Adam Moen is a mental healthcare consultant and app creator working on reducing the stigma and encouraging help-seeking behavior around mental and emotional health.
Avalo is Adam’s app that brings together real people and mental health professionals for compassionate conversation 24/7.
Learn more about the Avalo App: http://www.avalo.app/
Click the links below to listen the podcast on:
Apple Podcasts, Spotify Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio
In our conversation we cover Adam’s journey, what he has learned through his consulting, how we can be better advocates for those in need, and areas of opportunity for technology to help close the gaps in our system.
Learn more about Adam at https://www.adammoen.me/
FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Craig Inzana: Welcome to the happier here podcast. In this show, we talk about tools, techniques, and ideas to try to help make our lives more fulfilling, or just teach us how to live more fulfilling lives. Today’s guest. I have Adam Moen, who has quite an interesting background. He talks a lot about mental health publicly. He’s got a Ted talk that I actually watched a long time ago. So this is an interesting, um, kind of serendipity that we ended up getting in contact with each other, but he’s also developing an app called , which I will let him describe better than I could possibly describe.
So welcome Adam. Why don’t you introduce yourself.
Adam Moen: Thank you very much, Craig.
I appreciate the opportunity to be here, so yeah, I guess. Best place to start is, um, you know, I’m a, I’m a mental health advocate. You know, I went through a really challenging period, my early twenties that kind of sparked my interest in, um, mental health and kind of innovation in the space because there’s so much stigma reaching out is very hard.
Um, it’s, it’s a new discipline. And so I’m very passionate about creating better ways for individuals to find mental health support, both peer and professionally. And that’s what Avalo is. Avalo is an anonymous messaging app for peer and professional support. So, uh, you can go on and basically say, what’s going on in your life and, you know, real people, well, we’ll respond to you and hopefully provide you with some, uh, you know, that feeling of sort of.
Somebody there for you? Um, because I spent, uh, I spent a really long time not talking to anybody about my mental health issues and that led me to, you know, kind of suicide and, you know, all of these really dark places. And so my goal is to make it more accessible for people to talk about mental and emotional health challenges.
Craig Inzana: I think that’s great. That really aligns with what we talk about here and the people that are listening to this show, a lot of them have reached out and, and. I try to make myself accessible, but I’m all, obviously only one person. I think that kind of crowdsourcing the accessibility, you know, is definitely an interesting solution to a problem that I think we all recognize nice.
The access to care is just so abysmal and in a lot of places, I think anybody that’s tried to get any mental health care. Would know that. And also like the, the barrier to get into a system of care is so high that even in people that as someone who has also struggled with depression, um, and like manic episodes and stuff, I might know that I need care, but then going from, I need help to getting help is such a huge area of, of, of a gap. And also with the traditional health care method where you have to like schedule an appointment. And I mean, assuming you’re not in an emergency situation where you go to the emergency room, like you schedule an appointment, you know, you might have to wait weeks before you meet with somebody.
Then they do like this really cut and dry, like introductory meeting, where they assess you and all this stuff, just asking all these like blank, fill in the form of questions. It might be a month. Or even a month and a half, two months before you actually start talking to somebody. And for me, like anytime I’ve had a, a flare up of an issue, I need to talk to someone like then maybe, you know, that day within the next couple of days a month and a half goes by, I might be fine.
Adam Moen: Right. Then, you know, totally. I mean, you touched on so many issues with the mental health system. The first of which I will talk about that barrier because particularly as men, young men, um, you know, there’s a lot of talk about the man box and what it means to be a strong person or whatever. And I understand that there’s a whole.
Men and masculinity science out there where they’re trying to uncover what that’s all about. But bottom line is men. Don’t talk about it or reach out for help as much as their female counterparts. So, and I really experienced that, you know, the, the amount of time that it took me to reach out for help when I was really struggling.
Was years. And even though I had one of her, one very close friend of mine recommended, Hey, you might need to see somebody when I did actually take that first step to say to my parents, um, you know, I think I might need some mental and emotional health support. And obviously I didn’t say it that eloquently.
