How to build a Mental Health App: Feature, Cost Estimation, Time

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, it is no secret that more people are facing mental health issues worldwide. The pandemic has exacerbated the situation and contributed to the rise of problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. As a result, the demand for digital solutions for mental health apps has considerably increased. This article provides detailed information on mental health apps based on our previous experience of building mHealth apps such as Mint Medical and UrSmiles

How to build a Mental Health App: Feature, Cost Estimation, Time

1. Mental Health App Overview

Every year, the demand for mental health applications grows, especially when Covid-19 started. Now it has been more than two years since the beginning of Covid, it may appear that we\’ve gotten used to social distance and found ways to cope with the virus-related panic. However, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of adults experiencing anxiety or depressive symptoms continues to rise.

Nearly 1 billion people have a mental disorder and more than 75 percent of those do not receive treatment in low-income countries. One person commits suicide every 40 seconds, and approximately half of all mental health disorders begin by the age of 14.


According to Grand View Research, the US behavioral/mental health care solution keeps growing (a little more than $2 billion in 2019) and mental health care software & service account for roughly 30% of this total: $588 million in 2018.

US behavioral/mental health care software & services market size, by component, 2016 – 2027 (USD Million)

2. Types of mental health apps development

Mental DisorderThis mental health app includes:
– Anxiety
– Bipolar
– Schizophrenia
These apps will monitor your mood, keep a journal and even provide psychotherapy.
Post Traumatic Stress  DisorderA person suffering from PTSD is terrified of the past. He/she might need help with anger management and provide constant support.
This category\’s mental health app design include:
– Self talk measures
– Music selection
– Breathing exercises
Plus, this type of mental health app development also incorporates the contact information for immediate assistance.
Eating DisorderMany people binge eating because of stress and anxiety. Excessive eating exacerbates mental health, and app developers must design a solution accordingly. To learn how to make an mental health app related to eating disorder, keep the following in mind:
– Include tracking features for both eating and mental health.
– Make suggestions for what and when to eat and vice versa.
– Allow users to set eating objectives.
Depression and AnxietyThe mental health app development must also include live therapy sessions. These applications shall help users:
– Improve one\’s mental state
– Embed activities and games 
– Overcome their depression
– Take assessment tests
– Suicide prevention
Meditation Applications and Self ImprovementThere has been an increase in the use of meditation applications during the pandemic. Some people use them as a way of prevention while others require post-stress relief.
The ultimate goal of both meditation and self-improvement apps are:
– Stress Management
– Relaxation
– Effective Breathing
– Destressing
– Controlling Anxiety
– Mindfulness
Stress and Anxiety ControlStress and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses.
According to the APA, one-third of all Americans suffer from stress. This is extremely concerning, but there is a solution. You can develop a mental health app that teaches users how to control and manage both of these emotions.
Types of mental health apps

3. Mental health features

3.1. Sign Up  

Normally, we recommend making the sign-up process simple, quick and secure. To avoid people with mental health issues becoming frustrated and abandoning the app, the app should collect critical information as well as limit the length of forms and the number of steps. It is important to describe the features clearly and guide new users through the instructions and services step by step.

3.2. Mental health monitoring

Self-monitoring allows users to identify potentially dangerous situations and develop good mental health habits. This includes tools that monitor users\’ mood patterns, stress levels, triggers, sleep and so on. Users can either analyze the data themselves or leave it to a specialist. The app can save these check-ups over time to track the dynamics and even forecast changes in a patient\’s well-being.

3.3. Diary 

It is critical for people suffering from mental illnesses to be able to express their feelings. By including a diary feature in an app, such a \”throw-out\” of concerns and emotions can be enabled.

Firstly, it should include a standard typing feature (like in Notes). Because it is not always possible for a patient (especially a child) to express their feelings with words,  we’d recommend allowing users to draw, use different colors, shades, geometric figures and so on.  You can even include audio notes for patients who would rather speak than write. 

3.4. Chat & Video Sessions with Specialists 

Ideally, A patient should be able to chat, call or send audio messages with their counselor or at least a consultant 24/7. A chatbot may be useful for answering FAQs, scheduling appointments, entertaining users and performing other tasks.

3.5. On-Demand Video/Audio Content 

It is a great idea to provide on-demand videos or audios for situations when there’s no need for a specialist appointment or call for urgent mental help, yet, a patient still can’t cope with it on their own. It can have soothing aspects, cheering up affirmations, lifting mood, relaxing, educational purpose, stress release, mitigating symptoms or sleep deprivation management, preventing exacerbation stages, etc.

