The top 3 apps to help with stress and anxiety

Researchers at Deakin University assessed more than 40 mental health apps and the results are in.

Help with stress and anxiety is only a tap away thanks to the thousands of mental health apps available. These apps can be a convenient way to help manage your mental health because you can learn self-coaching, breathing exercises and meditation. 


But with so many apps available, with varying degrees of quality, it can be hard to figure out which ones are the best.  

The Medibank Better Health Foundation commissioned Deakin University to more than 40 mental health apps and determine the best ones to manage stress and anxiety.* 

So, what were the top apps?

1. Clear Fear

Clear Fear is an app developed for teenage mental health charity stem4 and teaches users to learn to breathe, relax     and be mindful as well as changing thoughts and behaviours. However, researchers noted that minors should use the app with the supervision or support from parent or carer.  

Find out more    

2. Headspace Meditation and Sleep  

Headspace Meditation and Sleep is an app designed for adults to help with stress and anxiety through guided meditation and mindfulness exercises. Individuals under the age of 18 need the involvement and consent of a parent or legal guardian.   

Find out more

3. Smiling Mind  

Smiling Mind is a free mindfulness meditation app developed by psychologists and educators. The app offers a wide range of guided meditations for all ages and offers programs designed for     classrooms, workplaces, sporting clubs and bedtime.

Find out more

Planning to give one of these apps a try?

The Deakin University research team that has evaluated these apps would like to invite you to take part in a research project. The project aims to understand your experiences of using any of these recommended apps and how beneficial they are. You can help them by completing three simple surveys, one now, and another two follow-up surveys within three months’ time.  If you complete both follow-up surveys and with your consent, you will be entered into a prize draw for one of 20 $50 Prezzee e-gift cards. 

How were the apps assessed? 

Deakin’s Health E-technologies Assessment Lab Framework for Mobile Health Evaluation (D-HEAL FMHE) helps organisations assess and recommend the best health apps to consumers in Australia. 

The D-HEAL FMHE framework assesses: clarity of purpose of each app, user experience, accessibility, value, content and information validity, privacy, security, ethics and legal, technical features, interoperability, user engagement and developer credibility. 

Most importantly, each app is evaluated based on how it provides mental health support without direct clinical intervention. 

“Apps can provide benefits that traditional support channels cannot offer,” says researcher Dieu Nguyen. 

“Such as the ability to use them at their convenience, no travel costs, self-coaching via non-medical approaches, and customisation of app features for their preferences in most instances.” 

These apps are a great place to start if you’re keen to find one to help with stress and anxiety but there’s a few things to keep in mind when you sign up. 

“As a starting point, looking at the app description is very important to check whether the app contents and functionalities described actually meet the consumer’s needs and expectations,” says researcher Sithara Wanni Arachchige Dona. 

“Most importantly, consumers need to look for developer credibility and the privacy and security aspects of a mental health app,” says research team member Mary Rose Angeles.

Live Better with Smiling Mind

Medibank are proud to be the Official Health Partner of Smiling Mind, supporting their goal of reaching 5 million young people by 2021.  

If you are Medibank member, you can sync your Smiling Mind app to the Live Better Rewards app to track your mindfulness minutes and earn rewards. Find out how


Need a little extra support?

24/7 Mental Health Phone Support

Members with Hospital cover~ can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 1800 644 325.

No waiting periods on psychology and counselling consultations

You shouldn’t have to wait for your health insurance to claim for mental health support. That’s why there are no waiting periods for counselling and psychology consultations on Medibank extras and packaged products.§

Read more about using your cover

Telehealth services

Access mental health services from the comfort of your own home. Medibank members with eligible extras can access psychology or counselling consultations face-to-face or through telehealth, with benefits payable towards Medibank recognised Counsellors only.#

Find out more

Things you need to know

~    OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

§    For members with mental health support included in their Extras cover. Annual limits apply. Counsellors must be registered with Australian Counselling Association, Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, Australian Traditional Medicine Society.   

#    Check your cover summary to see if these services are included on your extras cover and if annual limits apply.  Counsellors must be registered with Australian Counselling Association, Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, Australian Traditional Medicine Society.   

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees). 

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