Like the only thing that I can get out of my mouth is like, I need help. I think I should see somebody, you know?
Craig Inzana: Yeah.
Adam Moen: And I was actually rejected very subconsciously by the person that I told. And I can go into detail about that. But yeah, what it represents is a very crucial moment where an individual is super fragile. Right?
Craig Inzana: Yeah.
Adam Moen: And if that, if that outreach is not received well, Then there’s a huge risk of, of that person being, feeling rejected and not wanting to pursue additional avenues of finding support. So that happened to me and I continued on my path of struggling.
Craig Inzana: It’d be interesting to hear, go into that a little bit more in detail beCause I think that’s a common thing for a lot of people. And I think from the other end, if someone does reach out to you for help, it can be hard to know. How to respond to that in a way that is helpful.
Adam Moen: Yeah. So for me, I, it came up in a very loving household, fantastic parents, good environment, very achievement oriented. I towed the line in terms of did what I was told. I didn’t really know why I was doing what I was told, but I was trying hard in school and I was getting, you know, grades and social life and whatever. And very much on the surface, people would have looked at me and been like, You know, he’s your all American kid.
Who’s got everything going for him. And then when I got to college, I started to think a little bit more critically, you know, I, I, I started to abuse substances quite a bit more readily and aggressively, uh, as a way to cope. Um, yeah, it was challenging with my direction in life. I really wasn’t. I was challenged with my direction in life.
I wasn’t sure where I was going. And it all kind of snowballed. And my experience with depression was kind of like a slow slip down this path, that there was never really a moment where I was like, Oh, I’m depressed now. It was, it was more like all of the sudden the majority of my day feels bad and now more of my day feels bad in each successive day.
A little bit more of my day feels bad. So somebody close to me saw this on me and she said, Hey, you know, yeah, I think you should just see a therapist. It might help you out. And I was pretty beaten down and, um, pretty lonely and, and feeling really sad. So, so I did, I actually, I went to my parents and I said, I think I might need to see somebody and.
My, my, my father who’s, you know, an amazing human being. I have the utmost respect for what he’s been able to accomplish in his life. He said, Adam, I love you. You’re such a great kid. We’ll definitely get you a therapist. You’re probably going through a phase, but we’ll definitely get you the help you need.
So what do I hear? You’re going through a phase.
Craig Inzana: Yeah.
Adam Moen: And. So I kind of continued down my path of destruction and, you know, it ended up getting quite a bit worse and there was another punctual moment where they realized like, okay, you actually really do need some help. You can’t do this on your own. And years later, I would have a conversation with my dad and where we would talk about that.
And he felt so bad because the reason that he said the you’re probably going through a phase thing and the reason he was struggling with me, Talking about my mental and emotional health was because he was internalizing it and thinking that it reflected upon him as being not a good enough father.
Craig Inzana: Yeah. I hear that a lot with people that are close to me and people that are talking about, especially in relation to their parents, the parents, and it’s hard not to, you know, as a parent take it personally, right. As if like I failed parent. And I think it’s important for parents to know that it’s not a failure in your parenting, like basically most people at some point are going to go through some kind of mental health, develop some kind of mental health issue, especially in the modern way that our society is formed. Uh, and it has nothing to do with whether you were a good parent or not.
Adam Moen: That’s exactly it.
Statistically half of Americans at, throughout some point in their life will go through an adverse mental health condition or a diagnosable condition for young people. It’s as high as one in four, you know, that’d be absurd to say that half of the parents in the United States are, you know, horrible people or whatever.
And, and he came to terms with that and he realized that, and he was like, you know, I, I, I learned a lot through that experience because that just because you needed somebody else to talk to didn’t mean I was a bad dad. Right. And he’s come to terms with that. And so, you know, we have a much, much more open relationship now and, uh, I’m obviously grateful that I got mental health help, but that’s that just points to the, kind of the sensitivity with, at which the asking for help occurs.
