New App Offers Online Support Groups For Addiction, Mental Health Issues

By David Konow 08/22/17

The idea for the video platform came to creator Dan Blackman after he lost his father to alcohol use disorder.

Closeup of a female hand holding a smart phone during a skype video call with her friend

Huddle is one of a number of new apps that help people cope with various life struggles with the help of their peers. The online video platform allows users to log on and share their personal thoughts with others in the Huddle community. The app even has a feature that lets users pixellate their image so that they can speak under the veil of anonymity. 

The app was made for those who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues, but anyone could use the platform to address whatever issues they may be dealing with. 

The goal of Huddle is to work like an online AA group where people can reach out and support each other. It helps people with depression and anxiety as well. As Business Insider reports, users can create their own private groups with the app. There are already support groups for “body positivity" and “high school problems."

Huddle was born after creator Dan Blackman lost his father to alcohol use disorder. As Blackman explains to Tech Crunch, he began researching the reasons behind his father’s battle with alcohol addiction, and he soon came to the conclusion that his father “never got the help he needed.”

As Blackman told Mobile Syrup, “In-person, peer-to-peer support really works. We want to create that brand where someone can go and open up.”

While showing yourself can be a barrier for a lot of people that are afraid to get help, Blackman feels the face time people give each other is important. “At least for me, I never got that same experience through [text apps] that I got in person,” he explains.

And for those who are afraid of being trolled, Tech Crunch explains that Huddle has a zero-tolerance policy for cyberbullies. In order to sign on to Huddle, you have to connect to a Facebook page or provide a phone number. As Blackman told Mobile Syrup, “One of our core values for Huddle is safety. We’re not going to be able to thrive as a company without making those safe spaces.”

Huddle is available on iOS, and should be available on Android before the end of the year.

"We want to create a place where it is a balance of people seeking and people giving,” Blackman says. 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.