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The internet is a fantastic addition to civilization, but it is also responsible for a lot of damage and hurt. Online bullying is a major problem, largely for teenagers but also for adults, and the isolation of staring into a digital void for hours or days at a time can certainly take its toll. We are all chained to our smartphones and laptops, even those of us who try and utilize them as little as possible. How nice then, to see the internet give something back. It comes in the form of Supportiv, a mental health-focused app which aims to offer lost souls a way to connect with others through their smartphone. It’s out now for iOS and Android.
The ambition of Supportiv is far-reaching; the developers behind it obviously think about the bigger picture. It acts as a kind of portal support group, which is tailored specifically to each user’s current negative health state. The idea is, if you’re feeling down about something, you log in to Supportiv, select what’s getting you blue, and then join an online, live group which are suffering from the exact same issues. The group is made up of other Supportiv users, but remains anonymous, so you can feel free to get personal.
The layout and design of the app are great. You first choose the subject you’re feeling down about, then put a name on the emotion you’re feeling about it, whether it’s anxious, angry, frustrated, etc. This then dictates your support group. It’s specific enough to get to the heart of your particular issue each time you open it, but also simple and straightforward enough to engage with on a regular basis. This is a fine balance, especially when it relates to mental health (a controversial topic at the best of times), but the developers manage it really well here.
The app is free to download, but once you select a group to join, it costs 15c a minute. You can stay as long as you want, and aren’t committed to paying any set amount; in fact, if you’re not satisfied and don’t feel supported by you Supportiv experience, you can get your money back. It’s a small price to pay for such an adventurous and potentially positive experience, and is certainly a hell of a lot cheaper than a therapist. If you find yourself feeling low on a regular basis, take Supportiv for a spin from the App Store or Google Play, and see if you can lift your spirits with the help of other users!