How to Create a Mental Health App and Put Psychological Therapist Into Pocket

Published: April 28, 2021

32 min read

Last updated: December 29, 2023

Nowadays, many people tend to put career and wealth as their №1 priority and pay little attention to their mental health. However, the awareness of the population increases, thus, more people start using mental healthcare services.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a new wave of demand for mental healthcare services — up to 36% more people reported having negative impacts on their mental health and well-being in April 2020. The same factor made the mental healthcare industry move towards digitization to start providing services remotely.

However, here comes the question of how to digitize the services.

To develop a mental health app, you can add features for self help for anxiety, bipolar disorder, and online therapy with health professionals (*image by [Purrweb UI](https://dribbble.com/purrwebui){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

To develop a mental health app, you can add features for self help for anxiety, bipolar disorder, and online therapy with health professionals (image by Bogdan Nikitin)

With mobile users bringing the most traffic & dominating the market, many businesses choose to build a mental health app, including those focused on yoga application development, for their healthcare services. Thus, providers can:

  • Maintain a constant connection with their patients to understand their mental state a lot better.
  • Reduce the workload on therapists and psychiatrists.
  • Reach a wider audience.

So, if you want to create your own mental health app, modify your current solution, or simply learn more about mental health app development — welcome!

✅ Top Things Worth Attention When Developing a Mental Health App

In this section, we are going to give you some tips on how to “prepare the ground” for development and unlock the full potential of mental health applications.

Encouraging & Engaging

Mental health apps can really help specialists have more regular updates on their patients’ general well-being, the severity of symptoms, etc. They can help one to build a wider picture of patients’ mental states. Yet, it requires patients to actually use the app regularly, which can be quite a challenge sometimes.

Surely, patients understand that it’s for their own good, but this “motivation” isn’t always enough. So, to encourage people to use your app more often, you can add gamification features.

Mental health app development can increase user engagement and encourage people to self help for anxiety or any other mental illness (*image by [Kieron Keenan](https://dribbble.com/KieronKeenan){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health app development can increase user engagement and encourage people to self help for anxiety or any other mental illness
(image by Desire Creative Agency)

That can include:

  • Achievements & Rewards.
  • In-app currency/points that can be later exchanged for goods or merch.
  • Coupons.
  • A leaderboard.
  • Tiers.

Although gamification features can really help you improve user engagement, we would only recommend implementing such into apps that aren’t designed for people with mental issues only, e.g., meditation apps, self-improvement apps, etc.

Since the goal of medical mental health apps is to help patients overcome their disorders, it may not be safe for their mental state to be triggered by gamification features.

For example, people with anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, OCD, and other disorders, can become frustrated if they aren’t able to get a certain reward, reach a level, collect points, take high places on the leaderboard, etc.

To prevent this, you can either not use such features in the first place or think them out really well, so they don’t become harmful to users.

Workflow Automatization

A significant advantage of app development for healthcare, especially in mental health apps, is the automation of processes, reducing the workload on specialists and cutting costs. In other words, you are able to provide services to more people with the same amount of effort.

A mental health app development can help you automate parts of mental health services workflow like online therapy registration (*image by [Saikat Kumar](https://dribbble.com/Saikatkumar){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

A mental health app development can help you automate parts of mental health services workflow like online therapy registration (image by Saikat Kumar)

To be more specific, you can automate these parts of the workflow:

  • Registration of patients.
  • Booking of appointments.
  • Patients’ interviews before their appointments.
  • Processing of payments.
  • Daily symptom control.
  • Prescription clarification. If a patient forgets about what, when, or how to do, they can simply go on the app and double-check everything they need to.

Security & Regulations Compliance

When working in the mental health field online, such as in women health tracking app development, it’s essential to pay a lot of attention to data security.

There are quite a few features that you can use to enable high-level security.

If you want to create a mental health app for mood tracking, stress management, anxiety and depression, etc., be sure to make this mental health solution secure (*image by [Himanshu Phanda](https://dribbble.com/desiignerphanda){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

If you want to create a mental health app for mood tracking, stress management, anxiety and depression, etc., be sure to make this mental health solution secure (image by Himanshu Phanda)

That implies:

  • Multi-factor authentication (password, security token, biometric verification like fingerprints, face ID, voice recognition, one-time passcode, phone call verification, personal security questions).
  • End-to-end encryption — a form of encryption where nobody except for the sender and the recipient is able to read the messages sent. For a more detailed explanation, we’d recommend watching this informative video:
  • Device fingerprinting. This feature is intended to identify the device of a patient (that includes the operating system, screen size, IP address, location, time, language, etc.). In case certain indicators suddenly change, a user gets a notification.
  • Real-time fraud notifications.

Moreover, it’s important to educate users on what they should or shouldn’t do to prevent data leaks. In fact, awareness can be as helpful as the high level of security itself, in some cases.

Mental health app development requires high level of security since people with mental health disorders like post traumatic stress disorder, stress and anxiety, or any other mental illness are sensitive to privacy (*image by [Natalia Lebedeva](https://dribbble.com/Natalia_Lebedeva){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health app development requires high level of security since people with mental health disorders like post traumatic stress disorder, stress and anxiety, or any other mental illness are sensitive to privacy (image by Natalia Lebedeva)

Another important thing that should be done for security and legal purposes is regulatory compliance. Depending on where you come from or the citizens of what country use your app, you might need to comply with different regulations.

