The mental health support startup Circles is launching a free and anonymous support facility for anyone who needs help.
The subscription-based platform connects people who are experiencing similar life challenges, such as divorce, grief and infertility.
“Its new feature, called Voices, is available at no cost and will host groups of people who want to discuss shared challenges.
They will also be able to give and get support, and receive guidance from a peer who has gone through the same lived experience.”
Circles is using some of a recent $16.5 million investment round to fund the Voices project. It says it will lower the barrier to mental health support for those who find that one-to-one therapy is either not feasible or effective.
The anonymous support groups will be guided by hand-picked Voices partners, many of whom have partnered with the app in its beta phase.
Individuals selected were already publicly sharing their stories to help others, whether via Instagram, like @rage_against_infertility’s Ashley Hingston, or books or public speeches.
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Kelley Lynn, author of ‘My Husband is Not a Rainbow: The Brutally Awful, Hilarious Truth About Life, Love, Grief, & Loss’, publicly shared her story in TedX events and is now guiding the VoiceRooms.
Kelley, who has been guiding the VoiceRooms on the loss of a loved one, said: “I haven’t experienced anything like Voices before. People in my VoiceRoom don’t necessarily want to be seen, they might be too emotional.
“That makes Voices so different from a lot of support-type groups that are out there – there really is no pressure, no commitment. We can’t see you. We don’t need to know your real name. You have absolutely nothing to lose.
“There’s a huge value in speaking to somebody that’s gone through something similar because they’re not looking at you like you’re crazy or with pity.”
Founded in 2020 by Irad Eichler and Dan Landa, Circles has provided hundreds of thousands of paying members with support groups via weekly video chat for emotional support assistance, personalized content including self-help exercises and webinars, and the guidance of trained, vetted mental health professionals.
The company was awarded the 2021 Best Platform for Group Therapy by VeryWell Mind. A portion of the company’s recent funding – a $16.5 million Series A round – will be dedicated to expanding the application’s services and the new Voices feature.