Mental Health App Development in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover everything about mental health app development, its benefits, and potential risks. Learn to monetize your product and find inspiration in JetBase’s project in this handy guide.

June 5 | Updated on June 5 | 10 min
Alex Padalka

Alex Padalka

CEO at JetBase

The subject of mental health has never been as prominent as it is nowadays, with awareness and therapy becoming a new norm. It also pushes mental health app development to the spotlight. However, when discussing such a sensitive topic, comprehensive research is critical.

JetBase has worked on various healthcare solutions over the past few years, building experience in the industry. Today, we will share that knowledge to show you the value of mental health apps, their development process, and best practices.

Our guide will also touch on monetization, a vital aspect of an app’s longevity. You will also find some real-world success stories for inspiration. Finally, you’ll learn all the details about creating a mental health app and discover how JetBase can help you with such a project.

The Evolving Landscape of Mental Health Apps

While modern solutions for mental health can sometimes replace in-person therapy and provide a reliable support platform, that hasn’t always been the case. Without current technologies, mental health app ideas amounted to generalized wellness tips or a space to share feelings. It was a decent start but a far cry from the modern approach.

Nowadays, apps connect patients and doctors directly, letting people experience therapy from the comfort of their homes. Algorithms train on specific user behavior and mental health patterns to provide more insightful care. And, with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in this niche, developers personalize their apps for maximum benefit to the patient.

With current tech, it’s possible to create an app that makes users feel heard, intuitively responding to their changing needs and problems. Meanwhile, more complex cases can go through doctor-facing apps. Thanks to these, medical professionals check up on their patients hassle-free and guarantee everyone gets proper care.

Incredible advances in technology and design don’t just improve mental health apps. They also add variety to their functioning—stay tuned to discover how diverse they can be.

Types of Mental Health Apps: From Therapy to Self-Improvement

Wellness and recovery come in many forms, and mental health app developers reflect that in their products. There’s a healthy array of different app types to get inspired when making your own. We’ll list the popular ones to provide an idea of what the market looks like and what you can create yourself.


These apps introduce people to one of the most recommended self-help practices one can do at home. They offer guided meditations, tips for starting your first meditation, and special aides for effective practices. It includes ambient sounds, long-form guides, and even video lessons.

Such apps also feature:

  • device integrations;
  • measuring a user’s pulse;
  • heartbeat;
  • breath;
  • and other vitals. 

This way, people determine how deep the meditation was and what disrupted it. It improves one’s awareness of their body and its functions, easing them into meditations and settling their minds.

Digital Therapy

Digital Therapy.webp

This application type is quite straightforward. It connects patients with doctors who provide online services. Apps offer a platform where the two parties chat and schedule therapy calls while hosting an extensive catalog of professionals to choose from. This availability is critical for patients, and we’ll highlight why in the next section.

However, such apps have specific requirements, from high-quality video processing to extra security measures. Working with confidential patient information and therapy notes means you should accommodate legal regulations. Still, this is nothing new in the medical field, and most development teams will ensure you meet these requirements.



Apps that fall under this umbrella traditionally help users understand their inner world and build healthier habits. That involves fixing their:

  • sleep schedule;
  • breathing exercises;
  • journaling, and more. 

As a result, this is the most diverse type of mental health app development. However, the intent is always the same—improving a patient’s mental health.

With this type, it makes sense to implement a broad range of functions, guaranteeing that everyone will find something helpful. But it’s also crucial to go deep on at least one aspect, delivering a remarkably polished experience. Thus, you lure in a general audience while giving some of them a reason to commit to the app long-term.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.webp

Think of this one as an offshoot of general therapy-centric apps dedicated to a specific branch of therapy. Such apps give patients the ability to choose specific therapists who practice CBT. This way, patients can pick a professional based on their needs and work through relationship issues, depression, or self-image troubles.

Alternatively, they give them the tools and knowledge base to start up with CBT on their own, letting people work through their trauma privately and independently.

Critical Benefits of Mental Health Apps

This rich variety of apps also brings a slew of significant advantages. These are among the essential reasons for adding more mental health app features. As a result, you’ll have an app that can improve people’s lives. In this section, we’ll discuss how apps accomplish that and what value you can deliver.