However, the most widely spread ones are GDPR, PIPEDA, and HIPAA compliances:

  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a key data & privacy EU law that applies not only to businesses registered in the EU but to ones that work with the EU citizens’ data as well.
  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). A federal law of the USA that contains national standards of any health-related data protection. HIPAA compliance is one of the crucial factors for almost any mental health app. What’s great about this law is that it has a pretty definite list of those who need to comply with it.
  • PIPEDA is a Canadian data privacy law that defines a relevant security framework for organizations.

We have an informative guide on how to make sure that your product complies with these regulations:

  • How to define if you need to comply with it.
  • The consequences of violating these regulations.
  • All details regarding each regulation separately.

Read Also

How to Make Sure Your App or Website is HIPAA, PIPEDA & GDPR Compliant

⚙️ Common Features for Mental Health Apps

In this section on common features for mental health apps, we will explore how to build a mental health app by reviewing key features.

# 1: Sign Up & Profiles 🔐

Normally, we recommend making the sign-up process as fast as possible, so as not to repel new users. However, for mental health apps, it’s something rather necessary, since user policies for such apps are more strict. At the very beginning, it will most likely be enough for you to ask for full name, phone number, and/or email.

Mental health apps should find a balance between security of mental health mobile app and the easiness of the sign-up for users (*image by [Square Studio](https://dribbble.com/SquareStudio){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health apps should find a balance between security of mental health mobile app and the easiness of the sign-up for users (image by Square Studio)

Later on, you might need to ask for more detailed information to fully form a medical profile of each patient. As for detailed yet general info, you can ask for a photo and age. Also, nowadays it’s quite important to ask for sex/gender and pronouns. Since the mental health of a modern person highly depends on how they define themselves in society, it’s important that they feel respected and comfortable when using your app.

Mental health apps should have informative users’ profiles with health data (*image by [Filip Justić](https://dribbble.com/filipjustic){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health apps should have informative users’ profiles with health data (image by Filip Justić)

Surely, you should ask for mental health details — disorders, chronic illnesses, allergies, intolerances, and so on. Depending on the type of your app, you might need to ask some additional questions.

Moreover, you should offer to attach all tests to their profile (like blood or alcohol tests, reports from sessions with specialists, etc.). For this purpose, you might additionally need a file uploading feature.

# 2: Well-Being Check-Ups 📑

To systematically monitor patients' mental health and align with principles such as acceptance commitment therapy (ACT), consider incorporating daily check-ups with general questions into your app designed to develop an app to track mental health.

Mental health apps should have mental health check-ups for users to have more efficient therapy sessions (*image by [Rahadian Maulana](https://dribbble.com/rahadianmaulana){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health apps should have mental health check-ups for users to have more efficient therapy sessions (image by Rahadian Maulana)

You can ask about their current mood and any concerns like a psychosomatic form of the issue or pains. Also, you could allow them to add customized questions to such check-ups. Moreover, you can add questions specifically for each disorder or goal, and the relevant symptoms.

Additionally, think about enabling a bar for notes in addition to each question to cover the information that isn’t in the questions themselves. There should be a section for leaving comments at the end of the check-up as well.

So that everything is practically and medically useful, think about allowing to store each check-up to track the dynamics and changes in a patient’s well-being.

# 3: Thought Diary 📘

It’s essential for people with any mental issues to be able to express all of their thoughts. With an app, such a “throw-out” of emotions and concerns can be enabled by adding a diary section.

A mental health mobile app should have a thought diary feature for users to splash out emotions and thoughts (*image by [Andrea Eppy](https://dribbble.com/andreaeppy){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

A mental health mobile app should have a thought diary feature for users to splash out emotions and thoughts (image by Andrea Eppy)

First of all, it should have a regular typing feature (like in Notes). However, since mental conditions are directly connected to emotions, it’s not always possible for a patient to express what they feel with words (especially, if it’s a kid).

Thus, we’d recommend allowing users to draw, use different colors, geometric figures, and so on. You may even add audio messages for those patients who prefer speaking over writing.

Also, think about giving suggestions on what to write about to spark thoughts and maybe give certain directions as well. Finally, if needed, users should be able to share their notes with a doctor right in the app or via another platform.

# 4: Chat & Video Sessions with Specialists 📷

To get the maximum efficacy of your mental health app and provide a better user experience with it, consider offering video appointments with therapists, psychotherapists, and other mental health specialists.

Mental health app development should take users’ need to communicate with a mental health professional (*image by [Amit Pathania](https://dribbble.com/amitpathania){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health app development should take users’ need to communicate with a mental health professional (image by Amit Pathania)

Apart from the basic functionality that this feature implies, you might need:

  • Screen recording, so patients & specialists are able to rewatch their sessions.
  • Chats with doctors, so they can contact each other anytime after sessions. Additionally, a chat should be accessible in real time during sessions.
  • File sharing (examination results, for example).
  • Paintbrush functionality with different colors for mental activities, etc.

# 5: On-Demand Video/Audio Content 📷

It can be a great idea to offer on-demand videos or audios for situations when there’s no need to have an appointment with a specialist or call for urgent mental help, yet, a patient still can’t cope with it on their own.

During mental health app development, consider that you might want to add on-demand content (*image by [Sertan Helvacı](https://dribbble.com/sertan){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

During mental health app development, consider that you might want to add on-demand content (image by Sertan Helvacı)

For example, you can add therapeutic videos/audio recordings for anxiety cases, for instance. Another use case can be if a patient is having a panic attack, people who are currently near them or the patient themselves (if they’re able to) can play a recording with instructions on how to cope.

