"You should not be alone with your anxiety and personal challenges."
In the Swedish chat app Angelchat, you get help and support from an "angel" who has had the same problem as you.
It can be anything from stress and anxiety to addiction and self-destructive behavior.
- You get started in a few minutes and can start chatting. Even though we are anonymous, we become very close to each other, says Anna, one of the angels in the chat.
Nearly one in five people on earth suffers from mental illness, and the curve is pointing upwards, according to the WHO (World Health Organization).
- No one should have to be alone with their worries and anxieties. Angelchat is there for you to avoid that loneliness, says Anna, angel in the chat since the app started.
"Common to withdraw"
The Angelchat app has been downloaded by over 100,000 users, most of them young women. You can both search for and offer help in the app. - It is very common that we withdraw when we feel bad. We think it's up to us to feel better, but on the contrary, we need help. At Angelchat, you can start talking anonymously and break your isolation, says Anna.
Thanks to Angelchat's unique algorithms, users who need support are matched with an "angel" who has dealt with the same challenges, and is of the same gender, to increase security. - You can chat about whatever you want - it can be about everything from stress and sleep problems to addiction and physical pain.
Anna, who is 48 years old and lives in Stockholm, had alcohol problems but has been sober for four years, and has supported about 20 young women with addiction problems on Angelchat.
- Right now I am chatting with six people who have alcohol or drug problems, and they all stay sober and drug free - it feels like a miracle!
Tried to quit alcohol for ten years
The women Anna chats with were all alone in their addiction. They had never talked to anyone about their problems until they dared to chat.
- They felt great shame and had tried to quit on their own - just like me. For ten years I tried to quit, but it was only when I sought help that I finally succeeded.
How often do you talk?
- They are different. I talk to three of the girls every day, the others every week. A nice thing about Angelchat is that it is entirely up to you who seek help how often you want to chat.
Are you still anonymous to each other?
- Yes, all but one I met - I followed her to a meeting with the 12-step program. But even as anonymous, we quickly get very close to each other.
How do you help them?
- By listening, answering questions and telling them about how it was for me when I was at the bottom, and how I got on. I also give concrete advice on things that have helped me, it can be about creating new habits in everyday life, or about where they can turn for professional help. Several of my chat friends went to see an addiction center or follow the 12-step program.
What do you get out of being an angel?
- Helping others is perhaps the very best way to feel better yourself! I get perspective on my life, it also helps me stay sober. I recognize myself in everyone I chat with and am reminded of how it was for me. Anna believes that simplicity is an explanation for the chat quickly becoming popular.
- Seeking professional help can feel like a big step. You need to call and book an appointment - sometimes without even getting help, but simply end up in a queue. At Angelchat you can take the first step, it only takes a few minutes to get started.