It’s it’s, it’s really, uh, It’s really a crucial time. And your second question was, what do you do in that instance? Or?
Craig Inzana: Yeah.
Adam Moen: if you’re a mental health professional, you’ve got the training to do, to know what to do in that situation. If you’re not a mental health professional, it’s okay to not be a mental health professional.
It’s okay to say thank you so much for telling me I really value you as a human being. I mean, I, and I, I, I want to support you. I want to help you. Um, so let’s invite somebody who has the appropriate skillset into the discussion. I mean, triage, like get, cause too often, we expect ourselves to have the answers to the, you know, somebody says on struggling with depression, our first reaction is, Oh, well, let me help you fix that.
It”s good. It’s a good impulse. That probably means you’re caring. And a lot of people who listen to this podcast probably have that empathetic sort of understanding. And I think it’s really important as, as advocates that we understand where our boundaries are and when it’s appropriate to provide support and listen.
Uh, and when it becomes something where it’s like, okay, I’ve, I’ve been a good friend, and this is continuing to be beyond the point where it’s helpful for both you and I. Let’s invite somebody else. You know, I’m going to go with you to, uh, the school counselor, you know, we’re going to walk to our favorite teachers.
We’re going to look at mental health professionals in the area. We’re going to call the warm line. You know, something like that. You can kind of, you can kind of walk beside somebody. I find that to be the most effective.
Craig Inzana: Right. I took a suicide gatekeeper certification and that was one of the big things that they drive home is, you know, a, obviously it’s not your job or like, you really shouldn’t try to solve that for somebody, if you’re not a trained professional, uh, your job in that moment, how, like, regardless of how severe it is, whether it’s just, you know, an ongoing low level thing that you think someone could use help with, or it’s like an emergency it’s important to.
Like the best thing that you can do is, is definitely hold their hand and help them get that help because otherwise there’s so many opportunities for them to, you know, say they’re going to go get help and then not. And again, it’s, it’s not really your responsibility to do that for somebody. But if you’re, you know, I know that, like you said, a lot of listeners here myself included, like want to do that for somebody, if we can.
Adam Moen: Right.
Craig Inzana: And it’s difficult now I’ve had circumstances where I’ve had somebody that, um, really does need that help. For various reasons and you know, they agreed. See a therapist, um, I’ve helped them get through that first step of making contact with the therapists. And for one reason or another, it doesn’t work out whether their health insurance doesn’t cover it.
Or I’ve had some, a friend of mine literally get rejected by a therapist office because they had substance abuse issues. And they’re like, we just don’t do that. They didn’t tell them where to go. Instead. They just said we don’t work with people that have substance abuse issues. So there’s so many gaps, um, and I’ve found it useful to continue to follow up.
Like, that’s something that you can be very useful in doing is if you help someone reach out to help, um, or you suggest that they, they do, it’s not necessarily your responsibility to be there the whole entire time, but following up in a couple of weeks and asking how it went, cause it can be very, very discouraging to try to go through that and then be rejected or be turned away or just for more barriers would be putting in your path.
Um, and it can help to then turn around and have someone say like, It’s worth. I know it’s tough and it’s, it’s messed up that this is the way the system is, but, uh, you know, here’s, let me help you again, you know? Uh, let’s try it again.
Adam Moen: Yeah. You’re making me think of a story. I used to lead a peer support group every Tuesday night, um, through the national Alliance of mental illness, NAMI, Minnesota has a great. Youth connect support program where tenders 15 people would get together and just chat about having mental and emotional health challenges and what that means. And we were all early twenties, late teens, sort of, and I’ll never forget that there was this one gentleman who, every week he came back, probably five, six times.
He had just went through a, his wife called off the wedding or is his fiance called off the wedding? It was supposed to be a big thing. And all of his family knew and he was. Yeah, that really got to him. And he was having difficulty performing in school because he wasn’t able to focus. And he was in the process of having, you know, he had a treatment plan.