Such can also include recordings for:

  • Grounding.
  • Relaxing & stress-release.
  • Mitigating symptoms or preventing exacerbation stages (depends on the type of your app).
  • Daily positive affirmations to set the mood for the day & others.

# 6: Urgent Mental Help 📛

To be there for your patients when they need urgent help, you can add a set of emergency support features. For example, such may include:

  • Access to quick emergency messages or calls (like 112 or 911).
  • Calling someone from a pre-saved list of close people — like a spouse, parents, or friends.
  • A live chat or call to a support line of your service.
Mental health solutions should have 24/7 mental support for users to be able to get a therapy in emergencies (*image by [Carolina Ferreira](https://dribbble.com/cfcarolina){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health app development solutions should have 24/7 mental support for users to be able to get a therapy in emergencies (image by Carolina Ferreira)

Apart from urgent care, it might be a good idea to offer some general contact information for regular cases like your mental help service phone number, email, physical address (if there is such), links to social media, etc.

# 7: Meditation & Other Mental Activities 🧘

In-app meditations may help patients control their feelings better, understand the true reasons why they appear in the first place, and have a more aware lifestyle. With an app, meditations can be much more customizable and personalized. For example, you can make each meditation accessible in various durations - 3, 5, or 10 minutes.

Another way to provide a better user experience is to tag each meditation correspondingly, let’s say “For Anxiety,” “For Stress,” “For Grounding,” “For Motivation,” etc. This way, users can easily find desired meditation without having to scroll through big meditation lists.

In mental health solutions, meditations can be a great addition to therapy sessions (*image by [QClay](https://dribbble.com/qclay){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Meditations can be a great addition to therapy sessions when you develop a mobile mental health solution. (image by QClay)

Additionally, it’ll be great if you make recommendations to users based on what they usually watch. This can be enabled with the help of simple analytical AI.

Apart from meditations, there are a bunch of different activities you can add to your app:

  • Breathing exercises.
  • Stretching & yoga.
  • Impersonalization exercises like tree planting & others.

# 8: Forums & Group Chats 💬

With an app, it’s really easy to create an “I am not alone” feeling, which is really important for people struggling mentally. One of the best ways to enable such is by allowing your users to communicate with each other on special forums and in group chats.

For this place to be safe, you can add a Bad Word Filter feature so there will be no bullying, provocative phrases, swear words, etc. To enable it, you can use such APIs as Content Moderator from Microsoft Azure, Perspective, etc.

You can also allow users to be anonymous on these forums since some people may need this kind of support but don’t feel comfortable with others finding out about their personality and condition.

Furthermore, you can implement audio chats like in the Clubhouse app. We talk about that more in our article dedicated to enabling audio chatting functionality in your app if you’d like to learn more about it:

Read Also

How to Build a Voice Chat App like Clubhouse

# 9: Push-Notifications 📳

To remind patients about certain activities, daily tasks, journaling, and so on, you can enable push notifications. Moreover, it’s reasonable to send motivational and encouraging notifications to remind people how strong and capable they are.

Self-esteem and being grateful for the progress one is making is highly important for mental health. So, you can help your users realize that with the help of push notifications.

Push-notifications are an important part of mental health mobile apps (*image by [[Markus Gavrilov](https://dribbble.com/markusgavrilov){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Push-notifications are an important part of mental health mobile apps (image by [Markus Gavrilov)

Even though the end goal of such apps is to help people, we shouldn’t forget about the business part. You can use push notifications to offer personalized offers, which can allow you to increase sales.

# 10: Third-Party Integrations 🤖

If you want to measure certain physical indicators like heart rate, daily activities (steps, running) and put that into users’ medical profiles, you can offer them to connect their BLE devices with your app.

To enable such, you’ll need an API like HealthKit from Apple, which includes transferring data from fitness apps and devices.

At Stormotion, we’ve enabled data transactions from cadence and heart rate sensors right into the Platoon Fit app, a fitness project putting a special emphasis on health monitoring gadgets.

Many mental health services opt for mobile apps since they offer a wide-variety of third party integrations (*image by [Dmitry Lauretsky](https://dribbble.com/dlauretsky){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Many mental health services opt for mobile apps since they offer a wide-variety of third party integrations (image by Dmitry Lauretsky)

Additionally, there’s a bunch of other tools and technologies that you can use for your mental health app:

👨‍⚕️ Types of Mental Healthcare App

The mental health industry is quite diverse. There is a wide range of apps that target different people with various issues and disorders.

In this section, we’ll cover the most widespread types of mental health apps, which are for:

  • Anxiety, Depression & Mood Control
  • Mental Disorders
  • Addiction Recovery
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self-Development
  • Meditation & Mindfulness

If you see the type that suits your use case the most, feel free to click on the link to start reading that exact piece.

Keep in mind that these are only the most typical cases. If your use case isn’t on the list or you can’t really categorize it, feel free to drop us a line — we’ll help you!

Anxiety, Depression & Mood Control

Anxiety, depression, and mood swings are some of the most common mental health issues of an individual who lives in a capitalistic society — approximately 301 million people, or about 4% of the world's population, suffer from an anxiety disorder. And in 2023, 32.3% of US adults reported symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Let’s take a look at how you can use an app to help patients cope with such mental issues.

# 1: Assessment Tests

Confronting crowded spaces and public speaking often act as anxiety triggers for individuals with social anxiety. Even though these conditions need to be clinically diagnosed, it’s possible to determine whether or not an individual has symptoms of such with help of assessment tests.

