Australian mental health startup goes global

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An Adelaide-based startup designed to give teenagers dealing with mental health issues peer-to-peer support is going global after receiving funding from investors and announcing a collaboration with a London-based business accelerator.

 

TalkLife, a global social network that allows young people to discuss issues such as depression and suicide with one another, has grown by 8000 users per day across 125 countries in the last two years.

 

Over that time the startup’s founder, Jamie Druitt, was bootstrapping the project – however TalkLife has recently received support from local investors as well as London’s Bethnal Green Ventures.

 

Druitt says it is an “exciting time” for the startup.

 

“The investment will help us continue to build a sustainable business model that will provide a platform for us to help many thousands more young people who are struggling with mental health issues around the world,” he said.

 

The startup has also announced it will be collaborating with Microsoft Research and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to analyse its data to predict high-risk mental health episodes in users.

 

“It is early days, but the team is using the huge volume of live data in TalkLife hoping to gain a unique understanding of youth mental health and enable us to predict and prevent high risk issues, such as self-harm and suicide,” says Druitt. “This is a hugely exciting time and we’re only scraping the surface.”

 

TalkLife was launched in 2012. Druitt previously told StartupSmart the idea came to him when he was going through a divorce and he wanted to talk to people who were experiencing the same thing.

 

Druitt was StartupSmart’s Social Change Entrepreneur of the Year 2014.

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Broede Carmody is a senior journalist at SmartCompany where he has a knack for covering legal stories and mental health issues in the workplace. Previously, Broede was the co-editor of RMIT University’s student magazine Catalyst. He has a degree in journalism from RMIT. You can follow him on Twitter at @BroedeCarmody.
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