Health apps have become a booming sector in tech, and a cornerstone of many people’s wellness regimen — right alongside regular exercise and a healthy diet.
This has been especially true over the last couple of years. In the early days of the pandemic, when most people were stuck in their homes and hospitals were being overrun, mental health startups like Headspace and Talkspace positioned themselves as antidotes for the mounting stress, and have since become a popular way for people to access therapy from home. Meanwhile, fitness and weight loss apps have experienced tailwinds of their own.
Whether they’re coupled with wearable devices, offered as a benefit by users’ employers or even prescribed by a doctor, there are hundreds of applications designed to support better mind and body. You can read about 21 of them right here.
The BetterHelp app provides virtual counseling and other mental health services like digital journals, goal trackers, worksheets and wellness webinars geared toward individuals, couples, teens and families. It also offers employer plans that can compliment a company’s existing mental healthcare benefits. BetterHelp’s stated goal is to make professional therapy “accessible, affordable and convenient” to anyone who needs it.
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Designed by experts in obesity and nutrition science, Calibrate is on a mission to help users not only lose weight, but keep it off for good. Among other things, the app offers a year-long program that helps users “reset” their metabolic health by monitoring what CEO Isabelle Kenyon calls the four “pillars” — food, sleep, exercise and emotional wellbeing — alongside a doctor and coach. Since the program’s launch in 2020, Calibrate received $100 million from VC giants Tiger Global and Founders Fund, making it one of many women-led health companies to raise nine-figure rounds last year.
Calm is a mindfulness app that offers guided meditations, relaxing music and other tools to help users get a better night’s sleep. One of its best-known features is the guided sleep story library, with narrations from celebrities like Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Calm also has a suite of tools that companies can offer to employees to help them reduce stress and improve focus. As a whole, the Calm app gained popularity in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, reaching a valuation of $2 billion.
Known as a “social wellness” app, Fabriq helps users be more intentional about checking in with their friends and family. It is structured according to the limits of Dubar’s number — a theory that states most people can cognitively handle about 150 strong social connections, which they can categorize along four degrees of intimacy. Users input and then prioritize their connections according to the four levels of strength, then upload pictures and information about each person as well as how often they want to reach out. Fabriq then sends push notifications when it’s time for the user to reach out to a given person, along with generic conversation starters. The goal, founder Amy Baglan told Built In in 2020, is to “nurture” the “social fabric” of users.
The Form Health app is on a mission to help users treat obesity virtually. With a focus on science-based, personalized care, Form Health pairs patients with a team of certified physicians and dieticians, and has them meet virtually for regular check-ins. Patients also receive FDA-approved medications to help them along in the process. The company raised a $12 million funding round in 2021, and has been expanding nationally ever since.
The Glo app offers virtual yoga, medication, pilates and fitness classes — available both on demand and live. Users can filter for their preferred classes based on what kind of class they want, their preferred duration, level of intensity, and even the muscle group they want to work.
As one of the most recognizable names on this list, Headspace was among the first meditation apps to hit the market, and continues to be a popular resource for guided meditations and other stress-reducing resources. Last year, the company also merged with mental healthcare giant Ginger to create Headspace Health, a comprehensive mental health and wellbeing app.
Although it is perhaps best known as a leading cosmetics brand, L’Oréal has also made a wearable sensor that tracks a user’s exposure to things like UV rays, pollen, humidity and pollution. Co-developed by La Roche-Posay, a firm that specializes in skincare, the thumbnail-sized, battery-free sensor pairs with a corresponding mobile app and can store up to three months of environmental data.
The Levels app connects with wearable continuous glucose monitors, or CGMs, to help users calculate their metabolism based on their blood glucose response to a number of variables — most importantly what they eat. CGMs are commonly used by people with diabetes, but these devices are also available by prescription for people who want to monitor their metabolic health. Levels goes beyond just simple metrics and data analysis though, it also shows users how their food intake affects their mood and overall health in real time.
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Valued at nearly $5 billion, Lyra Health is a major player in mental health benefits, focusing mostly on matching employees with therapists and mental health coaches through a suite of personalized programs. Employers can also enable the Lyra Health app, which provides employees with on-the-go care through one-on-one messaging and video sessions with professionals, well-being resources and various provider-recommended mental wellness activities.
