End The Stigma: New Red Cross App By People With Mental Health Concerns

April 30, 2019

A new app has been created to help people living with mental health concerns to reach out to supportive family and friends who can be there for them when they need it the most.

The free app called My Team is the result of Red Cross working with around 250 people with lived experience of mental health concerns.

Red Cross Director of Community Services Kerry McGrath says the organisation spoke with hundreds of people living in Australia with mental health concerns, alongside service providers Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Black Dog to understand what good mental health support might look like, especially in regional and remote locations.

“One of the main things we heard is that access to services is critical, but what’s often missing is something much simpler, and that’s good relationships and social connection,” she said.

“People living with mental health concerns want an easy way to reach out to supportive family and friends who can be there for them when they need it the most.

“My Team takes the stigma and shame out of mental health conversations and empowers people to ask for assistance from a trusted network of supporters when they are feeling down, and makes it easy for those people to help and respond.

“Red Cross wants to see Australia support people who may be feeling isolated and this app can do that on a wide scale – connecting hundreds of thousands of people who help each other stay on track and not struggle with mental illness alone.”

Twenty-five-year-old Disability Support Worker from West Melbourne, Beck has lived with mental health concerns since she was a teenager and has helped design and test the My Team app.

“When my mental health was at its worst, having a conversation or contacting an organisation for support was very daunting,” said Beck.

“An app where I can connect with mum, family, my boyfriend, and say ‘hey guys help me out’ is a huge step, especially when you’re in the worst headspace.

“I love this app because I get to set up a team of my supporters who can check in on me and message as soon as they see I’ve had a bad day, via simple stuff like a mood emoji.

“That means they can easily ask ‘hey what’s going on?’ and at the same time congratulate me for completing my goals.

“We need more tools like My Team which allow people to get support from those they know and trust, to complement professional support.

If you suffer from anxiety, talking to a stranger on the phone could be terrifying, and you can’t call your psychologist or psychiatrist every time there is a problem.”

My Team is free on iOS, Android or redcross.org.au/myteam.

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