Most of us experience stress in our daily lives. We can often get bogged down in certain situations and see no way out, not knowing who to turn to or if anyone would understand. This is where Koko comes in. ‘Koko helps you navigate through stressful thoughts and find your way forward’.
How it works
As a whole, Koko embodies various elements from other apps such as Tinder (the swiping gesture), Whisper (anonymity) and Reddit (up-voting). As well as old-style online forums. A study by Robert R Morris in 2015 found that web-based apps were a very strong platform for peer-to-peer cognitive reappraisal. Morris drew on his own experiences whilst he was learning code as a student. Whenever he encountered a problem Morris would use online forums to post his query and received responses from many people; people who did not know him and who owed him nothing were helping him. Morris began to think about how this could work within the Mental Health arena using crowdsourcing as a powerful form of support.
The app works on a basic principal from cognitive behavioural therapy called ‘reframing‘.
“Reframing is all about changing how we think to change how we feel. When we’re stressed, we often become our worst enemy. We tell ourselves we can’t do it,” Koko founder Robert Morris told The Huffington Post.
Once a post has been uploaded, other users of the app can respond to help the person rethink their concerns with a more positive approach; looking at the situation from different angles. For example, a person is extremely nervous about starting a new job and making a fool out of themselves in front of their new colleagues. Users respond to this status advising that new colleagues are not there to catch you out. This is the time where most people will be there to help you and a chance to have a fresh start. This positive response allows the user to see their problem from another angle, helping them to overcome their anxiety.
Users are asked to choose a topic there anxiety hails from and write what the worst case scenario they imagine happening from this. This problem is then put to other users who are asked to “help rethink this”. Responses can be up-voted and down-voted to increase visibility and all posts are moderated in real time in order to remove those that could indicate a negative or dangerous response.
As social media continues to be at the forefront of day-to-day technologies, it is encouraging to see more and more apps utilising this technology to help people in their daily lives and we are sure to see it more within healthcare.