Do you know there’s a mobile application called Electric Shaver? It’s made to give people a feel of what electric shavers sound like. Yah!
My point is that there are extremely bizarre mobile applications out there in the world. But nothing really tops this out-of-the-box app that this Twitter user has discovered.
did a little digging into this dystopian Instagram advertisement that i got pic.twitter.com/UNV5ISSvNk— perry thepla typus (@marxistlimonist) August 31, 2022
This app connects vulnerable people to listeners (who are not professionals, by the way) who’ll listen to your experience and provide you an emotional support. The listeners have a bio that states what they’ve experienced, and you can talk to whomever you think would understand what you’re going through.
These listeners are also paid by the minute!
mind you, these are not qualified people, the app connects vulnerable people to strangers online and charges them for the service. the cherry on the top? the listeners get paid peanuts pic.twitter.com/1mldkjj6gk— perry thepla typus (@marxistlimonist) August 31, 2022
it has more than a million downloads and idk can we regulate what goes under the guise of mental health support because this seems rather messed up pic.twitter.com/RVaxst8rkP— perry thepla typus (@marxistlimonist) August 31, 2022
The application is also heavily funded by top-notch investors backing its finances.
The worrisome thing here is that mental health is a deeply serious conversation. Should unprofessional listeners be even paid for merely listening to a person with no surety that the person would actually feel fulfilled or relieved? How does one put aside the transactional nature of the entire discourse?
The website also clearly mentions that they’re no substitute to professional medical services yet people are expected to pay money for speaking their heart out.
There is already a shit-load of stigma around mental health. Now selling off services (how is this even a service tho) from people who are in no way professionals to just sit, listen, and maybe relate worsens the scenario. Putting up a small disclaimer at the end that you do not provide medical services but highlighting the website with flashy words like “feeling broken? feeling lonely?” on the Home page doesn’t really help.
Let’s make it clear! The application does not cure your depression, anxiety, or stress or fix relationship issues. It does not assure you of anything. It only promises to ‘uplift your mood’ in exchange of ₹8 per minute.
For how long? It seems like vulnerable ones are being charged for a momentary relief until they seek the aid of an ‘unprofessional’ listener again. A dystopian world indeed!
Here’s how shocked Twitter was and we’re not surprised.
this app is so bad i wanna give the founders a a hug— jevliska (@nahijevla) August 31, 2022
You have done more research than the government, how do these companies get registration without surveillance??— Dr Ranjan (@AAPforNewIndia) August 31, 2022
Hopefully, mental health support groups will take them to court.
Exatly! How is this helping?
This is what perpetuates stigma.— Ashiya Ghosh (@ashiyaghosh) September 1, 2022
“Make your mental health a Priority” on a platform that “provides online counseling through non-medical listeners”
Make it make sense. https://t.co/VB6BvNE6dC
Mental health has been bastardized in recent years.— Shelton (❀¬_¬) (@desheltn) August 31, 2022
What this app solves for is the blind leading the blind off a cliff and into a pile of crushed glass. https://t.co/LHjjYJwc8w
Yikes! Mental Health x Tech is a dangerous place to play in as is, and this app seems to be made of red flags! 🚩🚩🚩 https://t.co/JueNhTlCzS— Sidharth (he/him/his) (@quillsandpills) September 1, 2022
bruh this is so messed up and what are these investors on?😭— oh well (@highondhaniya) August 31, 2022
This is unethical and should be immediately deplatformed.Untrained ‘listeners’ giving mental health advice. This app calls itself an emotional well being app. Look at ss to see what they say for Anxiety or Depression. It should be illegal, I can’t imagine the harm this is causing https://t.co/Waj6qggQuX pic.twitter.com/oeqdboWa7x— #JusticeforInderMeghwal (she/they) (@Bipashaa) September 1, 2022
what the actual fuck is this — demotivational speaker (@badumtsso) August 31, 2022
We’re living a black mirror episode. All of us are always connected yet people find themselves feeling lonely. Humans are inherently social beings. More and more businesses will prey on this vulnerability.— Yashima Puri (@YashimaPuri) August 31, 2022
It’s always better check in with those around you periodically. https://t.co/CyA7KOcbru
finding ways to expand mental healthcare services ❌— Madhushree (@madhu_shrieks) September 1, 2022
platformising and commodifying emotional support ✅ https://t.co/20ERnzSPlg
This thread is so important. We’ve already got hospitals commercialising basic health necessities, now mental health is next in line.— Kri💖 (@criticallytired) August 31, 2022
It’s always those that are vulnerable that are targeted and it’s disgusting. This is so dangerous, and somehow legal??? https://t.co/nvtnZMeWE2
The world needs more conversation around mental health. The world does not need an Emotional Wellness Mobile Application that guarantees no resolve and benefits from the plight of the vulnerable.
If you’re deeply stressed and wish to talk to somebody in a non-judgemental setup, please seek help from a professional and trained therapist.