MeeTwo Mental Health App

Finalist category: Connected Society Award 2019


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Connected Society Award, Finalist, People's Award, Winner, 2019

MeeTwo is a free, fully moderated, peer support mental help app. Peer support is recognised as an untapped resource for ‘mental help’ and offers a uniquely scalable solution to the current mental health crisis. MeeTwo enables young people (aged 11-23) to talk about difficult things, and to help themselves by helping each other.  Based on the latest psychological research, MeeTwo is innovative because it allows teenagers who have coped with difficult life events or mental health issues to transform those experiences into useful advice for others.

A social media format and short 300 character posts make it quick and easy to use. In-app username generation ensures anonymity and encourages openness. The absence of visual hierarchy creates a gender neutral space which does not alienate boys. Educational resources and a directory of third party helplines provide additional support and young people can explore support websites or call helplines from the directory.

MeeTwo has been developed ‘with’, ‘by’ and ‘for’ young people from the outset. Twenty-first century teenagers are a uniquely sophisticated and discerning audience and they realised that the only way to develop a service that they would engage in was to get them to design it.

The concept for MeeTwo was piloted in three schools. Those trials showed the team that teenagers prefer apps to websites, appreciate the simplicity and connected-ness of social media and for personal matters, are more likely to confide in peers rather than seek help through school or parents. Their primary engagement with young people occurs directly through the app, and the team are regularly given feedback.

MeeTwo encourages young people to articulate problems, often for the first time. Being part of a supportive community de-escalates feelings of panic and helps build real world confidence and resilience. Peer support creates a virtuous circle where ‘helping’ benefits both the ‘helped’ and the ‘helper’ (NMN, 2004).

Three children in an average classroom has a diagnosable condition but a much higher number will be silently struggling with anxiety and depression. Case studies of data show that MeeTwo users seek professional support sooner. This prevents issues from escalating reducing the burden of crisis care on the NHS.

It costs just £25 to support a MeeTwo user for a year compared to £320 for a single contact with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). MeeTwo educates young people about mental health issues by facilitating guided peer support and providing safe, immediate access to third-party resources.

This enables young people to make sensible, informed decisions which is proven in the long term to improve their capability to be successful in education and the world of work and increase quality of life.

The MeeTwo MVP was launched in September 2017 and now has over 11,000 users. It is now entering the scale up phase and they are seeking funding to industrialise their machine learning prototypes to assist their human moderators and speed up the moderation process.

Their five-year goal is to provide the UK’s most widely used mental help intervention for anxious teenagers and to empirically demonstrate positive impact, all within a sustainable business structure. They plan to support 100,000 young people by 2021, and a million by 2024.

In contrast, the recent government mental health initiative aims to put trained mental health teams in just 25% of schools by 2022. Long term sustainability will be achieved through NHS contracts, mental health support services for universities and schools (under development) and CSR sponsorship.

Many of the app’s users are now on their way to university and in September, Buckingham University will be piloting their new peer support service for universities.

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