Apps for Mental Health

I'd like to take the time to share some recommendations for a few free apps for smartphones (I'm on Android but hopefully they are on iPhones too) that I feel help me to manage my own mental health. To give you a little context, I suffer with depression and anxiety and have been taking medication for it (on and off but mostly on) for a few years. I know that there are often stories going around about how smartphones and social media can be bad for mental health but I certainly feel like my phone is one of the biggest factors in helping me stay on top of things and it definitely has a positive impact on my mental health (when used correctly). And so, on to the list:


Probably the most useful and effective of the apps that I use is Daylio. It works like a sort of micro-journal for moods and activities so allows me to inject small doses of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) into my day-to-day activities. At any time during the day, I open the app and record my mood (on a scale), what activities I've been up to recently (via selecting from user-defined icons) and a short statement about how I'm feeling and why (if I wish). The app then provides insights into mood and activity patterns, including charting mood over days, months and years and showing which activities are linked to which moods. This grants me a great insight into my behavioural patterns and allows me to improve my emotional intelligence. Even just the fact that I'm taking a little time to assess and analyse my moods and activities each day is a great help - it keeps me mindful and present. I highly recommend doing something similar.


Combining a habit tracker, recurring tasks and a to-do list with some light game elements, Habitica is a great way to gamify (make a game of) your important tasks. Checking off your daily tasks, completing to-dos and fulfilling good habits rewards you with items and fake currency that you can use to improve the little character that represents you. Conversely, missing tasks and partaking in bad habits causes injury to your character. Once you've been using it for a while, you unlock more items, level up your character and unlock skills that you can use in the game for certain benefits. Importantly, you also gain the ability to form a group with other users and combine your efforts to resolve quests together. This group accountability can help push you to achieve your goals and not let your team down. I really like having access to this method of tracking my achievements and the little extra rewards (though not real) that I get for accomplishing my goals give me an extra reason to be productive.

Zombies! Run

To follow the theme of gamifying things that I should be doing anyway, Zombies! Run is the way that I make myself get outside and run or walk more. It is similar to other run trackers (Endomondo/Runtastic) in that it maps where you go and how fast you go there and all that. On top of that, there are some light game and story elements. Over a series of episodes (one run at a time), a post apocalyptic zombie survival story is presented to you purely through audio while you are out running. It frames your runs as reconnaissance and supply missions for a colony of survivors (including optional zombie chase segments, to boost your speed) with other characters speaking to you directly. Between runs, you can use the supplies that you found in a simple management game of upgrading your settlement. Again, having that extra level of rewards and progression encourages me to do these positive things more frequently. Whether it's because I want to improve my fitness or find out what happens next in the story, the runs are just as good for me.

Down Dog

Allowing me to quickly set up custom yoga practices (read: short and low-level, for now) with spoken instructions and photo guides, Down Dog really helps make yoga accessible to me. The benefits of exercise with regards to mental health are well-known and yoga also improves flexibility and includes a sort of meditative element which I think helps with mindfulness and stress-management. I really struggle with commitment to classes and motivation though, so being able to quickly get into an activity when I can muster the energy or will is very important to me. This app really helps me in that respect. It also doesn't cost anything (unlike classes), so that's good too.

And that is the end of my list. I didn't want to throw too much information at you so I stuck to the apps that I feel help me the most and tried to give some insight as to why so that you can get an idea of whether they might be good for you too. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything I mentioned here or mental health in general, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I'm happy to talk about my experiences, especially if it might benefit others or help with understanding.

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