The UK’s first free peer to peer mental health support App has gone live after a period of extensive testing.
The app is the brainchild of three Yorkshire men, Logan Smith, Doug Dennison and Robin Cunningham, and is designed to enable users to create bonds with people they wouldn’t ordinarily meet and to bridge a gap between a patients appointments with mental health specialists.
Unmasked is a free app, built around research and consultation with a number of mental health charities and agencies in the UK. Users can choose to appear masked, using an emoji to convey their state of mind, or unmasked as themselves.
The system helps people form friendships with other users with mental health issues – users can search by age, location and illness to chat with peers to give and receive support in times of need.
This app is a 24/7, 365 days a year support platform, aiming to cover the whole of the UK.
The app, which has been written with developers MGC, enables users to reach out to other people with mental health issues to find support, have a chat or share experiences.
Designer Chris Carroll said: “Users can find others of a similar age, in their local area or those who suffer from a similar illness. They can remain anonymous if they prefer to, or they can choose to appear as themselves.
“The app is designed to help people access the support they need on a day to day basis because sometimes all someone needs is a message of support to say ‘I know what you’re going through and I understand.’
"We hope this app will provide that. Safeguarding is one of our highest priorities and the system recognises certain keywords or derogatory terms and will alert the moderators to avoid any kind of bullying or harassment. The app is all about support and encouragement and users can give as much or as little information about themselves as they feel comfortable with.”
Users of Unmasked can block or report other users and, in vulnerable times can press an alert button, which automatically dials through to the Samaritans crisis line
Doug said: “We have now been in contact with major corporate organisations, who have shown great interest in supporting the positive wellbeing of their workforce to help rescue the stigma of mental ill health within the workplace.”
“Unmasked Mental Health provides support to like-minded change seekers in a genuine and personal way. Helping them to feel secure and live life confidently.”