He had a therapist, he had a support system and he came to our group on Tuesday nights, you know, six, seven times. And I got to know him and one of his friends very well and every week. Yeah, we would ask people to share during the beginning and the end as we go around and just be like, you know, what’s your name?
Tell us a little bit about yourself. And then we would give people more space if they wanted to talk about something. And he would always kind of open up and be like, yeah, you know, it was really challenging. Um, my fiance left me and I just had to drop out of school because it was so crushing, but I’m all right.
I’m okay though. You know, things are a little bit better and he would always kind of like inch in the direction of, of opening up. Really, and then he would close the door and I, I don’t know if it was that I wasn’t skilled enough, which I mean, that’s certainly component of it. I was 22 years old at the time or something and we were just providing peer support, but we never really, he never really got beyond that barrier, but I thought he was okay because on the surface, everything looked all right.
I mean, he was, he had, he’s a smart kid, good looking, had everything going for him, just. Really nice guy. And I found out after he didn’t come back to group for a couple of weeks that he had committed suicide. And that was the only person that I ever knew in that group, whoever committed suicide. And I, I look back on that moment and all of my interactions with him and I just… I’m I’m sad. But I was so helpless in doing what I could do. There was nothing else that I could have done. I don’t, I didn’t know what else I could have done. If I could have said that there was something else I could have done. Maybe I would live more with more regret. Obviously there’s remorse because we lost an amazing human being.
But, um, And, and you know, that, like, what I took out of that is like, you can only do so much, and two it’s so critical to have the right people around you so that an individual feels comfortable enough to really go there. Right, right. To really open up and pour out their heart and say, this is what I’m carrying around.
And it’s just, it’s just not something that we really, we really like have designed these types of conversations or spaces into our everyday life. So it’s, it’s understandable that, you know, people are going around with this heaviness in their heart because it’s, it’s hard to find communities that really are open and receptive to receiving the not amazing parts about us.
Craig Inzana: Yeah. Yeah, I think there’s so much to where it’s it’s I hear a lot of cases similar to that, or have personal experience with it where people think that they have to get better. They have to continue to say like, I’m okay, I’m going to be okay. I’m fine. I will be fine. And they continue to bury the really hard things that they’re going through.
And I don’t, I don’t know the right balance of that or the right solution because you can also go in the opposite direction where you’re just everything’s bad all the time and you definitely have to be break that thought pattern, but it’s important.
So like you said, create these spaces where people can express the hard things that they’re going through and because we all experience and at varying levels and like, we definitely need community to heal those wounds. Um, and it has to, people have to feel comfortable, uh, within whatever spaces they’re in to have that opportunity to open up about that thing.
Adam Moen: So well, and, and so often the source, in my case, in particular, um, our immediate support community, family members, friends, siblings, classmates, who may be really critical to our lives are actually very large contributors to the pain that we’re experiencing internally. So it’s very hard to get over that hump, which for me, it was, wow. I didn’t really feel, really feel comfortable going to my parents because I thought that there was a lot of internal struggle that I was not addressing with my parents that so.
How can I go to the person or the people who are in my mind, like a major contributing factor to what I’m feeling when one, I’m not skilled enough to address that with them, because I don’t have the words of the experience, you know? Cause I’ve never talked about it with anybody. And too, I mean, there’s just, there’s just this, uh, there’s this added sort of like uncertainty around.
I can’t really tell you what’s going on because I want to say that you’re causing me a lot of pain. So I can’t even say that to my friend, let alone to your face in order so that I can get help. You know, so sometimes our immediate support system, um, may not be the best people, which is why we’ve got an entire field of mental health professionals who, um, you know, I had a lot of fear about talking with initially, but have, have realized that.
There need not be that fear.
Craig Inzana: Yeah. Thankfully I think that that stigma, I guess, uh, around mental health seems to be lessening. There’s obviously a lot of room for us to grow in that area, but it’s definitely you just within my lifetime.
