Sheffield entrepreneur Michael Martin launches mental health app to combat soaring rates of the problem in young people.

A Sheffield entrepreneur has launched a mental health app in response to soaring rates of the problem in young people.

By David Walsh
Friday, 17th December 2021, 12:55 pm

Michael Martin, aged 25, has created Alba Mind which uses game-like social features to appeal to young people.

It has three main tools: a worry management program, peer support therapy, and AI progress analysis.

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Michael Martin, aged 25, has created Alba Mind which uses game-like social features to appeal to young people.

It now has more than 2,300 users and has been featured in the App Store as the second most popular mental health app globally, Michael says.

He quit his marketing job last year to write the app after noticing a dramatic rise in mental health problems among young people. Weeks of research showed how urgent the problem was, he says.

Michael, who has experienced mental health issues in the past, said: “There’s some really scary statistics out there which show that 75 per cent of all adult mental health problems are established before the age of 18, but at the same time it’s so hard for young people to get help.

“For a start, they don’t even know where to look, and then you have these overly medical approaches that just scare them away.”

Under 18s are statistically the least likely age group to be registered with a GP, he added.

“The huge problem within the mental health app space is that users simply don’t stick with them - the average 30-day retention rate is just 3.5 per cent.

“Alba Mind’s retention is above 30 per cent so it’s clear that we’re helping people to fit mental health care into their daily life.

Michael was part of the Social Chain founding team, a company founded in 2014 which recently went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

But building something that solves one of the world’s biggest problems gives a new level of satisfaction and fulfilment, he added.

“I’m interacting with users every single day, and I’m seeing what a profound positive effect it’s having on them. There’s even been people say that it’s helped them reconsider suicide.”

Some upcoming features include a self-harm and addiction tracker, as well as a collection of positive affirmations, he added.

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