Critical Benefits of Mental Health Apps.webp

Benefits for Healthcare Professionals

Cost-Effectiveness and Efficiency

It’s no secret that therapy is often costly, and not just for the patient. The therapist has to rent an office, hire an assistant, commute to their workspace, and more. However, with an app and online sessions, you can eliminate these costs, which also lowers the price per session. As a result, both therapists and patients don’t spend as much while enjoying the same quality of treatment. Also, doctors can use the app’s virtual space to promote themselves and explain why their services are the best choice.

Ways A Mental Health App Can Save Money.webp

Expanding Reach 

In addition to opening up mental health procedures in terms of price, apps also give each doctor and institution a broader base of potential patients. There is no need to limit oneself to local practitioners when you can reach skilled doctors through your phone. 

Patient Engagement

Lastly, apps boost patient engagement, sometimes by gamifying therapy and wellness routines. Giving the user little achievements and a literal progress bar can help them feel the strides they’re making. Visual indicators function as a sign that improvement is within reach. And all those things are possible specifically thanks to the nature of apps.

Benefits for Patients


Mental health issues are pretty insidious. Occasionally, a patient doesn’t get the right treatment due to socializing difficulties (or even having trouble leaving their homes). Digital solutions remove that obstacle, letting people get therapy and diagnoses from a safe space. It’s easier for those struggling with severe issues—those who need such solutions more than others.


It’s also important to note that apps automate many quality-of-life functions, such as:

  • medication intake reminders;
  • weekly summaries.

These things take patients’ minds off the healing processes, letting them live as they normally would. Meanwhile, the app helps them see their progress and stay on the path to recovery.

Similarly, having a mental health helper in one’s pocket is critical, as a crisis may occur at any point. Apps address this issue, making therapeutic tips or a direct line to a doctor instantly accessible. In a pinch, this ease of use can be a decisive factor when managing mental issues.

Improved Choice of Practitioners

Finding the right professional takes time. While mental health apps can’t entirely remove this issue, they somewhat alleviate it. In particular, some apps centralize therapists that offer digital consultations. With their help, patients “test” doctors faster to find the best specialist for their needs.
Moreover, patients in rural areas and those who want a choice beyond just their local therapists can look for more options via the app and find the right professionals.


Even small routines, such as journaling or personalized wellness tips, can massively improve one’s mental health. Apps make these accessible but affordable, too. Patients don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to purchase an app or subscribe to its premium features.

It effectively democratizes access to mental health, making therapy less of a middle-class practice. Anyone can afford an app and make a massive difference to people’s well-being.

Essential Features of a Successful Mental Health App

When exploring how to create a mental health app, zero in on what functionality you want to offer. While every company will have its individual vision, there is a baseline layer of usable features that every app should provide. In this part of the guide, we will cover the essentials and explain how to do them correctly.

Essential Features of a Successful Mental Health App.webp

User Profiles and Personalization

Let’s start with the aspects that make your users feel at home—their customizable profile with the personal touch they need. It may include design elements, personalized greetings and notifications, and a profile page that reflects a user’s progress and achievements. Basically, you’re creating a homepage that encourages users to return repeatedly.

User Profiles and Personalization.webp

It’s essential to accommodate each user’s sensibilities or give them the tools to accommodate themselves. Opt for maximum flexibility and use technologies like artificial intelligence to adapt to each specific patient. This way, you will have a better chance of connecting to them.

Comprehensive Self-Monitoring Tools

Helping someone with their mental health is often about giving them the power to change. That’s why you need to provide users with extensive features to track their state changes. Thanks to these, users will see an objective picture of their health, while doctors with the appropriate access can also gain the necessary information.

Comprehensive Self-Monitoring Tools.webp

Mental health is an internal matter, and sometimes, even medical professionals don’t notice particular symptoms or changes in a patient’s state. Therefore, it’s paramount to include self-monitoring and reporting tools if you want patients and doctors to see the complete picture.

Interactive Diaries and Mood Trackers

Similarly, it’s a good idea to provide a space where patients can record their thoughts and feelings. It lets them get in touch with their inner selves and keep an eye on how their state changes over time. One can use such diaries to spot patterns in a patient’s mood changes and understand what triggers them.

Interactive Diaries and Mood Trackers.webp

Sometimes, these can even assist in predicting mood swings and let a patient prepare accordingly. As a result, people increase their quality of life and streamline dealing with their issues. If such a diary is interactive, a patient or doctor can leave feedback and thoughts about past entries. This way, they reflect on what they went through and unpack the emotional baggage those events have caused.

In-App Communication: Messaging, Audio, and Video Calls

When users can’t deal with their health alone, they seek professional help. Ideally, they must have various ways available, from text to video. There are a few reasons why this variety is necessary. Chief among them is that not all patients feel comfortable with a call in a crisis (or may not even be able to do that).

