‘Be A Looper’, a new mental health mobile application by Social Health Innovations, has been announced as a finalist in the Global Mobile Awards 2018, known as ‘The Oscars of the mobile industry’ – the nod coinciding with the technology’s official global launch this year.
The proprietary check-in and peer support app helps to keep users “in the Loop” with up to five people. The tool, created by leading mental health and design specialists at Social Health Innovations is the only mental health finalist in the coveted GLOMOs.
The app launched in Beta in December 2017 and has spread organically to 55 countries with over 70% of the users actively using the tool each day.
What is the motivation behind Be A Looper?
The launch of ‘Be A Looper’ represents the rise of mental health technologies in response to mental health disorders being one of the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide. The World Health Organisation states “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional.”
To ensure familiarity, the app comes with a set Candy Crush, Snapchat and Tinder inspired features to keep users “in the Loop” with up to five people globally, confidentially sharing everything from how their day is tracking through to sharing stress and anxiety levels. The app has been under development since 2014 and has accumulated strong evidence of the need for a dedicated suicide prevention app which harnesses peer support.
Founder of The Sanctuary Byron Bay, Michael Goldberg, is a both Seed investor and advisor to Social Health Innovations. “It is rewarding to channel the professional and practical knowledge of myself and my clinical team into a technology that is free and accessible to all globally” said Goldberg. The Sanctuary is the world’s leading rehabilitation facility with a 90% success rate. Other team members have professional backgrounds including Apple, Wamar Technologies, LifeIQ, Google, Royal Marines Club, Charles River Ventures, Ramsay Healthcare and Team EXOS.
What is the story behind Be A Looper?
The inspiration for ‘Be A Looper’ began when CEO and Founder Amanda Hart became increasingly concerned with how to manage her deep personal relationships in her late teens following a string of suicides by friends. Over the last 12 years, Hart encouraged her peers to reach out to her with a score between 1-10, after realising it was an unobtrusive way to keep tabs on their mental health. As a result, up to 40 friends a day would check-in their mental health score with her at 4pm over SMS. This technique was learned at a Suicide Prevention house for young adults that she managed.
In 2014, Hart engaged internationally acclaimed clinical neuropsychologist Dr Roy Sugarman to help lead development of the app. He states that the application addresses the overwhelming new digital stress placed upon us through modern lifestyles. Dr Sugarman says “The success of the proprietary application is a testament that social support, chain-diffusion and role modelling vulnerability plays a significant role in chronic disease self-management and in lowering the suicide rate, globally using technology.”
“After 3.5 years of research and development, followed by explosive growth during our beta launch, our team are thrilled be recognised by the leading global mobile body as a finalist in the Social Good – Best Use of Mobile for Accessibility and Inclusion category, in the 2018 Global Mobile Awards.” said Hart.
“As a purely altruistic social enterprise, we are thrilled this highest recognition allows us to extend our reach, ensuring our free mobile app gets into the hands of those most at risk of suicide to mitigate risk while also supporting the caregivers. Our platform leads users to immediate support lines acting as a conduit between the two. To date, our app has sent 1691 SOS alerts triggered by users.”
The global team of 15, with headquarters in USA and Australia, is led by 31-year-old CEO and Founder Australian Amanda Hart and will compete against category finalist, Microsoft.