Smartphone apps the most popular digital tool for mental health support

Most people using smartphone apps to support their mental health find them effective

4th August 2022 about a 2 minute read

Smartphone apps more widely used than any other digital support tool by people with mental health problems, according to research carried out by ZPB on behalf of FCC.

The research had two components, one quantitative, one qualitative. The first was a survey of 515 people with a mental health condition who also used digital tools. The second was a two-day online workshop with 15 participants.

Almost nine in 10 (87%) of survey respondents said they used smartphone apps, while 44% said they used web-based apps. Of the people using smartphone apps, a third found out about them through social media, while only 13% said they found out about them from their GP.

Part of the reason for the popularity of smartphone apps was their accessibility. One workshop participant wrote: “I use a wellbeing app several times a day at most but at least once a day. I don’t use any other digital tool because I only own a phone. I don’t find it particularly easy to navigate the app and this can be frustrating.”

Another wrote: “I wanted something that was available whenever I needed it and for me, tools were the best way. I was able to go on my phone whenever I needed and it was there, even just for 5 minutes during the day.”

The good news is that the vast majority of users (89%) find smartphone apps effective or very effective in supporting their mental health – though only 23% said they would recommend digital tools to their friends and family.

This is the first of multiple short insights from our research. To find out more, please contact us at