Posted on 8 September 2021, updated 7 April 2023
by Obi Felten, Founder & CEO of Flourish Labs
Three months ago I left my job in a big tech company to set up Flourish Labs, a purpose-driven startup using cutting edge mental health science and technology to foster good mental health. Our mission: Flourishing minds for all, starting with students.
Today we’re launching the beta version of myala, an app that helps you understand the ups and downs of your mind. myala is for everyone, whether you are flourishing or languishing right now. It’s using technology that you likely have with you at all times: a smartphone and a wearable device.
myala empowers you with your data to help you gain more emotional self-awareness
The myala app encourages you to regularly check in with your feelings, your mood and other factors such as your motivation, sleep, mental focus and social interactions.
Think of a myala ‘Check-in’ as a twice daily activity, just like brushing your teeth. It only takes about a minute (and you could probably do it while you are brushing your teeth if you’re pressed for time).
You can instantly view your data in easy to understand reports, charting how the factors that affect your mental health and wellbeing change over time.
Unlike simple mood diary apps, myala can also integrate your sleep, activity and heart rate data if you have a wearable and choose to connect it to myala. This is optional; you can use myala with just a smartphone. We currently support Fitbit and Oura, and will add more wearables soon.
You control what you share with myala. myala empowers you with your data to help you gain more emotional self-awareness.
myala brings you human connection when it’s most important for you
In addition to self-tracking, myala is being designed to foster support from others. During 18 months of lockdowns and physical distancing from friends, extended family and co-workers, we have all experienced how vital human connection is for good mental health.
In the beta version released today, myala gives you instant access to free, 24/7 crisis support. With the tap of a button, you can text with a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. (Updated 7 April 2023: The app now refers users to 988, the mental health crisis line)
You can also view mental health and wellbeing tips and resources from Active Minds.
If you are a student at one of our pilot colleges, the app will show you mental health and wellbeing resources that are available on your campus.
Soon, myala will allow you to share some of your data with a small number of people of your choosing. These could be friends, family or others in the myala community who want to support you. Unlike anonymous peer support platforms, myala facilitates ongoing connections with people you know and trust. myala reduces the burden of reaching out to get or give help by notifying your supporters, and encouraging them to get in touch when it looks like you might need it. Or if you’re doing well at the moment, the myala support notification might just serve as a reminder that they haven’t caught up with you in a while and it’s time for a chat.
You control who you share with. myala brings you human connection when it’s most important for you.
myala is being built with students, for students
College students are our first audience for myala. During our pilot, myala is available only via our partners or by referral.
myala, like all of us, is a work in progress. We’re releasing it as a beta app today because we want to get early feedback from students and colleges on what we’ve built so far, and get input on the parts we’re building next.
If you are a student, you can get early access to myala and help myala get better by joining our Trusted Tester program. We have a limited number of slots, so please bear with us if we don’t get back to you straight away.
Each screen of the app has a ‘feedback’ icon on it. For each app release, we will share how we’ve addressed feedback from testers, so you get to see how you are helping to improve myala first hand.
Bring myala to your college
We are inviting a small number of colleges to actively take part in our pilot during the 2021/22 academic year. We are looking for innovators who want to offer the opportunity to their students and staff to test and help evolve the product. We’d especially love to work with community colleges and HBCUs.
If you are a student, you can bring myala to your college as an Ambassador.
If you are faculty or staff, please get in touch to explore how we could include your college in our pilot.
Project myala is a collaboration between a tech startup, nonprofits and academics
We have come together to work on myala because we share a vision of a future where more people flourish in a world of good mental health and wellbeing.
Flourish Labs is a purpose-driven technology startup building the app and technology platform with a small but mighty team and the help of a multi-faceted advisory board.
Active Minds is the leading nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for young adults. Led by founder Alison Malmon, they are our co-design and outreach partner.
Youth Era is a global leader in empowering young people and creating breakthroughs in the systems that serve them. Through peer support and technology, Youth Era equips young people with tools to help themselves and their peers. They are designing a bespoke training program for myala members who want to become supporters.
Crisis Text Line provides free, high quality crisis support through text messaging. Trained, compassionate Crisis Text Line crisis counselors are available 24/7 for any crisis, not just suicide. (Update 7 April 2023: The app now points to 988.)
If you are an individual or foundation interested in supporting the work of our nonprofit partners or the research study with a grant, please get in touch.
Each partner in our multi-disciplinary team brings their energy, unique experience and insight to myala, and I’m excited and grateful every day to be working with them. We invite you to bring your own experience to myala by joining us on the journey as a Trusted Tester, myala Ambassador or pilot college.
You can learn more at myala.app. We can’t wait to hear what you think of myala and your ideas on how to make it work for you.
Note: This blogpost was updated on 7 April 2023 to reflect the name change from håp to myala.