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Feeling anxious right now? These therapy apps can help you manage your mental health

The coronavirus pandemic has us all a little scared. These apps can help you find therapy and other mental health resources—or just help you stay calm during the outbreak.

Feeling anxious right now? These therapy apps can help you manage your mental health
[Source images: Prostock-Studio/iStock; Phutcharapan Maneejindarat/iStock]

Perhaps you, like me, are feeling a bit of anxiety over the coronavirus outbreak. I spent the weekend repeatedly checking my temperature even though it remains a cool 97 degrees. Whether you are concerned about contracting COVID-19, having a hard time being alone, worried about your family, spiraling over the general state of the world, or you just need to talk to someone, there are lots of remote therapy apps that can help connect you with help.

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If you do not already have a therapist, here is a list of online services that may help you in moments of panic.

  • Talkspace is perhaps the most well-known text-based digital therapy company. The service can pair you with one of its online therapists and offers text-based communication, audio and video messaging, and live video sessions. Prices range from $65 per week to $99 per week depending on communication mode. Talkspace does take some forms of insurance. One thing to note: While video therapy has proven to be nearly comparable to in-person sessions, there are few high-quality studies that prove text-based therapy is as effective as in person. However, given the circumstances, you may find it worth a shot.
  • LARKR is a platform for live video counseling from trained therapists. It also has an app component where you can track your mood. Each session costs $85, and insurance is not currently accepted.
  • Brightside connects patients with online psychiatry and therapy. It starts with a free evaluation and then pairs you with the right professional depending on your needs and agreed-upon form of treatment. Psychiatry is $99 per month; therapy is $165 per month; a combined package of both is $240 per month. Brightside does not yet take insurance.
  • MDLive is most known for its online urgent care, but it also offers therapy. For $99 per session, you can videoconference with one of its therapists. The company accepts many forms of insurance.
  • Doctor on Demand is a broad online health platform that provides urgent care as well as behavioral health services. For $129 you can meet for 25 minutes with a therapist (it also has 55-minutes sessions for $179). There is no subscription, so you can pick up sessions as you need. The company accepts many forms of insurance.

If you’re employed, it’s a good idea to check with your human resources department to see what kind of mental health services they might offer in addition to traditional insurance. For instance, Uber and eBay connect their employees with a service called Lyra Health, which offers online cognitive behavioral therapy.

If you already have a therapist but can’t get to a session, there are tools you can use with them to bring your sessions online. Your therapist might be wary of getting on a FaceTime call—rightly so, since they need to ensure that whatever videoconferencing tool they use is HIPAA compliant and protects your privacy. Fear not—Zoom can be used for health sessions. Another choice is Doxy.me.

As overwhelming as the world can feel right now, you may not want to speak to an actual therapist. Sometimes, finding a way to relax can do the trick—and there are many apps that can help.

  • MoodKit is a cognitive behavioral therapy-based app that allows you to track your mood, activities, diet, thoughts, and social engagement.
  • Deep, conscious breathing in times like these is a simple way to find some zen, and a few simple apps can help you remember to do this. The Apple Watch has its signature breath function. On iPhone, there’s Breathe and the Breathing App. On Android, try out this Breathe app.
  • Headspace is a popular meditation app that offers guided meditations starting at $12.99 per month.
  • Calm is a nature-inspired competitor to Headspace that also provides guided meditation recordings for $12.99 per month.

I’ll also throw in my personal recommendation for those who like a little moment of reflection: Tara Brach’s guided meditations. She’s a PhD in clinical psychology who has written several books and taught many classes, and she hosts workshops on meditation and mindfulness.

For people who already suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and/or depression, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a list of apps it recommends. If you start to feel like you’re in crisis or are having suicidal thoughts, reach out to Crisis Text Line’s 24-7 hotline for immediate support. Stay well out there.

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Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that Brightside does not currently accept insurance, though it has plans to in the future. 

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About the author

Ruth Reader is a writer for Fast Company. She covers the intersection of health and technology.

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