A mental health app for any mental illness like stress and anxiety can have self monitoring features like a mood tracker (*image by [Amgad Okail](https://dribbble.com/AmgadOkail){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Creating a mental health app for any mental illness like stress, and anxiety can have self-monitoring features like a mood tracker (image by Amgad Okail)

You can offer users to take assessment tests on a regular basis to understand their current mental state. It’s pretty easy to do with a custom app since you won’t be limited in the number of questions and methods of assessment that you can have in your app.

That can be:

  • Short video calls with specialists to catch up on patients’ well-being face-to-face.
  • Self-assessment features like questionnaires, journaling.
  • Tools to get grounded (like meditations, anger management) to better understand the initial feeling.

# 2: Suicide Prevention

Depending on the severity of these conditions, they can provoke suicidal thoughts. With an app, there’s quite a lot that you can do to help people overcome them:

  • Distracting tools, audio/video recordings to drag one’s attention from self-destructive thoughts.
  • An emergency line for consultancy & ambulance.
  • Guidelines for preventive care.
  • Tests for suicide tendencies. Such an in-app questionnaire can include previous suicide attempts, family history of suicide, abuse, or other mental disorders, drug/alcohol abuse, experienced traumatic events, and other health conditions.
A mental health app can be a help for anxiety management and have traditional therapy methods to help people with self monitoring (*image by [Bradley Gabr-Ryn](https://dribbble.com/bgabrryn){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

A mental health app can be a help for anxiety management and have traditional mental health therapy methods to help people with self monitoring.
(image by Bradley Gabr-Ryn)

Sometimes, a person suffering from such thoughts can be unaware of how to behave, which is why it’s highly important to educate friends and relatives on how they can help.

You can add educational guides, hold lectures and webinars on this topic, etc.

Examples of Anxiety, Depression & Mood Control Apps

Let’s take a look at some existing solutions in this field:

  • Anxiety Release. Apart from anxiety coping tools, the app helps increase awareness and understand how our brain works with different educational video and audio content.
  • Dare. Additionally, the app helps to deal with panic attacks and offers recovery challenges.
  • Moodpath: Depression & Anxiety. This app additionally increases its users' awareness & helps them take care of their general well-being.
  • Sanvello. The app combines 4 methods of coping - self-care, peer support, coaching, and therapy.
  • TalkLife. The app is known for its community where everybody is free to share their experience and get support from other patients.

Addiction Recovery

Apps can be a great addition to clinical treatment or self-control of addictions. Along with the common features for mental health apps, you might want to add some specialized ones to address your target audience better.

# 1: Progress Tracking & Encouraging

Since fighting addictions is a tough process both physically and mentally, it’s essential for people to visualize the progress.

Mental health app developers in the field of mental disorder like addiction add traditional therapy methods as well to help users control their mood and well-being (*shots from [BMJ Open](https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/3/e025823){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health app developers in the field of addiction recovery mental health apps add features to help users visualize the progress.
(image by Zakaria)

So, you can enable such tracking in several ways:

  • Progress bar. You can offer users or their therapists to set goals, for example, “Not to drink alcohol for a month.” And then, a patient can see the bar getting closer and closer to 100% every day.
  • Day counter. It might be a good idea to place such a feature on the main screen, so patients can track their progress every day. Additionally, it might serve as a stimulator that will help not to give up halfway through.
  • Daily reports. Some people might feel more motivated knowing that at the end of the day, they’ll have to fill out a report on how their recovery process is going.

Surely, you can combine these features for higher efficiency.

Moreover, with an app, it’s easier to encourage and motivate people to keep going. For example, you can send motivational notifications like “You’re doing great!”, “We really appreciate your effort!”, “You have such a strong will, don’t give up!” to support users on their journey.

Alternatively, you can implement gamification elements and features and give users special avatars, tiers, or rewards for reaching a goal — such bonuses can play a significant role in keeping them determined.

# 2: Relapse Prevention Tools

Apps have a lot to offer in terms of relapse prevention for people with addictions.

Mental health app developers in the field of addiction recovery mental health apps add features to help users visualize the progress (*image by [I Am Sober App](https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fapps.apple.com%2Fua%2Fapp%2Fi-am-sober%2Fid672904239&psig=AOvVaw2GQx7QeesNP7wqnYVR-57E&ust=1619246498717000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAMQjB1qFwoTCMCY9rXhk_ACFQAAAAAdAAAAABAp){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health app developers in the field of mental disorder like addiction add cognitive behavior therapy methods as well to help users control their mood and well-being.
(shots from AlexP)

First of all, you can add a lot of educational materials since awareness can really help in this situation. It’s important for “ex-addicts” to understand that it’s their nervous system, previous behavioral patterns, and hormones trying to trick them into relapse. With an app, it’s easier to deliver this information, which can help them to resist temptation.

To add a more reliable means of control, you can offer to upload clinical tests (like drug or alcohol blood testing) to the app, so specialists can access it as well. When there’s a certain form of accountability, addicts are less likely to experience a relapse, and doctors can react immediately.

Examples of Addiction Recovery Apps

Let’s take a look at some real-world examples of such apps:

  • Pear reSET. They have a strong scientific background, authorized by FDA to improve disease outcomes and provide cognitive behavioral therapy, as an adjunct to a contingency management system.
  • Sober Grid. This app is considered the world's largest “sober community” with 24/7 live coaching.
  • NowWhat. They’re focused on supporting people when they’re recovering from addiction.

Mental Disorders

Digital psychological products can help people with mental disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and others. For best practices, mobile apps can work as a tool for symptom mitigation, self-care (to the extent that’s possible in such cases), early detection of exacerbation stages, etc.

