Monday, April 7, 2014

TalkLife: A Supportive Social Network for People Who Need Someone to Talk To

TalkLife is a different kind of social network – it's one that saves lives. Launched by Jamie Druitt in 2012, TalkLife is a community where users can talk about life's difficulties, including self-harm, depression, anxiety, anorexia, and suicide.

TalkLife was born out of Druitt's own painful personal experience. When his wife left him many years ago, he sought out other people who had also gone through divorce. Druitt then realized there were bigger problems in the world.

“I don't want to play down divorce, but when you've got miserable kids who don't have family support or the right friends, everything else pales,” he says. Hearing the stories of kids who self-harmed, he adds, woke him up and shook him.

Druitt created TalkLife to provide a safe space for young people who want to feel supported and encouraged. When life is hard, many of us turn to a good friend we can trust. But sometimes they don't have all the answers, or we feel like no one can understand us. Druitt wants people to know they're never alone and life is never hopeless. TalkLife serves as a stepping stone to a better life.

Available on iPhone and Android, TalkLife lets users share their personal problems, help new friends, and encourage the community. Users can open up about mental health, relationships, school, work, or whatever is bothering them, and they can do so anonymously if they want. More than 5,500 people ages 13 to 21 use the free app every week, and the community is moderated by over 20 volunteers and 8 admins to keep it as safe and as positive as possible.

So far, TalkLife has been bootstrapped by Druitt, who quit his job in real estate in 2013 to focus on the startup full time. Druitt's work was recognized at the 2014 StartupSmart Awards, where he won the Best Social Change Entrepreneur honor.

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