Mental health apps could be one way to get that help without leaving your house. I tried four different mental health apps so you don’t have to go through them all yourself. While my experiences are definitely my own, hopefully, it will give you an idea of if these apps work and what may be right for you.
1. Talk Space
I saw an ad for Talk Space and it got me really excited. So I dished out the hundreds of dollars you have to put up to try their cheapest plan. There is no free trial and they do not accept insurance. Still, if I could talk to a professional in real-time during a mental health crisis or just chat through my day a few minutes every evening to check-in, it would be worth it.
Despite the advertisements, this is NOT how the app is designed to be used. While there is an interface that looks like a chat and can facilitate live back and forth, what actually happens is you leave a message and your provider checks in once a day, five days a week and replies to you.
If you are online at that time they may be able to chat back and forth a bit. BUT, fair warning, their policy is to stop responding after a couple of replies no matter what is going on because you are only paying for ten minutes per day of their time, five days per week. That amounts to a single 50 minute $40-$60 per week session.
Also, they are likely checking all of their patient’s responses at that time, and in my experience, they get them confused. They also warn you that the first 4-6 weeks are intake and they won’t offer you any help during that time.
As for the help, I tried four different therapists because they weren’t even responding as often as the company’s bare minimum. One of these “professionals” even sent me to Wikipedia.
In the end, it was so bad I managed to get a full refund as I showed them all my chats for a month that showed zero helpfulness from any of their therapists. There may be other reasons to be wary of Talk Space as well.
Regardless, Talk Space is not space to chat whenever you need, unlike the ads appear to show. It’s a place to leave a message and get a reply later. That’s all. Now, whether that reply will be helpful for you, I can’t say.
2. Better Help
Basically, Better Help is traditional therapy but done virtually so you don’t have to physically go into an office. This can be appealing to some people because of anxiety, depression, physical and transportation limitations, weird work hours, kids, etc. This is especially helpful now, as we are social distancing.
You can pick a therapist based on their credentials, personality, and schedule. Then you plan on a time that works for you. The cost and availability are similar to an in-person therapist. Although considered similar to Talk Space, lots of reviews agree this one is superior. If this is what you are looking for, then this app may be great for you. There’s a reason it’s number one on e-counseling.
This is a popular app for a reason. What I love about Calm is when you open the app it prompts you to take a calming breath – something proven to be effective in calming anxiety. It gives you a moment too, which felt like a nice relief before diving into anything.
Calm features guided meditations and mindfulness exercises (If you can spare a few minutes and are into that type of thing). It was not pointed enough to help me, but if that’s all your missing, Calm is there to help, and most of its features are free.
Also, to help you get better sleep, Calm offers guided sleep stories. My other favorite feature is that Calm provides background sounds and ambiance. Like to fall asleep to rain or white noise? This app plays even when the app is not open, hours if you want, and offers lots of soundscape options for free, unlike other pricey apps that only do this.
A new feature is the mood tracker, which is actually one of my favorite features of the next app.
Youper was everything I was looking for in a mental health app.
First of all, their AI offers a live chat 24/7 and even though it’s a computer, I found it incredibly helpful. Youper checks in with you and walks you through your thoughts looking for thinking traps, practicing gratitude, capturing positive moments, refocusing on a new thought, and more.
Youper also offers mindfulness exercises. And you can tell the chat what you’re up for and what you’re not at that time, which I loved.
When you record your mood, you’re also asked to select things that are making you feel that way and Youper keeps track of it creating easy to use graphics which break down your own stats and make a visual – letting you know exactly what you most often say makes you feel optimistic, depressed, etc.
Similarly, Youper tracks your moods during the week and surveys you every 30 days on progress in specific areas if they apply – like depression, anxiety, and even PTSD.
There is also a goal-setting function. You can tell the app if and when you’d like it to ask you if you accomplished your goal for the day. Youper’s full features do have a small cost for the whole year, but I felt it was worth it.
All that being said, as always, in an emergency, mental health or otherwise, call 911.
And, if you feel you may hurt yourself or another you can call any of these hotlines 24/7 for free:
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-237-8255
- For a crisis text line, text “CONNECT” to 741741.
- For those feeling unsafe in their home for any reason – you can also reach out to 1-800-799-7233, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Stay safe and healthy, everyone! And be sure to share this post because you never know who might need this.