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Anxiety support app for teenagers wins Teach First Innovation Award

MeeTwo, a new social media app founded by Birkbeck PhD candidate Suzi Godson and her business partner Dr Kerstyn Comley, has won a prestigious £15,000 Teach First Innovation Award. The app is designed to help teenagers deal with stress and anxiety, which experts from the mental health charity Sane are now describing as a "slow-growing epidemic."

Dr Comley said: “There is a critical shortage of effective early intervention solutions to help young people develop the resilience they need to cope with everyday anxieties, yet there is universal recognition that early support prevents problems escalating.”

MeeTwo enables teenagers to safely and anonymously ask questions and share their advice and experiences with other young people in order to combat or mitigate feelings of anxiousness. It provides guided peer support, expert help, inbuilt educational and creative resources as well as links to UK charities and helplines.

Every post and reply is checked before it reaches the app to eliminate bullying and humiliation. Sophisticated back-end safeguarding picks up vulnerable children or risky posts and redirects users to appropriate support. Teenagers can also privately explore specialist support groups such as Childline, Young Minds or Brook without feeling stigmatised.

The Teach First Innovation Awards focus on finding the next big ideas to help ensure no child’s educational success is limited by their socio-economic background.

Comley and Godson collected the award at a ceremony in London on Thursday 30 March, where the judges praised it, saying: “MeeTwo harnesses the benefits of social media to create a new, safe mobile learning platform, especially for children with a less supportive home environment.”

The project has received philanthropic funding from The School of Social Entrepreneurs and Texel Finance, as well from the Enterprise and Entrepreneurship support function at Birkbeck. The money from the Teach First award will help to fund new research into adolescent anxiety, which will be carried out by the Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck.

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Published: 03 April 2017