I mean, I’ve seen it get even within the last couple of years, seeing the spaces for people to be open about that.
And also, like it’s not a weird thing anymore to say that you have a therapist in most circles. Um, and I, you know, even in the professional world, like that’s such a normal thing now to hear, and that’s great. That’s amazing. Cause you know, even five years ago, that was not the case. Like people might say, Oh, that’s great.
But inside, you know, you could definitely tell that they were making judgements about you because of that. Oh, they must be a weak person or, you know, whatever. And that’s yeah.
Adam Moen: The research that I’ve seen that could be outdated at this point has suggested that, um, perceived stigma. Which is like, you know, the perception of whether or not somebody else seeks mental health care has been on a deep, a very declining scale throughout the past 10, 15 years.
However, internal stigma in terms of like, You know, will I go seek a therapist? Still is there’s work to be done there. Um, and that’s the major driving force of whether somebody will actually go and seek care. But I agree. I think progress is being made, but we still, we still have a, have a way to go. And I do look at countries like Australia, the UK, they approach mental health very differently.
Uh, I mean, it’s way more in your face. It’s way more available. It’s way more accessible. Uh it’s it’s just part of the conversation. And I think the United States actually has a lot of progress that, um, that that could be made in this space, you know,
Craig Inzana: Are there things that you see happening or that you would like to help happen that people could contribute to or support?
Adam Moen: That’s a great question. So there’s obviously the complications with the United States health insurance system that doesn’t help, right? Um, yeah, I think nonprofit advocacy in the U S is really huge, uh, because you’ve got. NGOs in Australia and the UK that are investing money in mental health support. And then you also have the government that is putting a lot of money into it.
Um, and in the United States, we don’t have as much of that government intervention. So things are kind of driven through insurance and share. We’ve got like county-based drop in centers and stuff like that, which are steps in the right direction for sure. But I think there’s, I think there’s a ton of policy work that can be done.
I think there’s a lot more investment. I think that. Companies could really wake up to the idea of, cause the whole wellness industry is kind of blown up over the past, you know, 10, 15 years where physical health diabetes are now a big thing. Starbucks spends more money on health insurance for their workers independence than they do there coffee beans.
Craig Inzana: Oh wow.
Adam Moen: So yeah, it’s a huge, huge budget item for companies. And I think companies are waking up to the idea that like, Whole people and well, people are better employees and workers. Um, but I don’t think that we are really at that point where people are investing in their, uh, young people. I think universities are just on the cusp of being like this is a really vital service that we have to have to keep our student population happy and healthy and successful. And I think companies are just kind of catching up right now. So once the, uh, return on investment of like quality of life and fulfillment becomes recognized as a major driver of organizational value, then I think you’ll start to see a lot of huge progress.
And I think the coronavirus has actually, um, kind of doing that for work at home right now. Where people are like realizing, Oh, you know, maybe we don’t need to stick to the old expectation of what it means to go into the office. Right. And so I think that like, if that’s similar type of change can occur with mental health, mental health services, I mean, it’s happening with like vacation time and whatever.
I think there’ll be a lot of progress we can make as a population towards making a more inclusive and kind of supportive environment for each other.
Craig Inzana: Yeah. I mean, I see a lot of changes and especially younger companies seem a little more. On top of that or at least trying different things. Yeah. Once people, I it’s it’s it’s it’s obvious for anyone.
Yeah. Who looks at there’s plenty of research and studies out there that show the dollar value increase in when you invest in a wellness, whether that’s physical or mental in your employees, but in, and of course in the United States, that’s going to be a major driver to those changes is the for profit sector.
Um, when that it’s a really embraced. As part of that whole ecosystem, that’s when changes will really push forward faster here. What do you see as Avalo is place in all of that? Like, what is, what is kind of the, you kind of touched on it a little bit, but what are you, what are your hopes for it as far as how that, where they can fit in?
