Is Depression Treatable With a Mobile Phone App?

Denise Wilkinson

Depression is a serious mental health disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause a range of symptoms, including sadness, loss of interest in activities, irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. While there are various treatment options available for depression, many people struggle to access them due to factors such as cost, stigma, and lack of availability.

Fortunately, advancements in technology have led to the development of mobile phone apps that claim to help treat depression. These apps use a range of techniques and therapies to help users manage their symptoms and improve their mental health.

But can depression really be treated with a mobile phone app? Let’s take a closer look.

What are Depression Apps?

Depression apps are mobile phone applications designed to help people manage their depression symptoms. They typically include features such as mood tracking tools, mindfulness exercises, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, and resources for finding additional support.

Some popular examples of depression apps include Headspace, Talkspace, MoodFit, and Happify. Each app uses different methodologies and approaches to address depression symptoms.

How Effective are Depression Apps?

Research on the effectiveness of depression apps is still limited but promising so far. According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), using mobile health apps can lead to significant improvements in depressive symptoms compared to usual care or no intervention at all.

Another study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that using a cognitive-behavioral therapy-based app significantly reduced depressive symptoms in individuals with mild-to-moderate depression.

While these studies suggest that depression apps can be effective at treating symptoms of depression, it’s important to note that they may not work for everyone. Depression is a complex mental health disorder that requires personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual’s needs.


Although there are many benefits associated with using depression apps, there are also some limitations to consider. For example, some people may not have access to a smartphone or may not feel comfortable using technology to manage their mental health.

Additionally, depression apps cannot replace traditional therapy or medication for everyone. Some individuals with severe depression may require more intensive treatment options such as inpatient care or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).


Depression apps have the potential to be a valuable tool for managing symptoms of depression. They offer convenient and accessible support for individuals who may not have access to traditional treatment options.

However, it’s important to remember that depression is a complex and multifaceted disorder that requires personalized treatment plans. Depression apps should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan and under the guidance of a mental health professional.

If you’re struggling with depression, talk to your healthcare provider about whether using a mobile phone app might be helpful for you. Together, you can create a personalized plan that addresses your unique needs and helps you achieve optimal mental health.