Israeli mental health app Circles is launching a new feature today to aid people in need of mental health support.
Membership will allow users to join a support group of eight people which has weekly video calls and 24/7 support from peers and mental health professionals.
Circles sees its service as a solution to the problem many individuals face of not being able to afford 1:1 therapy.
A new feature
A new feature called Voices is a similar format to their paid version. The meetings, however, will be only a voice call and have different peer facilitators.
Circles is dedicating a portion of the $16.5 million funding it recently received to this project.
How does it work?
Participants can drop in anonymously to conversations to give and get support from those going through similar struggles - from loss of a loved one to infertility to coping with a chronic illness and more. These support rooms run every day at various times on a variety of topics, so that anyone who needs support at that moment, can find it.
The weekly meetings are guided by peers who have been experiencing similar challenges and were already sharing their stories, whether it be over their Instagram accounts or through a book.
“People in my VoiceRoom don't necessarily want to be seen, they might be too emotional. That makes Voices so different from a lot of support-type groups that are out there – there really is no pressure, no commitment. We can't see you. We don't need to know your real name. You have absolutely nothing to lose,” said Kelley Lynn, one of the voice room guides, and author of “My Husband is Not a Rainbow: The Brutally Awful, Hilarious Truth.”
A peer-reviewed study from the International Journal of Nursing Studies found that patients benefitted from talking to people who shared the same hardships online. Finding recognition and understanding resulted in increased optimism, better emotional and social well-being and more.
“When you bring together eight people going through a specific life event, you get a very real perspective and a whole lot of understanding,” reads the Circles website.
“When you bring together eight people going through a specific life event, you get a very real perspective and a whole lot of understanding.”Circles
The website warns that while its service is not a replacement for mental health help from licensed professionals and is not the same as 1:1 therapy, it recommends trying it.
Now, with Voices, it is even more financially accessible for those who want to test out the comradery many feel from talking with people struggling with similar hardships.
“People feel better after talking to someone going through similar experiences,” said CEO and founder Irad Eichler. “Anyone who feels alone and like no one understands them, can jump on and find someone who does, all day, every day.”