Too often, people put on brave faces and share only the best versions of themselves to social media making it hard to see the signs when someone we care about may actually be struggling with mental health.
Set out to address this social problem, newly launched app Be A Looper allows users to monitor the wellbeing of up to five people they care about and be notified when it may be time to reach out.
The concept is based on an unobtrusive check-in system where users can rate how their day is tracking on a scale between 1-10, with the option to pinpoint specific factors such as stress, sleep, or energy levels.
Any check-in that is 3 or below will notify a user's loop of friends and encourage them to reach out with support.
Speaking with Be, Australia founder, Amanda Hart, said it was a technique she learnt while volunteering at a suicide prevention retreat, where young people aged under 25 would go following an attempt to take their own life.
“We weren’t allowed to ask anyone any questions. The whole point was just to give them a place to chill out, but I would ask them how are they tracking between 1-10. If they said 1 or 0 it meant suicidal ideation, while 10 meant they were... on a complete high,” Amanda explained.
So, Amanda adopted this technique into her own circle of friends as a management tool.
“At 4:00pm I would get an SMS check-in from about 40 people every day simply with a number, so I knew who to follow up with and not worry too much.”
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She revealed it was only during a due diligence program in 2014, which had her study the sharing of patient data and how people use technology, that the ‘penny dropped.’
“I was doing that study and giving the feedback to the company when my phone started going nuts with everyone giving their 4 o’clock check-in and it was just that penny drop moment of ‘Oh wow, we can achieve so much and help so many people through technology.’”
Amanda said that was the last project she ever did before it was full steam ahead into research and development for the app, and she didn’t stop until it was out.
“I just knew it was something that people needed…I mean I don’t know a person who hasn’t lost a friend to suicide or nearly lost someone,” Amanda said, admitting she too could have done with a tool like Looper during her past struggles with mental health.
Collaborating with a team of experts at Social Health Innovations, Amanda said the priority was to create a free app that incorporated gamification qualities, similar to the likes of Tinder’s swipe features.
The intention was to specically appeal to men aged 25-40, where the rate of suicide and depression is highest.
“We’ve all got men in our life who just don’t talk, so that was a problem we really wanted to solve,” she said, while also revealing the app has successfully achieved a ‘really fantastic’ number of male users.
In fact, since launching in December 2017, the app has received overwhelming support with over 70% of users checking in almost daily and 100,000 check-ins so far, of which 17000 were SOS (3 or below).
“To think they’ve got support in real time gives me goosebumps, it’s what the app is all about,” Amanda said.
The team behind Be A Looper are also looking towards the future with plans for an enterprise version of the app and ways to apply the system to real life scenarios.
This app is a game-changer.
And the experts seem to agree, with Be A Looper in the running for The Best Use of Mobile for Accessibility & Inclusion Award at the Global Mobile Awards in Barcelona this year.
All we have to say now is, get on to it!
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