The UK’s first free peer to peer support app, the brainchild of three local men, is being launched this month in a bid to help people with mental health issues find friendship and support, whatever their state of mind.
The “Unmasked” app is designed to enable users to create bonds with people they wouldn’t ordinarily meet.
Users of Unmasked can block or report other users and, in vulnerable times can press an alert button, which works on GPS and points them to the nearest caring agency, such as The Samaritans or local crisis team.
Doug Dennison, 35, and Logan Smith, 26, have been friends for over a decade. The men each had their own individual reasons for seeking help in the mental health arena, which led to the idea of the app.
Logan, who lives in Sowerby Bridge, came up with the initial idea for Unmasked when his wife was struggling to cope with her anxiety and depression between sessions of counselling.
Doug is from Hebden Bridge and used to work in sales for Ford when tragedy struck his family. Doug and his ex-partner were expecting twins in 2008.
Tragically, due to complications during delivery, both babies died in hospital. Two years later, a similar catastrophic event took place when Doug and another partner lost their child.
Doug said: “The experiences I’ve had have left me with severe mental scarring. When my friend Logan mentioned his idea for a mental health support app, I realised I had ideas and a lot of relevant experience to bring to the project too.”
The third partner is Robin Cunningham, a 57-year-old from Hebden Bridge who always considered himself “bullet proof”, against anxiety and depression.
He said: “I didn’t realise I was depressed, I coped during the working day, and shot home at night, drew the curtains, and just carried on.”
The app has been written by Middlesbrough based developers MGC.