Apps that can help with your mental health [Part 2]

This is a continuation of my post about apps that can help with your mental health. The first post focused more on peer to peer support apps, while this post will focus more on apps that provide tools that can help you manage some mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. Some of these apps have the peer to peer support element as well.

1. Happify

Happify is an app that has science-based activities and games that can help with managing your stress, anxiety or depression.

You sign up, and it asks you some questions about yourself.

And then it asks a few more questions about yourself, but it’s more about your mood or how you face adversity and stuff like that.

Happify has lessons in the form of activities and games. You can choose to just free play or follow specific tracks. I chose the track Conquer Your Negative Thoughts, because it was free, while most tracks are paid.

The games are very simple and some times cookie cutter with a twist. For example, in Uplift you just tap on positive words, while in Negative Knockout you are essentially playing Angry Birds but knocking out negative words. The assets for the games are only downloaded when you select them, so it keeps the app size manageable.

While some lessons are more like activities. For example, in Walk in Their Shoes you are encouraged to well walk in someone else’s shoes and see how they live their life. Yes, that would require you to go out and interact with real life human beings. Tough, at least for me.

While another activity encourages Savouring. Savouring is actually one of the techniques I learned from the well-being class that can make you happier. The well-being class encouraged me to go outside and savor there, while this app allows you to pick a serene scene and savor in the comforts of your own home.

Another activity allows you to discover your signature strengths. I already took the test before for the well-being class, and as a rewirement challenge then, I was able to use my signature strength for week. But I retook the quiz on Happify anyway. But because Happify really wanted to push its monetization, it will only show me 3 of my signature strengths, the other 2 I need to pay for, which I didn’t.

You can also chose if you want to keep your progress private or public in the Community Mode. The Community Mode is the peer to peer aspect of Happify. So you basically you can share your progress with the community and they can like and comment on it. There are also forums that you can take part in.

Another sort of random feature of Happify is that it has Contests. So when you complete lessons, you get points, and when you earn a certain number of points you can join their different monthly draws. They also have these Daily Feed that includes some seemingly random articles.

Happify is monetized through subscription based Premium Features.

What I like about Happify?

This app was actually recommended to me by a friend. I like that an app like this exists, and that it’s trying to help its user improve their overall well-being.

What I think can be improved?

I think the monetization strategy seems a little aggressive. I feel like if I didn’t pay for the Premium, I don’t actually get much from the app. Even though they say that their Premium is cheaper than hiring a life coach, it’s still a little steep for me.

The games and activities also feel a little to simplistic to be worth the price.


2. Pacifica

Pacifica is also an app that helps users manage their stress, anxiety and depression using tools based on CBT and mindfulness.

You also need to create an account and then you sign in. Unlike Happify, they don’t ask you any questions about your personal life.

The app will give you suggestions on some tools that you can use.

Everyday, you can set how you are feeling to keep track of your emotions. In Goals, you can set your goals, major and minor ones and you can also set how difficult you think it might be. You can also create a Hope Board that I suppose you can look at to feel better. You can also keep track of your Health. You can also meditate. You can also keep track of your progress on all of these fronts.

There are also tracks that you can follow, I picked whatever that is free. They are more like lessons in an audio format and then it suggests some activity that you can do.

One activity is for Reframing your thoughts. I also learned about this is in one of the online classes I taken on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Here is an example one of the thoughts that has been bothering me lately and reframing it really helped me understand that I’m not that bad and I will have a future.

Pacifica also has a community for peer to peer support and it’s presented in the form of discussions and chat groups. You can submit posts and people can comment on them. You can also join the chat groups and chat in real time.

Pacifica also allows you to find a therapist or connect your own therapist. I think it’s encouraging you to use the app in conjunction with your existing therapy.


Pacifica is also monetized with a subscription based Premium model.


What I like about Pacifica?

I really like the overall aesthetic of the app, it looks very clean and modern. There is also a lot going on. Like Happify, I wouldn’t pay for the Premium model. But I feel like even without the Premium, I was already able to access a lot of activities and able to track different aspects of my life.

What I think can be improved?

You know when sometimes apps have too many features that some just gets lost in the mix? The first few times I used it, I didn’t even realize that there was a community.

In terms of the Tracks, to be honest, the one I tried, in terms of the lessons, was a little dry. I don’t listen to audio books or pod casts, because I’m a visual person, so listening to lessons doesn’t really work for me. But I do appreciate the activity part of the lessons.


3. Remente

Remente is a more goal oriented app for self-improvement.

You sign up and then you choose what aspects of your life you want to focus on.


