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What is an app library?

An app library is a website that displays a collection of apps. The Best For You app library has information about (and links to) high-quality health and care apps. ORCHA has tested all of the apps in this library to make sure that they’re safe.

Are you suggesting apps are a replacement for other treatment and support, like talking therapies?

No. We know that apps aren’t a replacement for other forms of support – but they can play an important part in helping young people with range of experiences.

Apps can help people without mental health conditions take care of their wellbeing.

They also mean young people can get support straight away as soon as they start to struggle with their mental health, including if they’re on a waiting list (for example, for an assessment or for talking therapy).

At the same time, young people who are receiving treatment for a mental health condition might decide with a clinician that they’d like to use an app between sessions, for example, to practise techniques, track symptoms, or try new ways to relax.

How do I find the right app for me?

There are a few different ways to look through the apps in the Best For You app library to find the one(s) you want to try.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can look through the lists of apps related to topics people often search for, including low mood, sleep, and anxiety.

If you’ve heard of a wellbeing app, for example, from a friend or family member, you can search for the app name to check if it’s passed ORCHA’s tests. If an app isn’t in the library, it doesn’t always mean it isn’t safe – it might be that ORCHA hasn’t assessed it yet.

Do you ‘borrow’ apps from the app library?

No. If you’re on a phone, the apps in the library have a link that takes you to the Google Play Store or App Store, where you can download the app like you usually would. If you’re looking on a computer, you’ll find a QR code you can scan on your phone to take you to the Google Play Store or App Store.

A few apps work in a website browser (like Chrome or Safari) so you don’t have to download them.

It doesn’t matter how you access an app from the Best For You app library – you won’t be borrowing it and you don’t have to return it.

Are all of the apps in the Best For You app library free to use?

No. Lots of the apps are free to use, but some have in-app purchases (either optional extras you can choose to buy or subscriptions you must buy to use the app). Some other apps cost money to download.

We know that not everybody can spend money on apps, so you can filter the apps to only show apps that are entirely free.

Sometimes healthcare providers pay for apps for people to use. If a healthcare provider has done this, they will usually give you a code so you can access the app without paying for yourself.

Are all of the apps in the Best For You app library designed for children and young people?

No. All of the apps on our homepage and in our lists of recommended apps for wellbeing-related topics are suitable for children and young people, but other apps in the library might be designed for adults.

You can filter the apps so a page only shows apps that are suitable for children, pre-teens, and/or teenagers.

How does ORCHA assess apps?

To assess a health or care app, ORCHA asks questions to see if it means standards in five areas:

  • data and privacy – for example, asking what happens to your private information, and how safe it is
  • professional assurance and clinical safety – for example, asking what evidence there is for the app being safe and supporting health, and asking whether a health or care professional agrees it is safe
  • usability and accessibility – for example, asking how easy the app is for different people to use
  • interoperability – for example, asking how well it can connect with systems that already exist
  • technical security and stability – for example, asking how well it works and whether it can be hacked
Why do we need to assess apps?

Just like it’s important to get health advice from trusted sources online (like the Best For You and NHS websites) or in person (from a real healthcare professional), it’s important to make sure apps are safe and secure before you give them information about yourself or trust the things they tell you about health and wellbeing.

Not every app is based on reliable evidence and some apps might not take care of your data.

The good news is that when you choose an app from the Best For You app library, you know it’s trustworthy before you believe the information it shares, try any techniques it suggests, or give it any of your data (like your age or information about your feelings). This is because ORCHA has tested every app in the Best For You app library.

Who chooses the apps in the Best For You app library?

ORCHA assesses the most downloaded and most recently updated apps. The ones that pass its assessments make it into the Best For You app library. Nobody can pay ORCHA to put their app in the Best For You app library without it being assessed (and passing the test).

Young people, clinicians (including Psychologists and Psychiatrists), and other people involved with Best For You worked together to decide on the apps that are featured on the homepage and in our lists of recommended apps for wellbeing-related topics.