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How to Build a Mental Health App in 2023: Ins and Outs

How to Build a Mental Health App in 2023: Ins and Outs

Mental health issues have always existed and affect a significant proportion of the global population. The World Health Organisation 2020 estimated that close to a billion persons are afflicted with one form of mental disorder or another. These issues became more pronounced due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted the health care services, and thus, sufferers had limited access to help or sometimes refused to seek help due to stigma. 

Mental health apps have grown to bridge the gap as they are convenient for patients and provide relief.

According to Statista, the global spending on mental health apps in 2020 was about $270 million, an increase of 32.5% from the previous year. In 2022 it is expected to generate close to half a billion dollars in consumer spending. 

This article will show you how to develop a mental health app, its market trends, and cost of development. 

Trends in Mental Health Apps for 2023

Mental health issues are varied and unique from person to person. Depending on the year, some issues become more prominent. So which trends should you look out for in 2023? 

Before the pandemic outbreak, people handled their mental health issues privately. Post-pandemic, people no longer feel stigmatized for sharing their struggles with depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and esteem issues. There is greater awareness of mental health and the need to have a sound mind. 

Good mental health boosts productivity. The World Health Organisation reported that about 1 trillion dollars are lost in economic productivity from anxiety and depression alone. However, investing in mental health can yield five times the investment. 

Types of Mental Health Apps

Here are the different types of mental health applications.

Meditation Apps 

Meditation Apps boost tranquility and offer several mental health benefits to users. Some of the most common mental health issues are related to low moods from depression and anxiety. These disorders increased by 25% in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. People are looking towards meditation apps to clear their heads and lift their moods to combat these problems. Calm, one of the best-known meditation apps, and its parent company has about 4 million subscribers and was valued at about $2 billion. 

Sleep Monitoring Apps

Studies show that adults need about 7 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, most people are getting less sleep. Working overtime, social media addiction, and other late-night activities prevent people from having a sound sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown to lead to diabetes, depression, obesity, etc. 

Sleep monitoring apps help to track sleep patterns and can induce sleep. These apps work by restricting access to social media apps after a certain hour or playing slow songs to help a person fall asleep quicker. 

Examples are Sleep Cycle and PrimeNap. 

Cognitive Skills Improvement Apps

For sufferers of depression and other mental inhabiting disorders, these apps help them focus their minds and sharpen their focus. These apps, including riddles and brain teasers, help improve memory. Examples are Headspace and PsychologyCompass. 

Symptoms tracker

Apps that track symptoms gather data such as sleep patterns, behavioral patterns, and physical activities to help detect the onset of a disease. These apps put the user in charge of monitoring their health.

Furthermore, doctors can use these apps to collect the necessary data for proper analysis and diagnosis. Examples include MoodFit and Moodkit. 

What is a Mental Health Application? 

A mental health app is a software tool used to monitor, analyze and assist persons afflicted with psychological or psychiatric problems. These problems are not limited to stress disorders, anxiety, depression, mood swings, or addictions. 

Mental health apps are not substitutes for clinical examination by a qualified professional. Rather they are useful tools to help patients monitor their health themselves and to provide live data to doctors and consultants.

In addition, these apps contain features such as diaries and notifications and provide video/audio content that relaxes the mind and provides a positive outlook to depressed persons.

The benefits of mental wellness apps include:

  • Anonymity 
  • Convenience 
  • Affordability 
  • Constant support 
  • Proper diagnosis

Features of a Mental Health App 

Mental health apps, like other health apps, help therapists and patients monitor and track symptoms. For a Mental health apps, some features make them unique. Let's look at these features. 

Sign up/User Profiles 

User profiles outline a user's unique identity concerning his mental health. Information such as allergies, full name, address, age, gender, and disorders are important data that help psychiatrists make informed decisions to help patients. The signup process must be as smooth and simple as possible. A complex sign-up process might be off-putting for some people.


Even though one of the most important uses of a Mental Health App is to enable doctors to monitor a patient's health, the patient can monitor his health with the aid of the data collected by these apps. The app should contain trackers to monitor moods, symptoms, eating patterns, physical activities, etc. There should be set parameters that users can utilize to detect if their health is improving or if they have to consult a professional. 


It is important to include a journal for users to take stock of their thoughts and express themselves in their own words. You can make your diary unique by including voice notes, pictures, drawings, etc. Allowing these features means people suffering from any other physical disability like dyslexia, autism, or any other learning disability can express their emotions.  