It then gives you some suggested goals, but you can also just create your own.

Remente has four main parts: Assess Life, Rate Mood, Set a Goal and Plan My Day. Aside from those it also has a bunch of Resources, mostly paid of course.


You can assess different aspects of your life, such as Finances, Friends and Social Life, and Fun and Recreation. They intend for you to do this on a daily basis.

You can also rate your mood. They also intend for you to do this one on daily basis.

So I already talked about goals. So in order to really put your goals into action, they encourage you to plan your day.


And finally the resources. Unlike Pacifica that presented them in audio format, Remente presents them as text. Once again there are some free ones, but most are paid.

They also have shorter courses called Boosts. It’s also just text, but much short text.

Once again, this app is also monetized through the subscription-based Premium model.

What I like about Remente?

I don’t hate it.

I like the goal suggestions, they were really helpful in pinpointing exactly how you can reach a major goal. In terms of the major goal of saving money, it really showed me step by step on how to reach that goal.

What I think can be improved?

I barely use it though. Between Pacifica’s audio lessons and Remente’s text ones, I can’t really tell which I prefer more. Or maybe neither. I don’t think I’ll pay for a Premium though. Without Premium, you can still use most of the parts just fine, it’s just when it comes to Resources.


4. Moodpath

Moodpath is an app to help you keep track of your mood.

You open the app and then it will ask you some questions about your mood. They expect you to do this 3 times a day, everyday.

It keeps track of your mood and provides statistics about them.

It also provides information about where to get treatment. The idea is that after tracking your mood for 2 weeks, you will be able to judge if you need to seek treatment and then you can show your Moodpath to your therapist.


It also provides some resources about depression.

What I like about Moodpath?

It’s very simple and easy to use. Compared to Pacifica and Remente, I prefer the way information is presented in Moodpath, with text and pictures. I also like the style of the pictures, it’s really cute.

What I think can be improved?

I think it’s good that it focuses on just one thing, and as it is, it’s pretty good. I think I should get used to using it more.


5. SuperBetter

SuperBetter is an app that helps you increase resilience. This is also available in a website, but I only tried the app.

This app has been developed with experts from Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, and Ohio State University Medical Research Center. For each element of the app, they provide the science behind it, even linking journal articles and research.


It operates on the idea that you build your resilience by doing tasks and then you can level up and such. So there are Power-ups, Quests, Bad Guys, Allies, Future Boosts, and it also keeps track of your Achievements. There is also an Activity page that keeps track what what you have done. If you have friends or Allies who also use the app, they can like and comment on it.

Power-ups are some activities that you can do in real life, like Chug a Glass of Water. These activities are supposed to make you feel better.

Quests are well, quests, you know what those are.

Bad Guys aren’t actual Bad Guys, they are things that you might find hard to accomplish, like getting out of your bed or The Sticky Chair.

Allies are you friends and, I suppose, the peer element of this app. But I don’t know anyone else that uses this app.

Future Boosts are more like long term goals or things that you are hoping to accomplish in the next two weeks.

Then there are Achievements. I don’t have any Achievements yet, mostly because I barely use the app.


What I like about SuperBetter?

I like how evidence based the different activities are and how they make an effort to explain it to the users.

What I think can be improved?

I know about this app and I had it for a while now, but I never really used it, because I think the gamification and the digital level and achievements that I get for real life tasks wasn’t motivating enough for me. They did mention that building resilience takes work and its a conscious effort that you really need to put in.

Overall the app looks pretty plain, I think if it incorporated more of the RPG element with maybe a virtual avatar that represents digital and in real life me, maybe I’d get more into it. While another app, Habitica, which I will talk about in a bit, does that.


6. Habitica

Habitica is an app that incorporates RPG elements in helping you with your daily tasks and accomplishing your goals.

You sign up. You can also login with Facebook or Google.

Since it’s RPGish, you can need to create your avatar. I like how in Extras, they also included wheelchair.

Next, you can choose some areas of your life that you want to work on and it will give you some suggestions.


There are 3 types of tasks: Habits, Dailies and To-Dos.


Habits are well, habits. They can be positive or negative. If you accomplish good habits, you can points and if you did bad habits you lose points. So my habits are: Sleep for 8 hours and Meditate, and they’re both positive.

The next one is Dailies, which are things that you are supposed to do every day. So with Dailies, if you don’t accomplish them within the day, you lose points. I’m not sure if I should move the Sleep for 8 Hours and Meditate to Dailies, because I do want to do them everyday, but Dailies are pretty high stake.

The last one is To-Dos, which are exactly what you think it means.

And since it’s an RPG, you can get Rewards. So you can buy stuff to decorate your avatar. You can also set some real life rewards. So I added Cake, because Cake will be an awesome reward.

Aside from those main parts, there are also a few more stuff that makes the whole experience even more RPGish. So you have Stats, a whole bunch of Social elements and Inventory stuff.

The Social elements include a Tavern, Party, Guilds and Challenges. So you can chat, join parties and guilds, and support one another. You can also message other users.

You can also take part in some Challenges.

Lastly, the Inventory, where you can buy all sort of stuff, even pets!

Habitica is monetized through Gem in app purchases and subscriptions.

Also, interestingly, the source code for the app is open source on Github.


What I like about Habitica?

I literally just talked about how I prefer this RPG with avatar type of gamification compared to the one in SuperBetter. It’s cute, and seeing your virtual self get better and have better gear, motivates me more.

What I think can be improved?

I think it has a lot going on as well, especially on the social side, which can be a little confusing. But other than that, pretty good.


7. Mood Gym

Mood Gym is a website that is like an online self-help book that provides you with skills and tools to manage anxiety and depression. It’s also based on concepts from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.


I have personally been using this website quite a lot and following the Modules.


The Modules are a combination of lessons, quizzes and activities that you can apply in real life. It’s very easy to follow and the information are presented in a varied way, so it’s not too boring.

Moodgym is delivered free of charge in Australia, which I currently am, so yeah. While in the United States, you can get organizational subscriptions.

What I like about Moodgym?

I learned a lot from the modules and the tools really helped me. I like the way information was presented.

What I think can be improved?

I’d like to have a version of this website as an app, so it can be even more accessible. Also maybe make it available internationally.


8. This Way Up

This Way Up has a lot of courses about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, depression, anxiety, etc. It has a website and a bunch of apps.

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In the website, you can access all the courses, some are free. So I only go to try the free ones. Most are paid though, and it’s paid individually.

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The courses are presented in the form of a comic, which sometimes tells the story of a fictional character and how the character goes through for example, coping with stress, and you follow them through out their journey. They also provide techniques and resources that you can use.

While for the apps, there is an app for each course, and they are all paid. Oh and they aren’t cheap, so I didn’t get to try them.

Their idea is your clinician would recommend you to take the courses and supervise you through them. But you can also just take it by yourself as self-help.

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You can also take anxiety and depression quizzes as a self-assessment.

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What I like about This Way Up?

I think it’s a convenient way to access information, because it’s online or on the apps. I suppose, compared to a psychologist or psychiatrist, it’s cheaper. Also it’s developed with St. Vincent’s Hospital and UNSW, so it’s backed by research.

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 1.53.54 PM

What I think can be improved?

The comic style doesn’t work so well with me, especially when it’s presented as individual images and seeing one lesson is composed of 80 something slides overwhelm me. I also think the art style of the comics can be done better, like the one in Moodpath.


9. My Possible Self

My Possible Self is an online self-help tool for depression, anxiety, etc.

You need to sign up. There is a website and apps. But I couldn’t access the apps, because it wasn’t available in my country.

When you login, there is a feed, that shows some blog posts and facts about mental illness, tips, inspirational quotes and some suggested activities.

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There are 3 main parts to the website: Moments, Tracking and Modules.

Moments are kind of like a diary, where you can add a moment in the form of text and images, and you can assign a mood to it.

Tracking is meant to keep track of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, CBT stuff.

Before you can start tracking, you need to take an assessment, then it will give you some recommendations of things you should focus on.

Unfortunately, Tracking is behind the paywall, so I didn’t get to try it.

There are different Modules available, some are free, most are paid. So I tried a free one about Anxiety. The way the information is presented is a bit similar to Moodgym, with text of information, some case studies and activities that you can do.

My Possible Self is also monetized through subscriptions.

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What I like about My Possible Self?

I like the cutesy aesthetic of the website. It’s pretty clear and presented well.

What I think can be improved?

Without getting the subscription, the website is actually pretty limited. I wish I could access the apps and try them out as well.


That’s it!

And that concludes my post about the different apps and websites that can help with your mental health. A lot of the apps in this post have similar features, but present the same information in different ways.

I think it depends on how you process information, maybe you like reading text or prefer listening to it or reading comics.

A lot of these apps are focused on tracking, and it depends on what motivates you. Maybe you don’t even need an app and can just keep track using a notebook.

So that’s it for me for now. For comments, suggestions, and if you have other apps that you think I should check out.


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