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Mental Health

Best Apps for Improving Your Mental Health

Being a university student, you’re probably no stranger to stress. From seemingly endless assignments and exams to the pressures of navigating academics and your social life during a global pandemic, this past year has been one of the hardest ones yet. In recent times, we have seen the introduction of better student mental health resources, but also an increased number of students presenting with stress, anxiety, or depression. According to Psychology Today, the number of college students experiencing overwhelming anxiety or depression has more than doubled since 2008.


Smart phones can be extremely distracting and promote procrastination, persuading you to spend several hours mindlessly scrolling on TikTok or Instagram. But what if you used your device to help you be more mindful of your actions, your worries, and your habits? If you are in need of help with handling your stress, anxiety, or just want to be more productive, read on to learn about some of the best smartphone apps for making your days just a little easier: 


If you’re someone who has never tried meditation as a form of stress therapy or are an avid meditator, consider downloading Headspace. Headspace has meditation guides for every occasion, from helping you fall asleep faster to an “SOS” series for more intense psychological episodes. Headspace also has a collaboration program with Netflix called “Headspace Guide to Sleep,” teaching you how important sleep is and how mindfulness can help you be more rested.


Cost: 7 day trial and then $12.99/month or 14 day trial then $69.99/year (and currently 30% off!) 

Available on: Apple and Android



Another app for meditation and mindfulness, Calm was awarded Apple’s iPhone app of the year in 2017. Calm has something for everyone, from breathing exercises to adult bedtime stories, masterclasses on creativity and self-esteem to mindfulness for college students and relaxing music. They feature a daily meditation exercise and even have a new category for coping with stress related to COVID-19. 


Cost: 7 day trial and then $12.99/month or $69.99/year or $399.99 for life

Available on: Apple and Android



Fabulous was created at Duke University using behavioral science techniques that are said to work on professional athletes and business people. It was also chosen as one of Apple’s best self-care apps in 2018 and a finalist in the Google Play awards. This app helps break bad habits, teaches you how to build healthy ones, and shows you how to keep them. You can track your progress in setting goals and following a routine in the app with the help of daily coaching, and learn a new habit in 30 days. 


Cost: Premium plans ranging from $9.99/month to $34.99/year

Available on: Apple and Android 


Worry Watch  

If you’re someone who suffers from anxiety or OCD, consider purchasing Worry Watch. This app serves as a sort of “anxiety tracker,” where you can log what brought you stress and anxiety during the day and be mindful of your own feelings. The app is meant to help you learn your own anxiety triggers, can show you when your worries are unfounded, and teaches you better thinking patterns for next time.


Cost: One time purchase of $4.99

Available on: Apple



If you’re really serious about getting help with your mental health problems and are willing to put the work in, Sanvello is for you. This app has many different components, from self-care resources including breathing exercises and goal tracking to a peer community where you can connect with other Sanvello users. Plus, the app offers real, virtual coaching and therapy alongside live classes, all of which can also be covered under some insurance providers and employers. 


Cost: Covered by many health insurance providers or employers; free to use and a premium version for $8.99/month or $53.99/year or $199.99 for life.

Available on: Apple and Android


Mental health is a vital part of your overall health. Just like any other physical injury, mental health problems should be considered and treated seriously. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by anything in your life, consider using these apps or scheduling an appointment with the UW Counseling Center. If you are experiencing an emergency, call the UW Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.

Shima is a junior at UW currently residing in Mukilteo, WA. She is majoring in Microbiology and hopes to someday become a physician. She enjoys baking bread, watching Teen Wolf, and practicing Taekwondo in her free time.
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