anonymously.

8. Apart of Me: 

Apart of Me is a multi-award-winning therapeutic game designed to assist individuals, particularly young people, in coping with bereavement and processing grief. Co-created by experts in child psychology and bereaved young individuals, this app creates a magical 3D world where users embark on a transformative journey. 

Set in a tranquil island environment, users interact with friendly creatures and receive guidance to explore, accept, understand, and express their emotions related to grief.

This immersive experience encourages users to navigate their grief at their own pace, remember their lost loved ones, and connect with others who have shared similar experiences, all while discovering their own inner strength and wisdom.

9. Clear Fear: 

Clear Fear is a dedicated mental health app tailored for adolescents. Grounded in evidence-based treatment, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), this app equips teenagers with practical tools to tackle the physical and emotional responses to threats. 

Through guided exercises, users learn the art of deep breathing, relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and strategies to reshape thought patterns and behaviors. Clear Fear empowers personalization, allowing users to adapt the app to their unique needs, and offers progress-tracking features to observe and celebrate their emotional journey. 

10. Calm Harm: 

Calm Harm, an award-winning mental health app designed for individuals struggling with self-harm tendencies. Rooted in evidence-based Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) principles, this app offers a lifeline for those seeking to break the cycle of self-harm behavior. 

Calm Harm provides immediate activities and techniques to redirect emotions, understand triggers, and build a “safety net” of constructive thoughts and behaviors. It also supports journaling and self-reflection, all while maintaining a private, anonymous, and secure environment. 

11. Neolth: 

Neolth is a leading mental health app specifically tailored to support students in managing stress and enhancing their mental well-being. It is designed for both students with preexisting health conditions and those seeking relaxation and resilience-building tools. 

Developed in collaboration with top psychologists, therapists, and neuroscientists, Neolth places a strong emphasis on student input and participation, ensuring that its content, design, and features align with their unique needs. 

Moreover, Neolth stands out as the sole mental health app fostering a thriving community of Student Ambassadors, ensuring that student voices are not only heard but actively shaping the app’s offerings, making it a powerful resource for improving student mental health.

12. K’Bro: 

K’Bro is a unique mental health app designed to empower teens to build emotional resilience while engaging in an addictively enjoyable experience. At its core, the “Am I OK?” game forms the heart of K’Bro, where users anonymously share their emotional states. 

Beyond the game, K’Bro serves as a secure space for adolescents to express their thoughts and feelings, seeking advice and support for life’s challenges while receiving validation through the “Am I OK?” index. This app evolves with each interaction, utilizing shared data to provide users with an Am I OK? score that gauges their emotional well-being. 

If all is well, it’s a reason to celebrate, but if not, K’Bro offers valuable suggestions to help users regain their emotional balance. 

13. Smiling Mind: 

Smiling Mind is a versatile mental health app that offers mindfulness and meditation exercises designed to promote emotional well-being across all age groups. Developed by psychologists and educators, this unique tool provides a daily dose of balance for your life. 

Whether you’re a teen or an adult, Smiling Mind guides you through 10-minute mindfulness and meditation sessions, accessible from any device. With a focus on simplicity and accessibility, this app empowers users to incorporate mindfulness practices into their daily routines, fostering emotional resilience and inner peace.

14. Headspace: 

Headspace is your go-to app for embracing mindfulness as an integral part of your daily life. With a rich toolkit of science-backed meditation and mindfulness resources, Headspace guides you on a transformative journey to enhance your mental well-being and discover a healthier, happier version of yourself. 

Offering an array of meditation sessions, sleep casts, mindful movement exercises, and focus-enhancing practices, Headspace equips you with the tools to manage stress effectively, reduce it by 14% in just 10 days, unwind your mind within minutes, sharpen your focus, and achieve the most rejuvenating sleep you’ve ever experienced. 

15. MoodMission: 

MoodMission is a scientifically-backed mental health app meticulously crafted to aid in managing depression and anxiety. This app places the power in your hands by offering a personalized approach to improve your mood. 

