This list has been compiled by the CREST.BD team based on user reviews, scientific literature (e.g., recent World Psychiatry meta-analysis), trusted personal contacts, and recommendations made by other sites (e.g., Healthline).
The apps on this list are free to download, but please be mindful of potential in-app purchases and add-ons.
Here are five of our favorite anxiety management apps:
Headspace is arguably the most widely used and reviewed app in this list. This app expects the user to be new to meditation and aims to make the activity easy and accessible by guiding them through simple daily exercises.
Launched in 2010, Headspace was developed by former Tibetan Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe and creative developer Rich Pierson. According to Headspace, over 6 million users in more than 190 countries have downloaded the app.
Headspace allows users to focus on specific life areas that are important, and organizes them into “packs” such as relationships, happiness, work and performance, sport, sleep, and many more.
Through a series of guided “training” sessions and animations, the app aims to equip users with mindfulness techniques that can also act as mental health self-management strategies. Visit www.Headspace.com to learn more, or download the app available for iOS and Android:
Launched in 2012 through a collaboration between AnxietyBC and BC Children’s Hospital, MindShift is designed to help teens and young adults take charge of anxiety. As the name of the app suggests, the makers aim to help users “shift” how they think about anxiety by encouraging them to take small steps to confront anxiety instead of avoiding it.
Mindshift includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to tackle common themes related to anxiety such as perfectionism, social anxiety, performance anxiety, panic, and more.
Read an informative review discussing the pros and cons of the app by PsyberGuide, or download the app available for iOS and Android:
Self-help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
SAM guides users through numerous research and evidence-informed self-management strategies for anxiety. Put together by a team of psychologists, computer scientists, and student users from the University of the West of England, Bristol, the app has been downloaded by over 500,000 users from over 100 countries since its launch in July 2013.
The app primarily targets users coping with common symptoms associated with mild to moderate anxiety, and allows them to track anxiety levels and visualize these levels through an anxiety profile. SAM also guides and trains users to apply self-management strategies through a collection of mini-games.
SAM also includes a unique feature that allows users to share their experiences and advice through an anonymous “social cloud” community. This app was featured in Healthline’s Best Anxiety Apps of 2017.
Download the app for iOS and Android:
SuperBetter makes taking care of your mental health into a super-hero themed online game, and encourages the user to work towards overcoming anxiety and depression through a series of fun challenges. Award-winning game designer Jane McGonigal came up with the idea of SuperBetter while battling depression and anxiety after a concussion.
New challenges and coping strategies are unlocked as the player levels up, and players can selectively engage in quests based on what is most important to them. In addition to the mobile app, there is also a web version of SuperBetter optimized for desktop browsers.
A study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania that found that playing SuperBetter for 30 days “significantly reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety”, and a meta-analysis recently published by World Psychiatry showed that SuperBetter had the largest effect among the 22 mental health apps evaluated.
Download the app for iOS and Android:
IntelliCare is a suite of mini-apps that work together to target symptoms of depression and anxiety. The full suite includes the Intellicare Hub app, which contains the 12 mini-apps. The Hub helps users manage their favorite apps, and suggests others based on their personal focus and progress.
The 12 mini-apps in IntelliCare Hub:
Among these mini-apps are Slumber Time – sleep management and monitoring, Social Force – positive social contact, Purple Chill – calming strategies and meditation, and Worry Knot – worry management techniques.
The app was developed by researchers in Northwestern University and their team reported that participants who completed their research study reported a 50 percent decrease in the severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms.
IntelliCare Hub and the 12 mini-apps are available for free on Android and can be downloaded here:
If you would like to recommend an app or online tool, feel free to make your suggestion in the comments box below.