Did you have a rise in people coming to you through the pandemic about this topic?
Our rise in downloads all over the world since March has confirmed that people universally want and need human connection, especially right now. Since March, HearMe has surged to more than 10,000 volunteer listeners in 150 countries who provide support to more than 50,000 members and growing. The app has seen particularly high usage in the US, UK and India.
How do you help the individual through your app according to this problem?
HearMe is designed to provide real-time human connection so that everyone--even those who are shy or embarrassed about reaching out for support--has a listening presence at any time and anywhere. Our trained listeners are volunteers who want to provide support to anyone feeling anxious, lonely or who simply want to talk.
When you download HearMe, you can join as a member or listener. Listeners go through training in evidence-based active and reflective listening strategies, which enables them to help people build authentic connections and improve well-being. As a member, you are connected to a listener based on the category you select, such as LGBTQ identity, university, relationships and more. You can then chat with the listener for as long and as often as you need support.
In response to the needs of our user base we added three new channels dedicated to issues related to Parenting, Body Image and Disordered Eating, and Pregnancy and New Moms. With the COVID-19 pandemic adding to existing challenges, these new channels will allow our members to find the personalized support they need.
What advice would you give people who are struggling with this problem today?
There is a new overwhelming need to support mental wellness. With physical distancing and the overall uncertainty of this moment, there is an extreme sense of isolation and anxiety. It is extremely normal to feel fear and anxiety over what is happening in the world. However, you can’t “fix normal,” but what you can do is be available for others. No matter what each of us is experiencing, we could all use support as we navigate this new normal. We all need someone to share what we’re going through with a caring, empathetic person, and HearMe can provide the relief and support people need.
What has people's response been to your app helping them with this problem?
Over 90% of our members report improved moods and decreased levels of anxiety after engaging with a listener on the HearMe app. HearMe’s listener model relies on peer support which has been found to improve self-esteem, decrease substance use and depression and reduce hospitalization rates. Our users are also connected into our online community with thousands of people across the globe, where we host virtual events, share resources and provide support.