by JAIMIE DRUITT
We all face challenges throughout our lives. During these times some of us have a great support network to rely on, while others aren’t so lucky.
But even with family and friends rallying behind you, it is inevitable that there will still be feelings of loneliness and isolation.
I knew this all too well when I was going through a relationship breakdown. I had people there for me, but they couldn’t help in the early hours as I lay awake trying to process all of the feelings, thoughts and pain.
It got me thinking, there must be thousands of people out there dealing with far greater challenges than me. Where can they go and who can they talk to, at any time?
It was from this thought that the Talklife iPhone App was born. I decided to create a place where people could go to talk about whatever they are facing, and be supported by a caring community who can relate.
The iPhone was the logical place to start. For many people, their smartphone is within reach 24 hours a day and is a fantastic tool to reach out for a real-time response.
It’s simple to use. After logging in, there are two options – “Help Me” or “Help Others”. Selecting “Help Me” opens a box for someone to share whatever is on their mind, and they can do so anonymously if they wish. “Help Others” reveals a timeline of posts from users, and anyone can comment and offer advice or empathy. Quite simply, we provide a place for people to talk.
Users don’t shy away from taboo topics. They talk about mental health issues such as depression, self-harm and even suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it is confronting but sadly for many people these battles are a daily reality and talking is an important first step in their healing process.
People also share their “wins”, and these posts are a huge inspiration to the community.
There is an overwhelming need. The app has only been available for about a year but is already approaching 20,000 users and one million sessions (“sessions” is how many times the app is used) from across 120 countries worldwide.
50 percent of our users are aged between 13 and 17, and 79 percent of users are female.