The 10 Best Mental Health Apps for Creators

ankastudio22/Shutterstock, s_maria/Shutterstock, Talkspace/Facebook, BetterHelp/Facebook, Calm/Facebook, Remix by Caterina Cox

The two best things about living in 2023 are that mental health issues have been largely destigmatized and that all the best mental health apps are right there on your pocket ‘puter. There are so many great apps for therapy, meditation, exercise, and more. And they’re all much healthier than opening one of the apps where people yell, photoshop their lives, or pay for little blue check marks.

As a creative person, it’s important to monitor your mental health, you know, so you can keep creator burnout at bay—especially since there is evidence that artists are more likely to experience mood disorders. Thankfully, I’ve combed through all the best mental health apps like a mom methodically combing her first-grader for lice.

1. Best App(s) For Finding A Therapist From Underneath Your Weighted Blanket: Talkspace & BetterHelp

Therapy-goers have spoken, and Talkspace and BetterHelp are pretty much a tie when it comes to talk therapy. 

Talkspace offers therapy for individuals, teens, and couples, and takes insurance, so you may only have a co-pay. It is a bit more expensive than BetterHelp at $69-129 per week, depending on whether you choose messaging, video, or taking additional workshops. They also have psychiatrists for $125 per session (initial session is $249) which means they’re able to prescribe medications making TalkSpace the better mental health app for treating depression.

BetterHelp has licensed therapists, but no psychiatry or prescription options. They don’t take insurance, but it’s cheaper than Talkspace at $60-90 weekly, with financial aid and sliding scale options available as well. Reviews have found that BetterHelp has a larger pool of therapists to choose from, it’s easy to switch therapists, and it’s more user-friendly. They also have unlimited messaging.

Just remember, whichever one you choose, make sure to look up a discount code. (I know they exist, they’re in every podcast ad).

2. Best App For De-Stressing Yourself Once And For All: Sanvello

Utilizing a proven method of psychological treatment that focuses on identifying unhealthy thought patterns and learning how to break those patterns through coping tools and calming techniques, Sanvello’s main draw is its focus on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The app is known for its audio “Guided Journeys” to help in times of stress or unease. The company also offers coaching, therapy, and peer support, making it the closest thing to a mental health social media app. There are many good reviews about the peer support community and how helping others on their mental health journey is mutually beneficial.

There’s a free version but it is very minimal. Otherwise, it’s $13 per month or $70 per year, with both family and student discounts, and they take some forms of insurance. Therapy is additional, it is an extra in-app purchase. Sanvello says it costs an average of $140 for an initial therapy session and an average of $85 for follow-up therapy sessions.

3. Best App For When Your Mood Is In The Sub-Basement: Happify

Happify’s mantra is to “break old patterns, form new habits.” “I’ve learned to reframe my negative thoughts,” says one Happify reviewer. It’s helpful for people just getting started with CBT as well. The app has users set goals, then it gives objectives and actions to check in to see how you’re feeling, tracking your mood over time. 

However, the top feature is the collection of games. There are quizzes and science-based activities geared towards positive thinking and reducing stress. The free version is super limited, and it’s $15 per month, $140 per year, or $450 for a lifetime membership if you fall in love during the free trial. 

4. Best Mental Health App For Busy People On A Budget: Bearable

If you’re ready to be proactive about your mental health and not spend a lot of money, Bearable will be perfect for you. How does it work?

You add the aspects of your life and mood you want to track, and you can even make up new ones, like “time spent reading memes from Aunt Linda.” You can pick from so many, like sleep, emotions, energy levels, physical symptoms, exercise, fatigue, menstrual cycle, alcohol consumption, caffeine intake, screen time, the list goes on and on. You can also set reminders throughout the day to help get yourself back on track, and sync it with your phone/smart watch, etc. so you can see everything in one place. By seeing how much time you spend on certain activities and recording your mood, you can learn which aspects of your life are affecting you positively or negatively with custom metrics.

It’s a cheaper option than many other mental health apps at just $4.50 per month or $28 for a year. But it only works well if you put time into it and enter new information every day.

5. Best 100% Free Meditation App That Will Remain Free Forever: Clock App

Here’s where you open the timer on your phone, set it for thirty seconds, and I teach you box breathing. It works best if you’re sitting in a chair, but it can help even if you’re standing up. 

Step 1: Breathe in as you count to four.

Step 2: Hold your breath for four seconds.

Step 3: Exhale for four seconds.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 as needed.

I like to imagine the shape of a square box and follow the edges with each breath in, hold, and exhale. 

best mental health apps - an animated gif of a square with a timer counting down four seconds indicating that you should breathe in, hold, breathe out, and hold for that amount of time

6. Best App For Calming the Heck Down: Calm 

If you liked the box breathing exercise, you’re gonna love Calm. They have soothing music, guided meditations, sleep stories, light movement guides, and soundscapes. It’s also a good mental health app for teens and even has a kids option. Honestly, sometimes I need to put a child lock on my phone, and only allow myself to open the Calm app. 

It’s $15 per month, $70 per year, and offers a free trial so you can find out if it’s a good fit before you fork over any cool, smooth, soothing cash for the app.

7. Best App For Exercising Without Going Down A YouTube Rabbit Hole: Apple Fitness

Yes, I know you can work out for “free” on YouTube. But there are always distractions awaiting, and suddenly you’re a  conspiracy theorist. 

The Apple Fitness app has every type of workout as well as guided meditation. It’s $80 per year, however, you can have up to five family members on the same subscription (“family” can be anybody, no relation or birth certificates needed). I can’t do the math, but eighty divided by five is a very cheap home gym membership.

8. Best App For Procrastinating By Taking A Walk And Looking At Plants: PlantSnap

Movement and oxygen are proven ways to give you a boost if you’re in a funk, but let’s add a fun twist: looking at plants! What’s that one? No idea! Hold on, let me get my phone out so I can find out it’s goldenrod, then impress my buddy next time we’re walking to get our fourth coffee of the day. PlantSnap is the best plant identifier app because it has a free option where you can snap five plant photos a day, and it’s only $19.99 for a whole year of unlimited plant identification. You can learn about new flora every day, or do what I do and snap the same plants over and over because I can’t remember a new fact until I’ve read it for the 50th time.

9. Best App For When You’re Gonna Lose Your Sh*t If You Don’t Eat Some F*cking Pizza: SliceSlice

Slice does the heavy lifting for you when it comes to finding the best pizza nearby. It’s like a dating app where every swipe is a YES, and every match is hot, tasty cheese and bread. They put the gluten-free and vegan options right at the top, and there are different restaurants with discounts every day. Plus they have a rewards program where you get a free pizza after every eight orders. It’s like a punch card at a coffee shop, if you could use the same punch card at ALL coffee shops. Kinda magical. Oh, and most of the places have other food, so if you wanted, you could order eight salads and get a free pizza. You do have to hit $30 to qualify as an “order” though, so keep that in mind.

10. Best App for Fueling Your Shopping Addiction Without Overdrafting Your Account: Poshmark

Retail therapy is real. Usually, I fill a cart with stuff I can’t afford, then close the tab. Sometimes, however, an item really takes hold of my mind, be it a hyper-color shirt, cargo pants with thirty pockets, or an extra-heavy weighted blanket. That’s when I open Poshmark. It’s a shopping app for second-hand goods, mostly clothing and shoes. It’s like walking into a thrift store the size of Disney World. Oh, and shopping second-hand is slightly better for the environment than buying new, so using it makes you a climate activist (ok, not really but you’re on the right track).

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