MeeTwo, a unique new free social media app to help teenagers deal with stress and anxiety has won a prestigious £15,000 Teach First innovation award.
MeeTwo enables teenagers to safely and anonymously ask questions and share their advice and experiences with other young people. 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.
Teach First Innovation Award
“MeeTwo harnesses the benefits of social media to create a new, safe mobile learning platform, especially for children with a less supportive home environment,” said the judges at the Teach First Innovation Awards ceremony in London on Thursday, March 30th. The award is a nationwide competition to find the next big ideas that will help ensure no child’s educational success is limited by their socio-economic background.
The MeeTwo Team
MeeTwo was co-founded by Dr Kerstyn Comley, an educational technologist and founder of Wapping High School in East London, and Suzi Godson, a leading expert in sex and relationships, psychologist and Childline counsellor.
MeeTwo has been developed in collaboration with young users at The Wellington Academy, Stanley Park High School and Bow School. The project has received philanthropic funding from The School Of Social Entrepreneurs and Texel Finance, as well as support from The Business Enterprise Department at Birkbeck University. The money from the TeachFirst award will help to fund new research into adolescent anxiety, which will be carried out by Birkbeck’s psychology department.
MeeTwo is supported by a diverse advisory group with a broad range of experience including Adolescent Psychotherapist Nick Midgley, CAMHS Counsellor, Lauren Thackeray, Assistant headteacher, Adam Walthaus and youth engagement specialist, Alice McDonnell at Livity.
Teenage Mental Health
Experts are now describing the escalation in adolescent anxiety as a "slow-growing epidemic”. In a 2016 Department of Education survey, 37% of 14-year-old girls reported feeling unhappy, worthless or unable to concentrate.
Children’s minister Edward Timpson says, “We know that young people with mental health problems are more likely to struggle at school. If they don’t get the support they need to succeed, we reduce their chances of living and earning well as adults.”
“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,” says Dr Comley.
The Benefit Of A Moderated Online Peer Support Model
Young people with suicidal thoughts are four and a half times more likely to experience pro-suicide responses when posting to an unmoderated advice site. Young people are also 27 times more likely to receive posts that are offensive. (Boehm, 2015).
“I like MeeTwo because you can express your thoughts and feelings that you bottle up because you think they are completely silly, but because you send them anonymously, you find out that other people have the same thing and you no longer feel stupid”.
Year 9 student, Stanley Park High School
“At the Wellington Academy we recognise that immediate action needs to be taken to improve the wellbeing of teenagers. MeeTwo has great potential and we are delighted that our students helped MeeTwo win the Teach First Innovation Award," said Dr Mike Milner, Executive Principal, of The Wellington Academy in Wiltshire.
MeeTwo on the App Store
MeeTwo on Google Play