Here are some features that will work well for such purposes.

# 1: Journaling

Since patients carry their mobile devices with them most of the time throughout the day, it might be a good idea to add journaling to the app.

A mental health app for mental health issues like obsessive compulsive disorder or post traumatic stress disorder should have journaling feature (*image by [Svitlana Bilan](https://dribbble.com/svitlana_bilan){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

A mental health app for mental health issues like obsessive compulsive disorder or post traumatic stress disorder should have journaling feature (image by Svitlana Bilan)

Even though journaling might be useful for many types of mental health apps, the ones that target people with such disorders would benefit most from it.

For instance, without an app, it’s pretty hard to track how one’s mental well-being changes during the day and how one feels.

However, a psychiatrist can “prescribe” journaling at least 3 times a day or whenever a person feels like it. If a writing style, general mood of the text changes, or a person manages to precisely explain how they feel, what happened, and so on, a specialist can tell that something is off.

It can help a doctor to determine regularities & connections, see what and how actions or people impact a patient’s mental state and track the dynamics of the issue for treatment improvement.

Additionally, you can include regular mood questionnaires with customized questions for each user.

Examples of Mental Disorders Apps

Since the range of mental disorders is quite wide, we’ve decided to give a couple of apps for the most known disorders:

Most of these apps focus on tracking patients’ mood and mental wellbeing in as much detail as possible. Thus, they work as a rather supportive method to the main medical treatment.

Eating Disorder

Treating eating disorders is really specific since it directly affects physical health yet needs to be treated as a mental condition as well.

So, let’s review what features can be added to such eating disorder apps.

# 1: Calorie Tracking & Recipes

For healthy and balanced eating habits, it’s important to track calories, so a patient doesn’t eat too quickly, overeat or eat too little.

A mental health app for this purpose should help users balance their eating habits (*image by [Jeehom](https://dribbble.com/Jihoooong){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

A mental health app for this purpose should help users balance their eating bad habits (image by Jeehom)

You can automate this process as much as possible by using an API like CalorieKing so users can choose ingredients (dishes, separate products, etc.), specify the weight of whatever they’re eating, and the tracker will automatically count calories and split up the dish into nutrients.

Additionally, it might be a great idea to offer various lists with recipes. You can include such for different categories of patients: without special demands regarding the ingredients, with diabetes, different allergies, lactose intolerance, low & high calories, and many others.

In fact, we have an article dedicated just to Nutrition & Diet apps if you’d like to check it out:

Read Also

Diet & Nutrition App Development

# 2: Meal Planner

Another essential feature for eating disorder apps is meal planner.

A mental health app for such mental health problems should help users deal with anxiety (*image by [simantOo](https://dribbble.com/simantoo){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

A mental health app for such mental health problems should help users deal with anxiety (image by simantOo)

The functionality of such an app should include:

  • Customizable meals.
  • Menus with detailed description of each dish.
  • Recipe planning.
  • Notes and daily reminders.
  • Calendar & others.

It might be a good idea to allow doctors to access this planner to control the process & maybe even manage it, change calories, add dishes, etc.

Examples of Eating Disorder Apps

Here are some real-life examples of such apps:

  • Recovery Record. The app has great personalization features.
  • Rise Up. The app has a lot of educational content and pays a lot of attention to users’ emotions.
  • Brigher Bite. All methods of coping are scientifically based, which is a great indicator of quality and efficiency.
  • Plan to Eat. This app follows its users on each step of their recovery — from groceries to a multi-platform meal calendar that can be integrated with other calendar software.

Self-Development

The self-improvement app market is really diverse — there are apps for increasing patience, concentration, attention problems, building self-confidence, overcoming fears, and many others.

Let’s take a look at how exactly such an app can help you provide better services for your target audience.

# 1: Coaching Sessions

Since it might be hard for some people to improve their personalities by themselves, it might be a good idea to offer coaching sessions with mentors and therapists.

A mental health app for self-improvement can also have services of mental health practitioners or features for anxiety control as well (*image by [Purrweb UI](https://dribbble.com/purrwebui){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

A mental health app for self-improvement can also have services of mental health practitioners or features for anxiety control as well (image by Purrweb UI)

That can include:

  • Live coaching sessions.
  • Pre-recorded courses with step-by-step video guides.
  • Learning material & useful links (articles, YouTube Channels, etc.).
  • Goal setting.

We have a whole article dedicated to coaching app development, so you can check it out if you’re interested.

Read Also

How to Make a Mobile Coaching App

# 2: Habits Tracker

For people to have a more systematic approach to using self-development apps, it might be a good idea to add a habits tracker into your app.

A mental health app for self-improvement can have therapy for mental health disorders prevention (*image by [Amjad ✌️](https://dribbble.com/uiamjad){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

A mental health app for self-improvement can have therapy for mental health disorders prevention (image by Amjad ✌️)

You can offer pre-made goals after asking individuals to fill out questionnaires regarding their goals to set them with a coach or therapist after the session, and to fully customize their daily/weekly/monthly to-do lists.

Many habits tracking apps have a calendar for better progress visualization. You can mark different results with a different color, for example:

  • 0-25% of the goal — red.
  • 26-50% — orange.
  • 51-75% — yellow.
  • 76-100% — green.

# 3: Workouts

Personal growth apps often include workouts & exercise plans since many people have that as their goals.


General mental health apps can offer features for mental health disorders prevention (*image by [Arya Wijaya Kusuma](https://dribbble.com/aweka){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

General mental health apps can offer features for mental health disorders prevention (image by Arya Wijaya Kusuma)

You can include workouts:

  • For different groups of muscles.
  • Of different lengths.
  • For people with different health issues (like back/knee pain, problems with the spine, etc.).
  • Of various intensity & others.

