New apps provide mental health support

Mental illness is reportedly on the rise in the U.S., yet access to care is declining. Given this growing epidemic, more resources are normalizing the conversation around mental health, while new startups are emerging to provide relief in the form of online support networks and on-demand access to trained responders.


While there’s no shortage of digital therapy tools for people to discuss their mental health challenges with licensed professionals, Huddle provides peer-to-peer support, so users can connect with others experiencing similar struggles and find community and catharsis. Users can join support groups and upload videos of themselves talking about their feelings, experiences, suggestions for coping, and comment on and reply to others’ videos. They can also directly message the person who posted each video. While Huddle allows people to pixelate their video if they want to be anonymous, most choose not to do so as the platform provides a safe space and many find it beneficial to be vulnerable.


Startup Sunrise Health aims to help people find support in between therapy sessions by providing group therapy via text. Users create pseudonyms to remain anonymous and select the issue they’re dealing with, such as depression, grief, or PTSD, and then are placed in a support group with less than a dozen people who are experiencing a similar condition. Each group has a professional therapist who connects with them individually and gives them diagnostic forms. Users can then chat with their group 24/7, while having the guidance of a licensed professional, and AI to prevent abuse and detect if emergencies arise. In addition to texting, users can also join moderator-led group phone calls.


When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, dialing 911 isn’t necessarily the best way to get them the help they need. Non-profit startup and mobile app Concrn seeks to provide a more relevant solution in such scenarios by connecting people needing support with compassionate responders. The non-profit platform, which currently operates in select areas of San Francisco, has a team of responders and volunteers with backgrounds in social work, emergency medical training, and other related areas. Once they arrive at a scene, they can determine if they can handle the situation or if the police’s support is needed.