Five of the Fastest-Growing Mental Health Apps

From first-time meditation to instant-access therapy, Global Shakers has tracked some of the most successful apps working to improve wellbeing and mental health.

10.10.2019 | by Christy Romer
Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash
Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

If we’re going to be glued to our mobile phones all day, they may as well start doing our mental health some good.

Approximately one in four people in the UK are estimated to experience a mental health problem every year, according to the charity Mind. This also comes amid a recognition that people are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with such issues, with the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts increasing.

In recognition of the growing need for coherent mental health interventions—and while governments around the globe begin to invest in individual initiatives to support wellbeing—Global Shakers has compiled a list of accessible applications that are becoming increasingly important in our day-to-day lives.




Headspace image


Headspace is the no-frills wellbeing application that has convinced millions of people to give meditation a try.

Users are offered a selection of personalised meditation and mindfulness techniques for use during the day and sleep-inducing support in the evening. After just a few minutes’ use a day, the application promises a “healthier, happier, more well-rested life.”

The app was created by Andy Puddicombe, a man who lived for 10 years as a Buddhist monk in Asia and meditated for up to 16 hours a day. A BBC Mundo report reveals that his journey began after a series of tragedies in his personal life that happened in quick succession, yet taught him the importance of bringing happiness to others.

The application, funded via a monthly or annual subscription, has had more than 54 million downloads. The Times reports that its most recent valuation from 2017 was $320 million.




Calm app meditation


2017’s Apple app of the Year, Calm, aims to be the “mindfulness app for beginners” while equipped with guides and music intended to serve intermediate and advanced users.

A paid subscription gives access to hundreds of hours of guided meditation, exclusive music tracks, and over 100 before bed ‘sleep stories’ read by famous faces, including Stephen Fry and Matthew McConaughey.

Following an $88 million funding round in February 2019, Calm is now officially a ‘unicorn’—with a $1 billion valuation.

As a sign of its growth, Calm is partnering with XpresSpa at major US airports to get exclusive gifts for Calm users. The app is also being offered to teachers for free, leading to schools like Okmulgee in Oklahoma using the app to teach students how to meditate.




Talkspace image


As our digital and physical lives become increasingly indistinguishable– is chatting by Whatsapp still ‘talking’ to a friend?—a phenomenon of ‘telehealth’ is gaining in popularity, particularly as healthcare budgets continue to stagnate.

This comprises receiving medical advice and support remotely, without having to visit a healthcare professional.

Talkspace is one of the most successful apps to operate in the telehealth space. It a mobile-based therapy application that offer “therapy for all”—without stigma, without the need to travel to an office, and for much less money than the cost of a traditional therapist.

The app offers a subscription rate for unlimited messaging therapy, starting from $65 a week, with increased costs coming alongside an increased number of live sessions per month.

Talkspace has teamed up with well-known figures including champion swimmer Michael Phelps—the most successful ever Olympian—to explain the benefits of therapy and to encourage people to seek support “as soon as you feel you need help.” It also recently launched a package targeted directly at students.

The company recently raised $50 million in Series D funding.




Clue period tracker


Clue is a fertility app for period predictions, PMS symptom tracking, and ovulation and fertile day calculations. The app helps users track their period days, flow heaviness and menstrual product use; it can also be used as a birth control pill reminder or to help plan a pregnancy.

What’s important is how revolutionary the simple app has been for many women’s mental health. By tracking pain, moods and cervical fluid, users can define what is and is not normal for their body and remove anxieties about wanted or unwanted pregnancies.

The creators says they’ve made the only app that has high-level partnerships with research institutions to provide “the most accurate” cycle predictions.

Clue has had over 10 million installations on Android. According to the page on the Google Play store, it was rated the top free period tracker by New York Magazine, Cosmo and Refinery 29.

The app, while intended to be “accessible and affordable for all our users, no matter their budget,” also comes with a premium version. Clue Plus offers exclusive content, discounts, giveaways and an email report of cycle stats.

According to Crunchbase, Clue has raised $30 million to date in funding rounds.






Moodpath is a young, Berlin-based wellbeing app that is growing rapidly. Styled as a depression and anxiety test, it asks users whether they struggle with their thoughts and emotions and whether they’re looking for ways to improve their emotional wellbeing.

People are then given bi-weekly mental assessments, which they can use to track and reflect on their mood and “break from negative thoughts and overwhelming emotions.” The summaries can also be shared with therapists, physicians and psychiatrists.

In January, the app—just two years old—reached one million users. It also raised €2.7 million ($3.2 million) in funding.

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