In-App Communication Messaging, Audio, and Video Calls.webp

Additionally, you don’t want factors such as poor connection or a noisy environment interrupting a patient’s consultation. Giving them an extra option helps keep the communication clear and unbroken. Plus, a user may need to consult their doctor discreetly, making text the perfect choice.

Community Support and Social Sharing

It’s often easier to accept help from peers than medical professionals. That said, it’s also worth having a forum-like space where users can share their feelings and encourage one another. Things like visible achievements in profiles also play into this. With their help, people show off their progress to wellness and get different discussion topics.

Community Support and Social Sharing.webp

Of course, such a space should be safe for everyone, necessitating a report feature. Enforcing anonymity in social features might also be required. It protects people’s data and lets them share freely without worrying about their social status or being recognized.

Reminders and Notifications for Consistency

The hardest part of building healthy habits is sticking to them and doing wellness-related practices regularly. An app may address this challenge, offering helpful reminders and a calendar where patients can schedule consultations or medication intake. It’s a simple yet valuable feature you may consider adding to your future app.

How to Create a Mental Health App?

Now that we’ve laid out the essential building blocks of a mental health solution let’s move on to the actual development process. We’ll consider things step by step to illustrate how to develop a mental health app that covers all the necessary aspects.

How to Create a Mental Health App.webp

Identifying the Target Audience and Needs

JetBase always pays special attention to planning and market research, and mental health apps are no exception. Mental health is a broad topic, so you should decide which issue you’ll tackle with your solution and understand whom it will help.

Are you trying to create a solution for busy office workers who need stress relief or a meditation app for stay-at-home parents? Deciding this is the first crucial step on the way.

Once you know your target audience, determine their needs and how you’ll address them. Most importantly, don’t try to do too much. The market is likely full of solutions they can use, and your job is to find the gaps nobody has filled yet. Specialize in specific help that cuts to the core of the issue and isn’t another copy of existing products.

Selecting the Right Features and Technology Stack

After determining the direction you want to take, it’s time to settle on your list of features and the tech you’ll use to realize them. The latter will stem from the former, as you’ll understand your core needs. Those often include:

  • scalability;
  • third-party integrations;
  • video processing for the call feature.

As a result, you have this simple flow where the audience and app type dictate features, and features dictate the tech stack. That simplifies the selection process somewhat. Once you’re through with it, you’re ready to implement your ideas.

Prototyping, User Testing, and Feedback Integration

Perhaps the most crucial development phase is building an MVP version and extensive testing to verify it matches your expectations and user needs. That’s where you learn how to refine your app and what blindspots you might have had when creating it. Gather feedback from different users, including ones with drastically differing viewpoints.

MVP for Mental Health Apps

This way, you’ll have a more objective, external view of your product and integrate valuable feedback to capture a broader audience. You obviously can’t please everybody, but with mental health apps, it’s critical to be sensitive to the users' opinions.

Ensuring Robust Security and Data Protection

Once you’ve implemented the feature and feedback, ensure your app is safe and secure. High-quality security practices are generally vital, but they’re particularly relevant for healthcare-adjacent apps. Verify whether your product complies with all regulations and has solid encryption and access management.

Overcoming Challenges in Mental Health App Development

While our guide will provide the groundwork for your development, it’s also essential to consider the common pitfalls. These risks are the exact reasons certain apps fail, and it’s in a developer’s best interest to know about them. Let’s briefly look over the most significant challenges.

Addressing Data Privacy and Security Concerns

While some apps struggle with public perception, it’s not the most critical danger to one’s reputation. Not securing user data and having a leak is, perhaps, the worst outcome for any app. Therefore, it’s paramount to have all patient data (which in this niche effectively means all app data) encrypted at rest and in transit. Besides, remember to address users’ concerns with privacy disclaimers and data collection notices.

Ensuring Interoperability and Integration

Medical apps, including mental health ones, work best when not isolated. To ensure usability, integrate your app to devices and medical institutions' databases using their APIs. Thus, you collect and sync data, which will be vital for patients who need to provide logs of their state to their doctors.

Navigating Regulatory and Compliance Issues

This aspect ties directly into the security concerns, as data regulations are quite strict. Depending on the market where you launch your app, you may have to contend with many at once. It makes sense to recruit a legal consultant who specializes in this matter. Otherwise, you risk running into trouble with compliance and potentially getting the app shut down.

