8 apps to support your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

These apps make it easy to both social distance and get help.

January 18, 2021, 11:02 PM

The coronavirus pandemic and the social distancing that comes with it can be isolating, anxiety-producing and stressful.

State-by-state orders to stay home can also make it hard to seek mental health help in a traditional way.

Thanks to technology, there is help online and on your phone. Here are eight apps that provide mental health and mindfulness support on the go.

1. Headspace

Headspace has hundreds of guided meditations, including ones you can do on the go. It offers mindfulness tips on everything from managing stress to getting better sleep.

2. Insight Timer

This app offers 70,000 free guided meditations to choose from. Users can modify the meditation to what they need at the moment, choosing from options ranging from ambient sounds to the sounds of bells.

Insight Timer also has more than 3,000 discussion groups and local meet-ups run by users.

3. Happify

Happify is one case where playing games on a smartphone can serve a meaningful purpose. The app, free with in-app purchase options, has different tracks –- from parenting to anxiety to confidence –- that are coached by trained professionals. Choose tracks and then play games and activities to progress.

PHOTO: Happify: for Stress & Worry
Happify: for Stress & Worry
Apple Store

4. Talkspace

Talkspace allows users to connect virtually with a licensed therapist. For $49 per week, there's private access to a therapist via text, audio or video chat, as often as daily or multiple times per day.

PHOTO: Talkspace Online Therapy
Talkspace Online Therapy
Apple Store

5. Stigma

Creating a word cloud may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to therapy, but it is a tool in this app. Stigma provides an easy way to journal and then visually display the prominent words in that writing as a way to track thoughts and feelings. The app can also track mood in a visual calendar and graph how each person's mood adjusts over time.

PHOTO: Stigma: Mood Tracker & Journal
Stigma: Mood Tracker & Journal
Apple Store

6. Anxiety Reliever

The clouds featured on this app's background give a clue to where it leads: A calmer and more peaceful state. The subscription-based app has audio sessions that focus on relaxation and overcoming anxiety and stress.

PHOTO: Anxiety Reliever: Stress and Anxiety Relief
Anxiety Reliever: Stress and Anxiety Relief
Apple Store

7. 10 Percent Happier

This app, created by ABC News' Dan Harris, features guided meditations, videos, talks and sleep content. The app also now features a Coronavirus Sanity Guide that offers free resources including a daily "live sanity break" and weekly podcasts.

8. Calm

Like the Headspace app, Calm is an app for sleep, meditation and relaxation to help users get better sleep and lower stress through guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing programs, stretching exercises and relaxing music.

Bonus resource

Heal the Healers, a new initiative which launches on April 6 from the David Lynch Foundation, is to help provide transcendental meditation to many battling COVID-19 including medical providers. Through transcendental meditation, people are able to reduce anxiety, boost resilience and heal trauma.

If you are in crisis or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

Editor's note: This was originally published on April 6, 2020.