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New App Lets You Talk About Dark Times in a Judgment-Free Zone

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While some studies suggest the overuse of technology may be linked to depression, one networking app is using the powers of social media for good. TalkLife, a peer-to-peer support app, builds a safe, supportive community for people to share their true feelings instead of hiding behind filters.

In 2012, Jamie Druitt, 48, from London, created TalkLife after dealing with his own mental health issues.

“I started to wonder, ‘Where do young people go to talk about dark issues in a safe space?’” he told The Mighty.

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Although there’s an abundance of social networking sites, few are conducive to sharing openly. Instead of using social media to maintain a facade of happiness, Druitt harnessed the power of technology to create a space for people to anonymously share their thoughts and offer support.

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TalkLife is free and allows users to connect with people across the world and share the ups and downs of life, including self-harm, suicidal thoughts and depression. It’s geared towards younger users and helps them share their feelings without the fear of being judged. Although the majority of users are young women in the United States, people connect from all over the world.

But Druitt describes TalkLife as an early intervention app, not a substitute for therapy.

“It’s often the first step to talking to a professional, but peer-to-peer isn’t for everyone,” Druitt said. The app has a list of mental health resources and trained volunteers moderate it. Volunteers go through a screening process and are usually drawn from the TalkLife community.

“[We’re] bringing the call center mindset into 2015,” Druitt said. “It’s about people giving each other hope.”

 If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Originally published: August 7, 2015
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