3.6. Urgent Mental Help 

Another important feature for mental health app developers to consider is emergency calls or messages. You can include a set of emergency features such as: quick access to emergency services calls, quick calling to someone from a pre-saved list of close people, a live chat or call to your service’s support line.

3.7. Relaxation and Meditation Apps

During the pandemic, there has been an increase in the use of meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm. People with PTSD, anxiety or panic attacks are highly recommended to practice meditation. Your app may include a number of available programs and audio classes taking the user through breathing exercises, meditation sessions, mindful movements, relaxation and better sleep.

3.8. Push-Notifications 

To remind patients of particular activities, journaling, daily tasks and so on, you can add push notifications. In addition, it makes sense to send motivational messages to encourage and remind people of their strengths and abilities.

3. Tech Stack to Build Mental Health App

Depending on the project\’s complexity, team composition, the number of features, etc, the tech stack of the development might vary significantly. Although the technologies employed may vary, the fundamental tech stack is as follows:

  • Front-end development: ReactJS, Angular, 
  • Back-end development: Node.js, Phyton, PHP, ; database – Postgres, MongoDB, MySQL, 
  • Mobile development:  iOS – Swift, Android – Java,
  • Multiple payment modes:  PayPal, Braintree, Stripe
  • User location tracking and map integration: MapKit, Google Maps API,  CoreLocation
  • Push notifications: Twilio,
  • In-app messaging and calling: Twilio
  • Cloud environment: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft Azure.

4. How to develop a mental health app: steps to follow

  • Step 1: Research

At this early stage, you have to conduct research about the target audience, market and competitor to understand if your idea is worth implementing. Create your own value proposition and identify the ideal market niche.

  • Step 2: Create your business model

Building a business model can help you picture your startup idea by outlining your value proposition, key partners, customer relationship, the resources required and the monetization strategy used to get revenue from your app.

  • Step 3: Describe how users interact with the app

Create a user’s journey in the app to better understand their experience, detect inconsistencies and improve the user experience.

  • Step 4: Make a the list of the key features

Select the features that you want to include in your app. It\’s important to note that the exact set of features will depend on the type of mental health app you\’re creating and your value proposition.

  • Step 5: Validate your hypotheses

Test your hypotheses to see if your assumptions are correct.

  • Step 6: Develop your prototype

Create a prototype to see if the app is easy to use and the users understand how to use it.

  • Step 7: Building an MVP

Create your MVP for Android, iOS or both platforms. If you want to save money, you  may build a React Native app that works on both systems..

  • Step 8: Launch, Improve and Maintain your app

In order to outperform your competitor, you need to launch your mental health app and constantly improve it. Moreover, you must ensure app maintenance and provide high-quality support to users.

5. How to make money from mental health app

There are multiple monetization options for your mental health apps such as:

  • Paid downloads: It is possible to make mental health apps available for purchase. The average rate of return is $3.03.
  • In-app purchases: The majority of the apps have in-app purchases. It includes both paid and free purchases.
  • Subscription: A subscription model allows access to the full content of a given app. They can be either available on a monthly or yearly basis.
  • In-app advertising: Ads are an excellent way to generate revenue. It could be a full-screen banner or just a widget. The widget can be put in the sidebars or footers.
  • External links: Apps can provide links to services and products in any format, such as a book, an MP3 file or a podcast.

6. How much does it cost to create a mental health app?

The cost of building a mental health app varies depending on  the type of app, the project\’s scope and the number of platforms you wish to support. A teletherapy app could start at around $80,000. If it\’s a simple mood tracking or self-monitoring app, it\’ll cost $60,000. 

We discovered that with any other mobile app, owners frequently forget the back end when calculating costs. You will probably require a database and some sort of admin area to manage contents, etc. Make sure that whoever is working on your quote includes this in their price.

>>> Read more: How much does Flutter app development cost in 2022


Without a doubt, the digital health market is one of the most important segments supporting society. Because developing a mental health app is a complex project that requires extensive knowledge and skills, seeking assistance from a reliable software development company is highly recommended.

AgileTech is an excellent choice if you want to work with a trustworthy partner who knows how to create a popular mental health app with a high return on investment. We have experience developing healthcare apps and a professional team that will be delighted to assist you in bringing your idea to life. 

If you’re considering building a mental health app, contact us to start today!