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Tag: mental health (page 1 of 4)

Huddle Redefines The Importance Of Social Support: App Review

This writer was not compensated for reviewing this product and her opinions are her own.

When in-person support groups weren’t meeting the mark for one of the founders of the app, Huddle, he developed a solution. How about an app that provides community support through video?

I recently chatted with Tyler, one of the founders of Huddle, and he described how the app was developed to support addicts in recovery. They have since expanded this app to provide group chats for people with anxiety, self-image issues, eating disorders and physical disabilities, to name a few. Huddle is also proud to support undocumented individuals who need support. They have an “Immigrant” support group where people can discuss their anxieties, stories and hopes for the future.

support

 

Their groups include:

  • Depression
  • Self-Image
  • Addiction
  • Stress & Anxiety
  • Relationships
  • High School Problems
  • College Stress
  • Military girlfriends/wives
  • People of Color
  • Abuse Recovery
  • Healthy Lifestyle Support
  • Bipolar
  • Borderline Personality Disorder/EUPD
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Semicolon Group
  • Side Effects
  • Eating Disorders
  • Grief and Loss
  • LGBTQ + Community
  • Women’s Experiences
  • Support For The Betrayer
  • Body Positivity
  • PTSD + CPTSD
  • Quitting Tobacco
  • Parenting
  • Self-Love
  • Social Anxiety
  • Trichotillomania
  • Spectrum
  • Family Problems
  • Poz (HIV + status)
  • Caregivers
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Physical Disability
  • Immigrant’s Experience
  • Spina Bifida

Huddle believes that video provides a better conversation than text. When people are reaching out for help a text mesage can only go so far. Delayed responses in texts can be harmful to someone in need.

I have tested out Huddle’s app and one of the pieces I like is that you can choose to have your picture pixelated. Tyler mentioned that they notice people begin un-pixelating their pictures after they get comfortable in a group. I have facilitated group therapy sessions before and I have seen similar comfort levels change after people begin to feel less judgment and more open to share.

This app is easy to navigate and I love how it provides a synopsis of what to expect within each group. Plus, they provide hotline numbers for anyone in crisis. The app has a no-bullying policy as well.

As I spoke to Tyler about my work in outpatient settings he said that they hoped Huddle could be used as aftercare for someone exiting inpatient or outpatient treatment. When someone leaves addiction or mental health treatment, they are reminded a million times to “go to meetings” and “call your support network” but I always wonder if they stick to those promises. This app could be another resource for people who don’t have the time or financial means to attend meetings or support groups.

Peer networks and social supports are crucial in an age of isolation and tech addiction. The premise behind this app is client centered, sensitive to people’s mental health needs and appears to lessen the barriers people face when seeking support outside of their inner circle.

This app is now available on iTunes and you can join the waiting list for Android here!

 

The Connection Between Minority Mental Health And Belonging

As a Mexican-American, I naturally gravitate towards wellness issues that focus on people of color. Inclusivity is becoming more than just a buzzword and honestly, it’s nice to finally be invited to the party.

In lieu of spouting off statistics about the effects of depression and anxiety on people of color, I want to explore a problem with mental health that goes unnoticed.

Belonging.

Being seen.

Although there are layers of barriers that people of color face in relation to mental illness (inadequate healthcare coverage, citizenship, poverty, taboo subject in your home), having a feeling of being unwanted or unseen can be damaging to one’s core.

You see belonging relates to fairness.

Fairness is what our kids gripe about in their classrooms. Fairness is missing in our board rooms, where the majority of upper management are Caucasian males. Abused women and mothers want fairness in courtrooms for restraining orders and custody agreements. (Don’t ask me how many times I have seen the court give the kids to an abusive father because he earns more money).

When you’re treated unfairly and go “unseen” you develop a sense that you don’t belong. For minorities, every incidence of being passed over for a job, harassed by cops, having nasty glares from sales associates or pre-judgments about your intelligence builds layers of “I don’t belong” messages.

Imagine adding on years of these messages with a newly diagnosed mental illness.

For anyone with mental illness you may wonder, who will believe me? Who will dismiss your illness and claim you have to “suck it up?” How do you talk about anxiety and depression with elder family members who survived a dangerous migration, escaping a war torn country or extreme poverty?

Even when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I wondered how I would be judged? How can I complain about being tired when I have friends who are running non-stop with kids, career, mortgages and large families? And how do I describe fibromyalgia as more than being “tired?”

And as popular culture focuses again on the mindset behind suicidal ideations, many suicide survivors would admit that their thoughts cannot be trusted with loved ones. You can have the greatest family in the world but suicide is not a topic you can bring up comfortably without people shoving questions and doctors down your throat. So if you feel suicidal, where can you feel like you belong?

Luckily, social media is providing groups and websites chock full of resources, hotlines and chats that are opening up discussions about all these sensitive topics.

My wish? In this expansive web of social connectivity, I want people struggling with painful symptoms to find a safe spot where they know they belong, and will be accepted.

And my continued passion with this blog and future projects, is to open up the door for people of color to have these conversations and begin the healing process.

Resources:

Talkspace – Online Therapy

Project UROK: Resource for teens and young adults

Buddy Project: Project that uplifts young people with mental illness and pairs them with supportive friends. They frequently share Twitter threads full of resources (playlists, affirmations, etc).

Affirm podcast:  Podcast for women of color created by a mental health therapist.

To Write Love On Her Arms: Non-profit devoted to finding help for people dealing with suicide, self-harm and depression.

Tessera Collective: Online community and empowerment for girls and women of color.

PsychCentral: Mental health social network overseen by mental health professionals. Fabulous resource for ALL topics related to psychology.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Trevor Project Crisis Line (LGBTQ): 1-866-488-7386

 

 

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