College students are dealing with homework, tests, clubs, applying to internships, maintaining a social life and more — all while still in a pandemic that has lasted over a year. It’s no wonder if you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious!
In fact, a study of nearly 200 college students conducted by JED foundation found that 63% of the students described their emotional health as worse now than before the pandemic began. Anxiety was reported by 82% of students, and more than 50% have difficulty coping with their stress in a healthy way.
Making your mental health a priority is crucial. But maybe you’re scared to book an appointment with CAPS. Or you don’t have the money for a therapist and don’t think you have time to find help. While you should always make time to work on your mental health (whether you choose to talk with a professional or simply go on a walk or rest by yourself), it can be hard knowing where to turn.
VALLEY has gathered a list of some of the best mental health apps you can keep right on your phone for whenever you need it. But which app is the best fit for you?
Best Apps for Meditation
HeadSpace — Whether you’re a pro at meditation or just a beginner, this is probably the best meditation app out there. The app is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate and provides a large variety of meditations to suit your situation, such as when you want to find focus or deal with regret. Headspace offers a “10-day Basics” course for anyone who is new to meditation. If you want to try it before getting the app, Netflix has a Headspace series with eight different episodes!
Cost: Free, but you can upgrade to Headspace Plus for $12.99 per month
Insight Timer — TIME Magazine voted Insight Timer one of the best meditation apps of the year. It houses tens of thousands of guided practices, according to choosingtherapy.com, making it the world’s largest library of free meditations. There are several different teachers to choose from, led by “the world’s top mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, meditation teachers and artists.” You can also set a customizable timer and choose from a variety of sounds to chime at select intervals. Like Headspace, the app has meditations for different needs, like boosting self-confidence, improving sleep and heightening self-compassion. This app also encourages members to interact with others in the community, allowing you to join in on live events and connect with others.
Cost: Free, but you can upgrade to a member subscription for $9.99 per month.
Similar to Therapy
Bloom — If you’ve been wanting to try therapy, but haven’t been able to book an appointment or are nervous to talk to someone, this is an amazing app to see what the therapy is like. While you don’t talk to a live person, this app focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) exercises. According to Healthline.com, CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people identify certain thought and behavior patterns, and how these thoughts and emotions can affect your actions. CBT aims to help people reframe any negative or unhelpful patterns, which can lead to more positive actions. Bloom is a comprehensive app that combines interactive video classes with other journaling and mindfulness exercises to help “manage stress and anxiety, improve sleep, build better habits, foster stronger relationships and improve the quality of life.” This app also suggests videos based on your daily check-in mood as well as videos to help start your day right or to unwind at night.
Cost: You can do the 7-day trial and then subscribe for as little as $34.99 per year.
Youper — Similar to Bloom, this app is designed to help users process their feelings. What makes this app unique? After taking a mental health assessment, you will receive personalized, daily recommendations from an artificial intelligence (AI) health assistant. The chat-bot asks you how you’re feeling, events or factors that contributed to that feeling, and then recommends certain activities for you to complete. If you want personalized “treatments,” and a taste of what it’s like to talk with someone, this app may be worth a try.
Cost: Free, but you can upgrade to a premium version for $3.75 a month
Other Helpful Apps
AntiStress Anxiety Relief Game — Just want to get your mind off your troubles? This app is designed to help you release stress or anger. From popping bubbles and coloring to playing with a fidget spinner, there are so many games to choose from – find the ones that help lower your stress levels the quickest. You might be surprised at how well a mindless game can dissolve tension!
ThinkUp: Positive Affirmations — This app is all about affirmations: spoken by both others AND yourself. You can listen to affirmations from experts that are created for specific goals such as self-esteem, mental toughness, dealing with anxiety and more. You can also record your own voice speaking your own affirmations! Add music to the recordings, and set reminders to listen daily. ThinkUp suggests listening to the same set of affirmations on a loop for five minutes. What we say to ourselves has an enormous impact on our wellbeing, and making an effort to talk positively to yourself — and truly mean it — has been proven to help us lead a healthier life.
Cost: Free, but upgrade for more features for $7.99 per month.
While none of these apps should act as a replacement to receiving professional help if it’s needed, they can still be incredibly beneficial and make a positive difference on your mental health.