Linn, 26, has felt lonely, she has had a lot of anxiety and for the past five years she has had alcohol problems. Thanks to the Swedish app Angelchat, she gets help from an "angel" who used to have the same problem.
- Today I know that I am worthy of being loved and that my personality is appreciated.
Download Angelchat and start chatting anonymously with others who understand - the app is free and it's free to chat. Download it here in the App Store or Google Play
The number of young Swedes being treated for depression and anxiety symptoms has doubled since 2006, the National Board of Health and Welfare reported in June this year. The increase is greatest in the 18-24 age group, and especially among women.
At the same time, many people feel bad but do not get help at all.
The goal of the Angelchat app is that no one should have to be alone with their anxiety and worry. You can both seek and offer help in the app, which has been downloaded by over 100,000 users; most are young women. Everyone who downloads the app and starts chatting can be anonymous.
"It immediately felt good to start chatting," says Linn.
Sought help after a relapse
Linn, 26, who lives in Stockholm, was diagnosed with autism as a 21-year-old. She has had a lot of anxiety in her teens and felt that she never fit in. She has had alcohol problems for about five years.
- I downloaded Angelchat after a relapse. I have sought help in both addiction care and psychiatry and also tried to quit on my own. What I have missed is a person or context that understands the side effects of alcoholism because they themselves have been through it.
"Started chatting after a few minutes"
Angelchat's algorithms match you who seek help with a person who has had the same problem as you, and is of the same sex. Those who provide support are called "angels" in the app.
- I had only been logged in for a few minutes when me and the angel Anna, as she is called, matched. It immediately felt good to talk to her. Since she has also had severe alcohol problems, it was easy to recognize and relate. It was also very easy to log in and the feeling in the app is calm and safe.
How does your angel help you?
- It was a huge relief to talk to Anna who has been at the bottom herself and fought her way up - she gives me peace, supports and inspires me. Specifically, she has introduced me to the 12-step program and now I go to meetings with others who have addiction problems. In the beginning, Anna and I chatted frequently, now it has slowed down a bit but I feel safe because I can always get in touch with her. It's so incredibly valuable - that she's there and understands.
Together against loneliness
Today Linn feels better and has been sober for a while.
- I feel free and can rejoice in everyday little things. But of course it is also hard sometimes and I can feel that the panic gesture is on its way - but I have not had a relapse which I am very proud and happy about.
She thinks that Angelchat is needed to unite people and give everyone who is alone with their anxiety a chance to express themselves and be listened too.
- Even though we live in a state-of-the-art society, there is a taboo around talking about difficult feelings.
Linn is now also an angel on Angelchat, she gives support to some young girls who feel bad:
- It can be anything from someone who has experienced death in the family to someone who has a hard time with school or work.
How can you support them?
- I feel that most people above all want to be listened to and understood. To be there and send a "How is the situation?" gives more than you might think. I've been through very tough things and lost my sister to cancer. I believe in listening and sharing my story. For many, it is far enough to feel that you are not alone.
Your best advice for those who feel bad and feel lonely?
Dare to ask for help! Say yes to therapy if you are offered, talk to loved ones. Download Angelchat if you want to talk anonymously with someone who has been where you are. Write a diary of how the day has been. Practice feeling grateful - when you wake up: think of three things you are grateful for today.
How does it feel to look ahead?
- Today I know that I am worthy of being loved and that my personality is appreciated. Going forward, I want to work with people who have also had a tough life, with or without alcohol. One of my big dreams is to become a life coach. But my biggest dream is probably to become a mother.
Download Angelchat and start chatting anonymously with others who understand - the app is free and it's free to chat. Download it here in the App Store or Google Play.
What is Angelchat?
An anonymous and secure Swedish chat that connects people with experience of the same problem, where one seeks and the other offers support.
How do I know if Angelchat is safe?
Each account is reviewed. Angelchat immediately blocks anyone who does not follow the rules. Should a person in any way behave badly in the chat, you can easily report the person. You can also change angels if yours does not feel right.
Angelchat only connects people of the same sex to increase security.
Who can become an angel and who can seek support?
To become an angel, you must be over 18 years old. You should have your own experience of mental illness, addiction, diagnosis or physical illness. You should also be good at listening, supporting and pepping - and want to develop by helping others.
To apply for support, you should be 13 years old.
This is how Angelchat works: You get started in minutes
Download Angelchat from the App Store or Google Play.
Sign in with Facebook, Apple or Google.
Decide if you want to offer or seek help.
Answer questions to build your anonymous profile - this to be matched with a user that you can identify with.
Select the angel that you find most appropriate for your needs.
Chat anonymously with someone who shares your challenges.
Social media and loneliness are threats to mental health. Angelchat empowers people by allowing them to connect with those they share unique experiences with. The app’s founders possess over 15 years of experience from P2P mentoring and have previously successfully scaled up tech businesses worldwide. To date, Angelchat has raised over $700,000 from renowned investors and currently helps thousands of users regain their confidence and self-worth. For more information visit https://www.getangelchat.com/