Examples of Self-Development Apps

There are quite a lot of such apps on the market:

Meditation & Mindfulness

As many people become more aware of their “inner self”, more and more of them try to meditate to reduce stress, get grounded, understand their feelings better, and just spend a couple of minutes in silence.

We’re not going to get into detail here, since we have a whole article dedicated to developing such apps:

Read Also

How to Make a Meditation App like Headspace

Examples of Meditation & Mindfulness Apps

Let’s take some of the existing solutions as an example:

  • Calm. The app offers a wide variety of content — apart from meditations, there are breathing exercises, sleep stories, music, as well as remixes of famous artists and songs for sleep improvement, focus, and so on.
  • Headspace. This app pays a lot of attention to educating users and does it with help of video content & celebrities.
  • Insight Timer. They have a great deal of free content — more than 90,000 types of meditations are accessible at no cost.
  • Buddhify. What’s special about this app is that they’ve adapted it to a modern busy lifestyle and have meditations that can be done on the go or while doing something else.

We’ve covered a case study on our blog, dedicated to the first 3 apps on the list if you’d like to get some tips on how to improve your current or future meditation & mindfulness product:

Read Also

Top 3 Meditation Apps: Tips, Tricks & Fails to Avoid

To sum up, we’d like to point out that even though some features might be more suitable for certain types of apps, each case is unique, thus, any combination of features is possible.

🌟 Our Expertise: Feel Amazing

We at Stormotion developed an app for Ailsa’s Frank project Feel Amazing. She’s a British motivational keynote speaker and hypnotherapist.

This project is intended to help people become a better version of themselves by providing courses on various topics like fighting fears, building confidence, taking control over addictions, improving communication skills, and so on.

Since the app covers some sensitive topics like addictions (alcohol, binge drinking (separate courses for men and women), smoking, taking cocaine, etc.), we’ve enabled the Child Lock feature.

Feel amazing-like mental health apps offer a wide range of therapy session options that meet the needs of most users (*image by [Stormotion](https://stormotion.io/product/be-amazing/){ target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Feel amazing-like mental health apps offer a wide range of therapy session options that meet the needs of most users (image by Stormotion)

Our mental health app development company made an app with a new concept, compared it to their previous solutions, and modified the content distribution system for the Feel Amazing project. Previously, users were getting their courses via email with a Dropbox link. Now, all courses are accessible and purchasable in the app itself.

If you’d like to find out more about this specific project, please follow the link to this case study on our website:

Read Also

Feel Amazing: Case Study

📊 Dashboard for Specialists

There are two ways of how you can develop a dashboard for specialists:

  • You create a separate solution for doctors.
  • You build two versions of an app and when signing up, a user can choose if they’re a doctor or a patient.

Surely, the therapist app development process will be different for the two options, however, all features are applicable to either.

In this section, we’ll cover what features you might need to add to your app for specialists.

# 1: Doctor Profile

To make it easier for users to choose specialists and for doctors to work with patients that meet their competencies, you can add doctor profiles.

A mental health tracker app shoud allow doctors to create a profile with the information about them (*image by [Shafiqul Islam 🌱](https://dribbble.com/kitket1212){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

A mental health tracker app shoud allow doctors to create a detailed profile with the information about them (image by Shafiqul Islam 🌱)

That can include:

  • Name.
  • Photo.
  • Specialization.
  • Contact details.
  • Rating & reviews.
  • Price (per hour, for example).
  • Available hours for appointments & others.

# 2: Patient Profile

To be able to fully manage a patient’s treatment process, doctors will most likely need an extended patient profile with their medical history, current diagnosis, prescriptions, test results, and so on.

Mental health mobile application for doctors should allow access to users’ profiles (*image by [Riko Sapto Dimo](https://dribbble.com/RikoSapto){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mental health mobile application for doctors should allow access to users’ profiles (image by Riko Sapto Dimo)

We’d recommend making 3 lists of patients:

  • New ones (haven’t had their first appointment yet, for example).
  • Current ones.
  • “Closed” ones (stopped working with them as of now).

It’s a good idea to make these lists customizable, so each specialist can manage them according to their cases/preferences. You might as well consider allowing them to create an unlimited number of patient lists.

# 3: Schedule

For doctors to manage their workload and timetable conveniently, you can add a scheduling tool into your app.

To create an app for psychiatrists or simply mental health applications, you can add schedule for doctors (*image by [Shahriar Ahmed](https://dribbble.com/5H4HRi4R){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

To create an app for psychiatrists or simply mental health applications, you can add schedule for doctors (image by Shahriar Ahmed)

One of the most widespread ways to enable this feature is by integrating a functional calendar with features to manage appointments, leave notes, and so on.

Additionally, you can integrate this feature with 3rd-Party Platforms that are already a part of your processes. For example, you may automatically transfer data of new users to a CRM you use or link a video call in Google Meets or Zoom.

We have an article dedicated to online booking tool development, where we explain all the development aspects in detail:

Read Also

How to Create an Online Booking System for Your App or Site

# 4: Chat

Technically, the feature is the same as it is for patients, however, doctors might need a more extended and structured version of it since they’ll have many chats active simultaneously.

Mobile therapist app development should include adding the chatting feature (*image by [Mahmudul Hasan Manik](https://dribbble.com/mhmanik02){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

Mobile therapist app development should include adding the chatting feature (image by Mahmudul Hasan Manik)

As with patient profiles, chats can be separated into several screens — new, current, not active.

