Mental wellness apps incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy

Modern youth are changing the conversation around mental health in an effort to erase stigmas and make help more available to those who need it. The following mental wellness apps incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT—a technique that helps people challenge negative thoughts and behaviors—thereby providing access to this often exclusive and expensive form of therapy.


Researchers at King’s College London partnered with UK-based charity Autistica to launch a mental health app called Molehill Mountain, which uses CBT techniques that have been adapted to people with autism. The app is designed to help those who have autism understand their feelings and manage their anxiety. It lets users keep track of their emotions and behaviors through a game in which users capture their worries. Completion of the activity unlocks a tip about autism and anxiety that users can implement in their daily lives. With the knowledge that those with autism often receive inappropriate anxiety support, the app creators hope that Molehill Mountain will provide an accessible and effective solution.


London and San Francisco-based company Big Health is working on an app called Daylight that uses proven cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help users combat worry and anxiety. Daylight features activities that use narration and animation to move users through different CBT strategies known to help ease anxiety, such as “scheduled worry time,” “tense and release,” and “worry exposure.” By combining science and elements of entertainment in an app Big Health hopes to provide an accessible resource for those seeking to improve their mental health. The app is not yet available for download, but those interested in testing it out can apply to participate in Daylight’s sleep study.


What’s Up is a free mental health app that allows users to track their moods and behaviors, helping them gain a more holistic understanding of their emotions. The app features a diary where users can record their thoughts and rate their feelings on a scale of one to 10, as well as a positive and negative habit tracker that lets users set goals around good behaviors. What’s Up also provides activities that use CBT and ACT (acceptance commitment therapy) strategies to help people identify their negative thinking patterns and challenge unhelpful beliefs. And for those who want to connect with others who have similar feelings, the app has a community discussion forum.