While there are many options to help with mental health, one particular app called the Virtual Hope Box (VHB) can be useful for coping with unpleasant emotions and thoughts which can impact a variety of mental health symptoms.

Is there research to show that this app is helpful?

  • This app can help with emotional regulation and reducing stress according to a randomized controlled trial (1). Future studies are ongoing.
  • Numerous research studies support many features of the app like relaxation skills and distraction techniques.

What is the cost?

  • It was developed via a government grant and was awarded the DoD Innovation Award in 2014.

What are the features of the VHB app?

  • It comes with preloaded features like inspirational tools, relaxation skills, coping tools, distraction techniques, emergency contact numbers.
  • It can also be customized to include your own music, images, phone numbers of supportive contacts, and reminders of reasons for living.
  • You can fill out coping cards and activity planners with help of a mental health professional.
  • These features are shown in the image below:

Additional resources:

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.


  1. Bush NE, Smolenski DJ, Denneson LM, Williams HB, Thomas EK, Dobscha SK. A virtual hope box: randomized controlled trial of a smartphone app for emotional regulation and coping with distress. Psychiatr Serv. 2017 Apr 1;68(4):330–6. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201600283.

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Posted by R. Ryan Patel DO, FAPA OSU CCS Psychiatrist at 3:57pmPosted in AnxietyApps for Mental HealthStress Management Tagged anxiety reduction appApps for Mental Healthapps for stresscollege anxietycollege stressmental health apprelaxation skillsstress management appstress management college studentsvirtual hope boxvirtual hope box app

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