Clinically tested and developed at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Mightier is designed to help children practice emotional regulation through play. The app offers a library of games meant for kids ranging from six to 12 years old, and is paired with a wearable monitor to track their heart rates as they play. The games increase difficulty along with stress levels, and then provide calming techniques to help kids wind down and learn to better control their emotions. Parents can also track their child’s progress in real time on a separate app. The company raised a $17 million funding round late last year, joining a growing number of other startups to combine video games with child psychology.
Offering various self-service wellness kits, access to a global network of certified coaches and licensed therapists and the World Health Organization’s well-being assessment, Modern Health pulls everything one may need to maintain their mental health on one app. It also offers an array of mental health benefits, allowing major companies like Pixar and Lyft to create personalized care for each of their employees based on their unique goals and needs. Modern Health’s services became especially popular amid the pandemic, with both its revenue and customer base doubling in a matter of months, according to the company.
Developed by tech startup Thriveport, Moodnotes is an app that helps users track their mood and identify what influences it. It also offers exercises designed to increase self awareness and reduce stress. Thriveport also created MoodKit, an app offering tools to both enhance mood and change unhealthy thinking; and Sleepzy, a smart alarm clock that tracks sleep, analyzes sleep quality and wakes users up according to their circadian rhythm.
These days, most wearable health and fitness trackers tend to be watches, but Motiv tried something a little different with its ring, which monitors the wearer’s sleep, activity and heart rate. Motiv’s complimentary app allows users to track these metrics and set certain health goals.
Perhaps one of the most recognizable health apps on the market today, Noom aims to help users achieve and maintain their physical health goals through behavioral changes, as opposed to just strict dieting. Like other similar apps, Noom users can do things like count calories and track their exercise, but the app’s goal-oriented psychotherapy treatments are meant to help people better understand and prevent the things that trigger negative thoughts and harmful compulsive habits, such as overeating. Each new user answers a battery of questions identifying their unique challenges and goals, and then Noom designs a plan to help reach those goals, and pairs them with a coach to provide support throughout.
Inspired by the connectivity and structure of group therapy, the Real app provides a series of “pathways” to help users navigate several of life’s challenges, offering clinically informed guided audio and video lessons, reflection exercises and real-world prompts to reinforce new skills. The app also offers a Real Pulse feature so users can track their mental health journey over time.
Shine offers daily meditations, self-care courses on things like stress management and establishing boundaries and monthly workshops with experts and other users. The app can be used by anyone, but it focuses especially on people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and anyone else who feels underrepresented in the mental wellness space. Shine claims to be the No. 1 BIPOC-owned self-care app, as well as the host of the largest, most diverse group of people practicing daily self-care together.
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Created by healthtech startup Sonde Health, the Sonde Mental Fitness app helps users monitor their mental health with nothing more than their own voice. Users provide a 30-second vocal sample when responding to one of more than a dozen prompts, and then the app analyzes vocal biomarkers like smoothness, control and liveliness — all of which can be impacted by mental conditions like depression, stress, anxiety and fatigue. These voice samples are also transcribed and stored in daily journal entries so they can provide users with a more contextual understanding of their emotional health over time. To be clear, this app is not a therapeutic session and it is not prescriptive. Rather, it is meant to offer “an early warning system” that people can use to examine their own mental health so they are better equipped to seek professional help if they need to, Sonde Health CEO David Liu told Built In.
Formerly known as Happify Health, the Twill app offers a variety of science-backed programs and activities that promote wellness, both mental and physical. This includes personalized, unique content, games and activities designed to support users throughout their specific medical conditions, ranging from mental ones like anxiety and depression, to physical ones like pregnancy. Soon to come are features geared towards people with multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.
Talkspace provides people with easy access to a licensed therapist. It all starts with a questionnaire in which users specify their needs and goals. From there, the HIPAA-compliant app matches users with several therapists that they can choose from. Users meet their therapists in a virtual therapy room that can be accessed from a mobile device or web browser, and can message their therapist between sessions if they need.
Whoop’s wearable technology and data-driven app allows users to track their sleep, fitness and recovery 24/7, and offers actionable insights so that the user can improve their lifestyle and overall health. “Whoop is great at all the things that it does because of all the things we don’t do,” founder and CEO Will Ahmed told Built In. Unlike many other health trackers, the sensor doesn’t have a screen, the app doesn’t measure steps and the company doesn’t sell customer data to third parties — a fairly common concern for fitness and mental health apps alike. Whoop simply tracks users’ health and tells them how to improve.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort