A study into the MeeToo mental health app has provided evidence that digital peer support helps young people to feel better, less alone and to find new ways to help themselves.

Published by mental health charity, the Anna Freud Centre, the study from Innovate, explored young people’s experience of the MeeToo app – a fully-moderated, peer support tool.

Dr Kerstyn Comley, co-founder of MeeToo, said: “Our scalable, early intervention solution should be part of the NHS mental health recovery plan to support young people with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self harm, and other issues that are at crisis point.

“This study shows that our app helps young people to feel better, more connected, and less alone, and gives them the confidence to help others on and offline.”

Of the 559 who took part, 82% agreed that MeeToo connects them to other people with similar issues. 79% of users say they felt less alone when using the app, while 72% agreed that they feel better about themselves when using it.

Being able to talk anonymously was also welcomed, with 78% saying they felt it was easier to talk about difficult things when they could remain anonymous on the app. Significantly for mental health services, 71% of those taking part said they had found new ways to help themselves.

Professor Julian Edbrooke-Childs, head of evaluation at the Anna Freud Centre, said:  “Evidence on the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health has already emerged around the world, including increases in rates of stress, anxiety and depression.

“When it comes to supporting them, accessible and evidence-based approaches are vital. We are therefore pleased to have worked with MeeToo to assess the impact and outcomes of the app, building understanding of how we can best support children and young people’s mental health.”

Young people aged between 11 and 25 can use MeeToo to talk about difficult things with people of a similar age or experience. All posts and replies are checked by moderators before they go live and in-house counsellors provide extra support within the app, for high risk posts.

The MeeToo app is part of a service available to the NHS and local authorities to support mental health early intervention and prevention support at scale.

It’s not the first platform to support young people with their mental health. Best For You launched in London at the end of November last year.