Launching today (Thursday) by the NSPCC’s Childline, ‘For Me’ is the first app to provide counselling to young people in need of help directly through their smartphone in the UK and Channel Islands.
The free download allows users to interact with all of Childline’s online services include one to one chats with a counsellor, the ‘Ask Sam’ problem pages and entrance to their private ‘lockers’ – areas where they have their own daily mood trackers and can write down personal thoughts.
It was invented by four teenagers who wanted to develop technology which would benefit the community and realised there is an urgent need for young people to have easy access to confidential advice and support.
When Childline first launched 30 years ago all contact was over the phone, with many calls being made from telephone boxes. Now 71 per cent of counselling sessions across the UK are delivered online via email and chat, with the majority of the remaining counselling sessions being conducted via mobile phones. Last year, alone 1.8 million sessions on the charity’s website were conducted via mobile devices.
The app has been named ‘For Me’ to ensure that it can be discreetly installed on mobile devices, meaning that if someone happens to see the phone they can’t tell that it’s a Childline service.
Laura Hindle, one of the development team, said: “I am so proud to see ‘For Me’ in the app store and hope it will really make a difference to people our age who are struggling.
“Our initial ideas for the app came about during a school lesson when we were thinking of ways to make technology benefit the community.
“Watching the idea evolve into a reality has been quite a journey and it’s great to see the finished product ready to help young people. Let’s hope the app goes from strength to strength by offering invaluable support in such an accessible format.”
‘For Me’ is now available from the iOS app store, with an Android version due to be released shortly.
Matt Forde, national head for NSPCC Scotland said: “Its development will enable our younger generation to tap directly into Childline’s expanding range of services whenever and wherever they need our help.”