Notifications remind users of doctor’s appointments, to take drugs, relaxation time, group meetings, and reminders to exercise. Be careful not to overload the app with too many notifications. Some patients feel stressed out seeing too many notifications.


Helps users broadcast their health progress, moods, and challenges to people such as friends, followers, relatives, and doctors. The app needs to have cross-platform abilities to enable sharing on different platforms.

Audio/Video Content

Mental health apps with video/audio content are great as they are visually appealing and help improve moods. The video/audio content can contain lessons, meditation, and other self-help tips. Doctors can also share videos or even video calls with patients enabling virtual consultation.

Third-Party integrations

If you want your mental health app to also track vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure, you must integrate a link between the app and wearable devices such as wrist watches that track these vital signs. An example is Apple’s Healthkit wristwatch which collects fitness and health data. 

How to Create a Mental Health App?

Developing a mental health app is similar to other app development. However, mental health app is a niche field, and you must carefully factor this into the development cycle. Let’s break down these steps.

Discovery/Market Research

In conducting discovery, you must gather information on various mental health issues afflicting your target audience. You should consult health care professionals to give you insight into these problems.

On the business side, you should find out competing apps, the strengths and weaknesses of those apps, and what users expect in a mental health app. Gathering and analyzing these data helps you build a unique product that is attractive to users.


While it might seem weird to profit from other people’s suffering, you must remember why you are building the app. Building and maintaining an app costs lots of money, and you need to profit from your investment. Monetization helps you generate revenue on your app and can be in any of the following forms.

App download fees

Simply put, users have to pay a fee to get the app. Use competitive pricing in setting prices for the app. Provide more value for money for your customers by adding useful features to help them manage their health optimally.

Subscription fees

Using this model, you can set a monthly/yearly fee for people to use the app/service. If you want, the subscription can be categorized into basic, medium, and premium. An advantage of the subscription model is predictable/consistent fee generation.

In-app purchase

For this method, the app is downloaded for free, which gives access to basic features. To enjoy advanced features, users would have to pay for the privilege.


Monetization through ads happens when you allow other brands to place their ads on the mental health app and make money off the ads. Ensure that the app is manageable with a few ads. Disturbing ads may stress the mind and induce anxiety in people.

Hiring Developers

You need to hire the best hands to develop your app. The development team helps you from the discovery stage to the testing stage.

A cost-effective way to develop the app is to offshore the development team, which saves you additional overhead costs of stationery and equipment. A development team like Code & Care based in Eastern Europe delivers quality projects at pocket-friendly rates.


At this stage, the app idea begins to form. The earlier discussed features are put into a workable model for the app. The design involves the creation of images, videos, text, and colors to create a visually appealing app. Ensure that the user interface is smooth and easy to understand for users.

Another point is to ensure that the app is enabled for cross-platform operation so users can access the service on all platforms.


Involves quality assurance processes to verify the app's performance, functionality, and security. It is during testing that glitches and bugs are detected and removed. Since user data is involved, it is important to ensure that confidential information is not hacked.

Launch the App

This is the stage where the app becomes available to the public for downloads on app stores. You must embark on aggressive marketing to bring the product to the market. Collaborate with doctors and mental health institutions to recommend the mental health app to their patients.


After launching the app, the development process is still ongoing. Periodic updates and security checks keep the app functional and bug-free.

Building a Mental Health App: Tech Stack

In developing the mental health app, selecting a tech stack that helps your product function optimally and scale is necessary. A wrong choice of tech stack can restrict the capabilities of your mental health app.

See the tech stack to choose from.

  • Hosting: AWS, GoogleCloud, Microsoft Azure.
  • Databases: MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL.
  • Front-end development: Angular, ReactJS.
  • Back-end development: Node.JS, PHP, Django (Python)
  • Mobile app development: Android-Java, IOS-Swift
  • Location and tracking: Google Maps or Core location app
  • Payment options: (depends on your choice of platform)
  • Calendar: Google Calendar, Zoho, Nylas.
  • Video calling: Twillio, Now

Cost of Developing a Mental Health App

The cost of developing mental health apps depends greatly on the complexity of the mental health app you want. Integrating premium features in the app will attract higher costs.

Additionally, the choice of a development team, whether in-house or offshore software development teams, will impact costs.

As an estimate, assuming you want a premium mental health app, then you could be spending about $100,000 in development.


The increased awareness of mental wellness is fueling AI-driven solutions. The opportunities in developing mental health apps bring profit and social service benefits. To be a key player in this industry, you need an experienced and capable partner.

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