When you convey your emotional state to MoodMission, it responds with a curated list of five straightforward, speedy, and evidence-based Missions designed to enhance your well-being. 

These Missions are derived from robust scientific research, ensuring that your efforts are grounded in proven techniques, and they are made easily accessible through the app, granting you the knowledge of how each action contributes to your emotional betterment.

Guide to Choose the Best Mental Health App

While this abundance of options is a boon, it can also be overwhelming when trying to select the best app for your teen’s specific needs. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process and make an informed choice:

1. Assess the Specific Concerns:

Start by identifying the specific emotional or mental health concerns your teen is facing. Is it anxiety, depression, stress, sleep issues, or another challenge? Knowing the primary concern will narrow down the selection.

2. Privacy and Security: 

Review the app’s privacy policy to understand how user data is handled. Ensure that the app prioritizes user privacy and data security.

3. Cost and Accessibility: 

Consider the app’s cost and accessibility. Some apps offer free versions with limited features, while others require a subscription. Check if the app is available on your teen’s preferred platform (iOS, Android). Many mental health apps offer trial periods or free versions with limited features. Encourage your teen to try out the app before committing to a subscription.

4. Community Support: 

Some mental health apps offer peer support or community features, where users can connect with others facing similar challenges. These can provide a sense of belonging and shared experiences.

5. Feedback and Progress Tracking: 

Look for apps that provide tools for tracking progress and offer feedback on your teen’s journey toward emotional well-being.

Comparing Mental Health Apps

When it comes to choosing a mental health app, the “best” app can vary widely depending on individual needs, preferences, and the specific challenges you or your teen are facing. Here’s a closer look at how to compare mental health apps effectively and tailor your selection to your unique requirements:

1. Research Evidence-Based Approaches: 

Look for apps that incorporate evidence-based therapeutic techniques. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and exposure therapy are proven methods for managing various mental health concerns. An app that aligns with these approaches may be more effective.

2. Consult with Professionals: 

Seek guidance from mental health professionals, such as therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists. They can provide recommendations based on their expertise and understanding of your specific needs.

3. Read User Reviews and Ratings: 

User reviews and ratings on app stores (e.g., Apple App Store, Google Play Store) and independent review websites (e.g., Verywell Mind, Psycom) offer valuable insights into the real-world user experience. Pay attention to both positive and critical reviews to gain a balanced perspective.

4. Customization Options: 

Look for apps that allow users to customize their experience. Personalization can enhance engagement and the app’s relevance to your specific needs.

5. User Engagement: 

Gauge the app’s ability to keep you or your teen engaged. Features like gamification, progress tracking, and reminders can contribute to a more effective and enjoyable experience.

Who Should Use a Mental Health App?

Mental health apps are versatile tools that can benefit a wide range of individuals, including teenagers. They are particularly valuable for teens who are facing emotional challenges such as anxiety, depression, stress, or low self-esteem. These apps provide accessible resources for managing these issues and promoting emotional well-being. 

Additionally, mental health apps are suitable for teens who are actively seeking support and coping strategies. They offer a variety of tools and techniques for managing difficult emotions, helping teens develop essential life skills and resilience.

For teenagers who have limited access to in-person mental health services due to geographical constraints, stigma, or a lack of resources, mental health apps can bridge the gap. They provide a means of seeking help and guidance without geographical limitations. 

What If I’m Having Thoughts of Harming Myself?

If you or your teen are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it’s crucial to seek immediate professional help. Mental health apps can be supportive but may not replace the need for immediate intervention from a mental health professional or crisis helpline.

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Manuel Alejandro Patiño

Personal and professionally focused on integral wellness in mind, emotions, and body, as the main key to preventing toxic stress and chronic diseases. I try to be an example of what I teach, healing not just from the knowledge. I am also very adaptable to employeer’s requirements. I can understand and speak Spanish, English, and German very fluently.

More than 7 years of experience practicing and teaching Kundalini Yoga and other meditation