Experiences of a digital support tool – MeeToo

MeeToo commissioned the Anna Freud Centre to examine young people's views and experience of the MeeToo app, how it can be improved, and the barriers and facilitators to engaging with digital peer support. The aim was to gather more evidence on the effectiveness of digital peer support and to understand why and how it helps young people. It is particularly important that we better understand how to support young people to use digital mental health self-care given the current global pandemic and corresponding increased stress and adversity.

MeeToo is a fully moderated digital peer support tool that is widely used by young people in a range of settings. Users can post anonymously about anything troubling them, and receive replies and support from other users within their age group. All posts and replies are checked by moderators before they go live, and in-house counsellors provide extra support if it is needed.

Julian Edbrooke-Childs, Head of Evaluation at the Anna Freud Centre, says: “Evidence on the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health is already emerging around the world, including increases in rates of stress, anxiety and depression. When it comes to supporting them, accessible and evidence-based approaches are vital. We are therefore delighted to be working with MeeToo to assess the impact and outcomes of the app, building understanding of how we can best support children and young people’s mental health.”

How did we conduct the research?

Click here to download a summary of the research findings.

The research involved:

  • A logic model which informed the research methods during the project set-up, which was co-produced by researchers at the Anna Freud Centre and the MeeToo team.
  • Individual semi-structured interviews with young MeeToo app users from different schools.
  • The collection and analysis of routinely collected activity data and experience and outcome questionnaire data. The questionnaire included bespoke items on users’ experience of using MeeToo. There were overall high levels of engagement with the questionnaires, with 876 young people completing at least one questionnaire.

What did we find out?

The analysis of qualitative and quantitative data showed that overall young people benefitted from using the MeeToo app. Young people welcomed MeeToo as a safe space for both personal reflection, peer support and gaining insight about their mental health and wellbeing. The analysis of qualitative data showed that anonymity made it easier for young people to be open and they were able to connect with other young people with similar experiences in safe but meaningful way. Using the app led to a statistically significant increase in young women’s confidence, knowledge, and mental health management skills. Overall, young people using the app reported feeling better and less alone and using MeeToo helped them to gain confidence in both connecting to and helping others on and offline.

Evidence from this evaluation indicates that MeeToo is an effective source of peer support for young people, which is particularly important given the high levels of need of its users. The provision of an anonymous space for peer support was described as important to most young people because users felt comfortable in expressing their feelings, thoughts, and experiences freely, without fearing to be judged by others, as other research has also found (Andalibi, Flood, 2021).

Please check back on our website in early 2022 to see the full write up of the research.

You can follow our project partners on Social Media:

MeeToo on Twitter: @meetoo_helps

For more information on the MeeToo App: visit www.meetoo.help

Reference:

Andalibi, N., & Flood, M. K. (2021). Considerations in Designing Digital Peer Support for Mental Health: Interview Study Among Users of a Digital Support System (Buddy Project). JMIR Mental Health, 8(1), e21819. https://mental.jmir.org/2021/1/e21819/?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=JMIR_TrendMD_1