Mental Health App Development Best Practices

Before we round off our discussion of development, let’s talk about some smart approaches to building a mental health app. These are just ways to think about the product and points to focus on when you develop it.

Mental Health App Development Best Practices.webp

Focusing on User-Centered Design

Remember that your app is for people who will often be in a vulnerable state when using it. Make sure your UI is intuitive, easy to navigate, and can be tweaked to meet any user’s needs. Your goal isn’t to make the app the most trendy look. Instead, it’s to make it as usable as possible

Incorporating AI and Machine Learning Cautiously

While JetBase supports AI, and (spoiler alert) we suggest it as the future of these apps, be cautious when implementing it. The last thing you want is for your LLM to “misfire” and recommend the wrong thing to a person in crisis. Implement these carefully and test them extensively. We always say it’s crucial not to chase trends but to let them come to you naturally. And this case is no exception.

Providing Multilingual and Multi-Platform Support

It’s no secret that adding more supported devices and localizing the app in various languages expands your possible audience. That’s one of the potential benefits of AI, as it assists in translating all aspects of your app quickly and on a budget. However, adapting the product to multiple platforms takes a larger development team, which is easier to achieve with outsourcing.

Monetization Strategies: Making Your Mental Health App Financially Viable

Monetization Strategies Making Your Mental Health App Financially Viable.webp

Partner with an institution with similar audience.

Along with all good intentions, making an app that’s successful long-term requires a way to make money off of it. Thankfully, creating a mental health app leaves several opportunities to monetize. This can be done in a few different ways:

  • Premium features;
  • Promotional deals;
  • Ad blocks.

When it comes to premium features, you can paywall certain extras such as:

  • direct doctor consultations;
  • exceptional meditation guides. 

It's like Spotify’s use of celebrity voices for guided meditations.

Additionally, you can include promotional aspects and ads. One option is to partner with a specific institution that offers its services to your users. Another way is to promote:

  • particular wellness coaches;
  • services;
  • branded vitamins;
  • self-help resources.

But don’t get carried away by offering too many ads or gatekeeping too many features. You should balance the monetization with a clean, unobtrusive user experience. That way you get your revenue while users still find the app a safe, comforting place.

Real-World Success Stories and Lessons Learned

Understandably, all the intricacy associated with mental health app development can be intimidating. However, you’re far from the first to try it. Here are several inspiring solutions that made it big.

Our first example is Calm, a famous meditation-focused app. This product has an excellent monetization system: people can subscribe to access premium content, including sleep narrations from stars like Harry Styles. It helps people drift off to sleep and keeps them financing the app’s continued success. That’s a decent model to look up to.

Also, we’d be remiss to ignore Sanvello, an app launched in 2015 (it was known as Pacifica then). The app focuses on CBT and includes both self-help material and, with a paid plan, access to actual therapists. This product's growth over the years shows the importance of branding and having a specific identity. Besides, centering itself around CBT differentiates it from a sea of competitors.

These two examples show the value of a well-planned monetization strategy and the key role that the “it factor” plays. These are valuable lessons for anyone who wants to launch their mental health app.

The Future of Mental Health Apps

Currently, we can see one absolutely massive trend—the use of AI for personalization and communication. Apps have started to rely on AI-powered assistants to chat with users and provide comfort when a professional isn’t available. This solution saves money for the product and ensures that people in crisis always have someone to talk to.

Similarly, modern data processing is more refined, resulting in tailored experiences. Users get recommendations and care built around their personality and needs. It also makes life easier for medical staff, as they can use tech to analyze a patient’s entire history and understand it much quicker.

All of these technological advancements will serve the market well as it expands. The mental health app niche is projected to reach $16.5 billion by 2030, capitalizing on today’s digital-first world. For reference, the current estimate of the market is around $6.6 billion, which means the market is set to more than double.

The Future of Mental Health Apps.webp

Are You Ready to Create a Mental Health App?

We’re sure our in-depth dive into mental health app development has given you new inspiration and some understanding of how to approach it. However, no text guide can replace an experienced partner. JetBase, a team with over a decade of expertise, is ready to lend a hand with the practical part of development.

We pride ourselves on making quality, refined software that meets and surpasses our clients’ expectations. Our team values the end result over clever corner-cutting or rushing the product out. So, if you want your mental health app to succeed and flourish in experts' hands, get in touch today. Let’s start our collaboration!

  • Healthcare Development

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