Experiences of a digital peer support app
Innovate UK funded MeeToo and the Anna Freud Centre to conduct an evaluation 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.
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.
Chief investigator: Professor Julian Edbrooke-Childs
We created 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. We carried out individual semi-structured interviews with young MeeToo app users from different schools. We analysed routinely collected activity data and experience and outcome questionnaire data. The questionnaire included bespoke items on users’ experiences of MeeToo. There were overall high levels of engagement with the questionnaires, with 876 young people completing at least one questionnaire.
Click here to download a summary of the research findings.
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 personal reflection, peer support and gaining insight about their mental health and wellbeing. 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 ways. 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 the judgement of others.
Ravaccia, G. G., Johnson, S. L., Morgan, N., Lereya, S. T., & Edbrooke-Childs, J. (2022). Experiences of using the digital support tool MeeToo: Mixed methods study. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting, 5(4), e37424. https://doi.org/10.2196/37424