It’s reasonable to allow patients & doctors to share files like lab results, documents, photos, etc. with each other within the app. For a more convenient user experience, you can integrate the chat with users’ cameras so they can make photos/videos directly in the app.

Furthermore, many healthcare apps use a chatbot that asks users about their symptoms and concerns so doctors can dedicate more time to understanding the problem deeper.

Additionally, you might add a bar for notes, so doctors can mark important information during calls. Then, these notes can be transferred to patients’ profiles (on the doctor’s version of the app).

# 5: Analytics

It’s also important to provide specialists with different accurate metrics to manage, track, and optimize various aspects of their services.

To make a mental health tracker, consider adding analytics (*image by [Bagus Fikri](https://dribbble.com/bagus_fikri){ rel="nofollow" target="_blank" .default-md}*)

To make a mental health tracker, consider adding analytics tools (image by Bagus Fikri)

It can include:

  • The daily/weekly/monthly number of patients.
  • The total number of patients.
  • New patients (requests).
  • The total revenue (or the total over a certain period of time).
  • The revenue from each individual therapy.
  • Satisfaction rate & others.

🤓 Mental Health App Development Steps

In this section, we will give you 8 basic steps on how to create a mental health app.

Formulating a Unique Concept

Start a mental health app by creating a unique idea for your app. Define your target audience, customer age group, compile and analyze a list of competitors. Answer the key question: "How will my product differ from existing ones?". Sketch out your brand's business strategy with all its details.

Building a Qualified Development Team

To create a mental health app, you'll need to hire a team of experienced mental health app developers, project managers, UI/UX designers, and quality control specialists. If you don't have such experts on your team, consider outsourcing to a company that offers all mental health app development services.

List of Features and Rapid Prototyping

Work with the development team to identify potential basic functions of your application and start developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This process allows you to test the app design and functionality without extensive coding, saving time and money. Involve mental health app developers to assess the technical feasibility of the project. As an alternative for initial app testing, consider using a no-code approach with standard interface elements.

How to develop a mental health app

Exploring the intricacies of user engagement, data security, and effective mental health interventions is essential when considering how to develop a mental health app that truly addresses the diverse needs of users.
(image by Wahyu Pratama)

Application Development Process

Once the MVP version is ready and fully compliant with all your requirements, move into full-scale depression app development. Pay special attention to writing code that adheres to security standards and usability. Focus on:

  • Compliance with HIPAA rules for patient data protection.
  • Integration of third-party SDKs for medical audio and video calls for telemedicine capabilities.
  • Utilization of ready-to-use libraries for functions like bio authentication, scheduling, and chat.

Testing

Thoroughly test the application before launch to ensure its functionality and performance on various devices. This includes:

  • Module testing to check individual components.
  • Performance testing to ensure stability and scalability.
  • Functional testing to verify the application meets requirements.
  • Stress testing to evaluate application performance in extreme conditions.

Marketing Strategy

Advertise your app. Utilize social media advertising, external promotions (such as advertising banners), and explore the option of placing advertisements in locations frequented by your target audience. Concentrate on increasing brand recognition and informing potential users about the benefits and advanced features of the application.

Application Launch

After testing and marketing, release your application on suitable platforms including iOS and Android. If the application is hybrid-compatible, release it on both platforms simultaneously.

Updates and Maintenance

Launching the application is not the end. After the launch, monitor application performance, user engagement, and feedback. Regularly update and improve the application's functionality in order to retain existing customers and attract new ones.

💰 What Affects Mental Health App Development Costs

Even a more or less accurate calculation of the costs is quite a challenge since first of all, each case is unique, and second of all, you never know what unexpected costs can pop up during the process.

However, it can be helpful to take certain aspects of the development that directly influence the costs and app development time into account, which are:

  1. Number & complexity of features.
  2. The technology of development.
  3. 3rd-party integrations (if you want or need any).
  4. The hourly rate of your development team.

We tried to roughly estimate what the costs might look like when you're wondering how to make a mental health app:

Mental Health App Features and Development Stage Estimated in Hours
Using React Native

⚙️ Feature

⏳ Min Hours

⏱ Max Hours

🌍 Project Discovery

50

90

🎨 UX/UI design

30

55

👤 Profile Management Flow

14

22

📑 Well-Being Check-Ups

54

68

📝 Journaling Flow

78

102

💬 Chatting Flow

78

98

🎥 Video Sessions

75

95

🔊 On-Demand Video/Audio Content

50

70

🧘 Mental Activities Flow

45

65

🔔 Push-Notifications

22

34

🩺 Assesment Tests

34

68

👐 Suicide Prevention

34

70

📊 Progress Tracking

54

66

😌 Relapse Prevention

34

62

🍏 Nutrition Flow

54

68

🏃 Habits Tracker

70

80

🏋️ Excercise

65

85

🌐Social Networking Elements/Community features

10

40

💻CMS (Content Management System) Development

110

140

🤓QA and Testing

78

112

📱Release

10

16

🕔 Total hours

1049

1506

💵 Approximate costs

$52.450

$75.300

💡 Takeaways

Although mental health apps can significantly ease the process of treatment and make it more convenient, such conditions require a comprehensive medical approach.

That's why we recommend using the app rather as a complementary part of the whole treatment that helps to keep in touch with patients, have regular updates on their mental state, reduce the workload by automating certain parts of the workflow, etc.

Don’t forget about the security of your app. For mental health apps, it’s not only important to actually provide security, but also to let users know that they’re safe.

