STIGMA, the mental health startup that uses video storytelling to normalize conversations about mental health, today announced the launch of its native app available to download for free in both the App Store and Google Play. Through asynchronous text, audio, and video messages, the app connects people with others who share their lived experiences to exchange messages of HOPE.
“People aren’t comfortable talking about their mental health,” says Ariana Alejandra Gibson, CEO and founder of STIGMA, who personally lives with anxiety disorder, panic attacks and is the daughter of a father with schizophrenia. “A devastating repercussion of this is that the average time between someone experiencing their first symptom of mental illness and first seeking treatment is 11 years. We believe we can meaningfully lower this number by offering people safe spaces to practice talking about their mental health and easy ways to connect with others who are looking to do the same.”
The global mental health app market is expected to reach $17.5 billion dollars by 2030, yet many solutions in today’s market are focused on creating better experiences for people already in treatment. STIGMA is focused on attracting the 60-80% of people with treatable mental illness who don’t seek treatment by helping them get on a path to healing more quickly. “We’re not a replacement for treatment or therapy,” says Gibson. “We’re a place to find social connection and develop the vulnerability required to successfully ask for help.”
“STIGMA has found a way to get more people involved in the conversations surrounding mental health,” says Steven Galanis, CEO and co-founder of Cameo and one of STIGMA’s first investors. “Every day at Cameo we see the positive impact human connection has on the people who invite us to join them in the celebratory moments of their lives. What impressed me about STIGMA is how quickly Ariana and her team created a brand that people trust enough to invite into the harder moments of life. I think STIGMA is going to shatter taboos surrounding mental health because they’re using the way people like to communicate and applying this to a topic that can be hard to talk about.”
Following this launch, STIGMA will be focused on expanding its partnerships with behavioral and mental health providers with the goal to offer patients’ another tool in their mental health toolkits that can be used in between sessions and in the exact moment of need. Additionally, the company will continue to be the safest place online to talk about mental health by moderating every message before it’s shared.
“People are looking for safe places to talk about their mental health,” says Gibson. “Recent research we conducted found that while 78% of people said they’d be there to support a friend or family member who was struggling, 70% felt they themselves had no one to talk to about their mental health when they needed support. Our respondents overwhelmingly said they’re looking for someone who understands and shares their lived experience.”
The iOS app is available to download in the App Store, and the Android app is available to download via Google Play today. Users can search “the STIGMA app” in the App store to download it.