Creating a safe social therapy environment for young people with thoughts of suicide.

Young people experiencing thoughts of suicide have typically been excluded from social media-based interventions due to safety fears. Affinity was designed to change this. Powered by our MOSTware system, the platform integrates closely moderated peer-to-peer social networking with specialist clinician and peer support. This provides young people contemplating suicide with a safe space to connect and share their experiences with young people who understand their struggle to survive. Affinity’s social element is complemented with evidence-based therapeutic interventions targeting known risk factors for suicide, including depression and interpersonal conflict.

Affinity is designed for integration with face-to-face mental health services, to facilitate full social and emotional recovery in young people in need of intensive support. The platform has been tested via a 3-month pilot study with young people aged 18 to 24 receiving intensive early intervention services for clinical depression and suicidal thoughts at Orygen Youth Health. The study concluded in late 2018 and results are currently under analysis. However, initial usage analytics indicate that Affinity provides a completely safe and highly engaging social therapy environment for young people experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Affinity was made possible by funding from a Mary Elizabeth Watson Early Career Fellowship from the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

I remember one time when I was feeling really sad and I think I was crying in my bed and I realised I needed to calm down… and so I logged into Affinity… I think it was the first time I was using the guided meditation and I needed a way to step back from my thoughts. And that was very helpful. And also I logged on just to check out that part, but then I saw some really nice messages from other people on Affinity and that also helped me feel a lot better.” – Affinity member