If you need any help with mental health app development or have any questions left, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you on your journey to improving people’s mental state!

Contact Us!

Questions you may have

Take a look at how we solve challenges to meet project requirements

Can you develop tools for grounding and managing anxiety within the app?

Certainly! Stormotion has extensive experience in developing mental health applications, including those for grounding and managing anxiety. Visit our portfolio to learn more about this!

How do you handle emergency mental health support for users in crisis?

As a company, we specialize in developing mobile and web applications, leveraging technologies like React, React Native, and Node.js. We provide services in custom mental health app development (for web or mobile) and are equipped to integrate various functionalities for urgent mental health anonymous emotional support. Generally, the following approaches are used to create a psychological therapy app:

  • Crisis Hotline Integration: Apps may include direct links or contact information for crisis hotlines, allowing users to quickly reach professional help in an emergency.
  • Automated Alerts: Some apps have features that detect phrases or patterns indicating a crisis and automatically suggest emergency resources or notify a pre-selected contact.
  • Guided Support: Providing in-app guidance for users experiencing a crisis, including steps to calm down, breathing exercises, or immediate actions to ensure safety.
  • Professional Assistance: Integration with professional mental health services where users can connect with therapists or counselors for urgent support.
  • Educational Resources: Offering information about coping mechanisms, recognizing signs of a mental health crisis, and how to seek help.

What strategies do you use to make mental health apps user-friendly and engaging?

​​To create a mental health app that is user-friendly and engaging, we combine several approaches:

  • Simple and intuitive design
  • Personalization
  • Clear goal setting
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Educational content
  • Interactive features
  • Community and social features
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
  • Regular updates and new content
  • Feedback mechanism
  • Accessibility
  • Multi-platform accessibility
  • Onboarding process
  • Collaboration with mental health professionals

Are you able to provide solutions for both general mental well-being apps and those targeting specific mental health disorders?

Here's a brief overview:

  1. General Mental Well-being Apps
  • These apps are designed for a broad audience to promote overall mental health and well-being. They often include features like meditation guides, stress management tools, mental health tracking, and educational resources about mental health.
  • Examples include Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer, which offer guided meditations, sleep aids, and mindfulness exercises.
  1. Apps Targeting Specific Mental Health Disorders
  • These apps are tailored to assist individuals with specific mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and others.
  • They may offer symptom tracking, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, peer support, and in some cases, direct access to therapists or psychiatric audio or video consultations.
  • Examples include Talkspace and BetterHelp for digital therapy sessions, Moodfit or MoodMission for depression and anxiety, and PTSD Coach for post-traumatic stress disorder.

What platforms (iOS, Android) and technologies do you recommend for developing a mental health app?

We have expertise in developing mobile applications using React Native, which is a popular framework for building cross-platform apps. This means that we can create apps that work on both iOS and Android platforms. For a mental health/psychological therapy app development, here are our recommended platforms and technologies with their advantages:

Platforms:

  • iOS and Android: To achieve maximum outreach, it is imperative to develop a mental health app for both iOS and Android platforms. React Native, as used by Stormotion, is an excellent choice for this purpose.

Technologies:

  • React Native: This is a cross-platform framework that allows for the development of native apps for both iOS and Android using a single codebase. It's efficient and cost-effective.
  • Node.js: For the backend, Node.js can be used. It's scalable and works well with React Native.
  • Cloud Services: AWS or Digital Ocean, as mentioned on the Stormotion site, can be used for hosting and backend services. They offer reliable, scalable cloud computing services.
  • Third-Party Integrations: For a mental health app, integrating with services like Google Fit and Apple Health could be beneficial. This allows the app to access and utilize health data recording from users' devices.

Additional Considerations:

  • Security and Privacy: Given the sensitive nature of mental health data, ensuring robust security and privacy measures is crucial.
  • User Interface: A user-friendly and engaging interface is important to keep users engaged and ensure they find value in the app.
  • Customization and Personalization: Offering personalized experiences can be more effective in addressing individual mental health needs.

Can you integrate wearable devices or IoT sensors for additional mental health monitoring?

As a mobile and web development company, we at Stormotion have a wealth of experience in crafting applications for the healthcare, fitness, and sports sectors. Our portfolio includes the development of both mobile and web apps, ranging from on-demand fitness streaming products to traditional nutrition and workout apps. We also specialize in integrating third-party fitness solutions, including BLE-based wearables like heart-rate monitors and cadence sensors, as well as platforms like Google Fit and Apple Health.

Given our expertise, we are confident in our ability to integrate wearable devices or IoT sensors for enhanced mental health monitoring. Our background in designing mental health apps, especially those that incorporate third-party integrations and wearable technology, positions us well to create solutions that include mental health monitoring features using wearable devices or IoT sensors.

For specific projects or inquiries, we encourage direct communication with our team to discuss the precise requirements and the feasibility of integrating wearable devices or IoT sensors for mental health monitoring in your desired application.

How do you ensure the security and privacy of sensitive user data in a mental health app?

We ensure the security and privacy of sensitive user data in our mental health apps by implementing several key measures. These include:

  • Encrypting data during transfer and storage.
  • Adhering to health data protection regulations like HIPAA and GDPR.
  • Utilizing strong user authentication methods.
  • Conducting regular security audits.
  • Collecting only essential data.
  • Providing clear privacy policies.
  • Using secure APIs for third-party integrations.
  • Educating our users on data protection.
  • Anonymizing data where possible.
  • Regularly updating our app with security patches.

Read also

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