Adam Moen: Yeah. So when I was, um, in that time period where I was struggling with depression, um, you know, I had made that switch from. 80% of my day is positive and 20% of my days negative. And I was, you know, sliding over towards 49% of my day as positive and, and, uh, 51% is negative. And then all of a sudden I’m at 80% of my days, negative and only 20% is positive.
As I’m like sliding along this continuum, I’m still not really like reaching out for anything. Any support. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have the language I had that moment where I asked my parents and you know, felt rejected. And then I continued to go along suffering. And what I hope Avalo can be is that low risk place that somebody can go when either one they’ve never talked to anybody about what’s going on in their lives and they just need to, like, I need to talk to somebody about this.
Craig Inzana: Right.
Adam Moen: You can go to Avalon and that can be that place or to, you know, they may have a support system. They may have a mental health practitioner on their team, but they may need some more episodic support where they may need, you know, something between sessions or they may need a change of therapist.
So they may need to just get something off their chest, because maybe they’ve been talking about it with their boyfriend or girlfriend too much and it’s straining their relationship. Yeah. Avalon can be that place that you find supportive peers. In a totally risk-free anonymous way. And so it’s just like an, a diff it’s an additional support system for individuals to just kind of go to, and we want it to be the first place people turn to, we have anonymous peers that can interact with you on the platform and then we also have mental health professionals. So really the next phase of our application is to get into. Predictive analytics essentially, and natural language processing and look at the types of conversations that people are having on the platform and start to make some inferences about, well, who might you have a very good conversation with, and can we point you in their direction because finding a therapist is, is really hard. I mean, like finding a therapist, you’ve got basically four options right now. Go on Google search therapist near me go to psychology today. Word of mouth or. Uh, looking at your insurance provider, and it’s really hard to know how you’re going to do gel and mesh with this individual.
He may be seeking mental health support from. So what we’re doing, trying to do with Avalo is give you like, The option to look into this therapist kind of way that they interact with people and make an informed decision about whether or not you want to perhaps, you know, reach out to them for a, you know, an introductory consultation or something.
So all of this can happen on this anonymous platform because we’ve got mental health professionals who have identified profiles and then anonymous peers. So it’s supposed to be kind of like a marketplace to share information about mental and emotional.
Craig Inzana: That’s really cool. That’s such an additional barrier that anyone who’s ever tried to find help and, or anyone who, who has, you know, been seeing a therapist for a long time or multiple therapy? No. Is that, that match between you and your therapist is really, really important? Most people, I don’t know. There’s probably numbers out there about how I saw many therapists.
Someone generally sees before they settle on one, but I would estimate it to be two or three. Before you find someone that really. And that’s, that’s a big thing too, is like, you know, when someone gets help and the first therapist is not someone that maybe is going to be a good fit for them, then they have a tendency to, if they don’t know that that’s just part of the process they might give up, you know, like, Oh, I tried therapy, didn’t work.
And you see that even on the telehealth care, whatever you want to call those teletherapy apps, you know, they try to make it really easy to switch therapists. And I think that’s a step in the right direction, certainly, but even then, you know, that’s, that’s still having to being able to predict that would be really fascinating to be able to develop, to be able to match have a kind of a match score or whatever, how that, however, that ends up looking, I don’t think there’s any solution like that, you know?
Adam Moen: Yeah. Uh, we haven’t seen anything like that in the marketplace. There’s a lot of assessments that match you with people who might be similar to you in either the facility or the organization or your service area, which I think are a step in the right direction.
But we would like to get a little bit more sophisticated in the way that we make those recommendations. So that’s a, that’s what we’re working on right now. And that’s what we’re really excited about is trying to really increase the chances that the first time somebody reaches out, they are met with that person. Who’s a good fit, either appear or, or a potential mental health expert who can respond in a way that is going to be very appropriate for how that individual wants to be received. Because like, you know, like we were talking earlier, it’s just very, it’s a sensitive topic and it’s hard to know what to do when somebody is coming to you in that time of need.
Craig Inzana: Yeah, absolutely. I, for one, um, can see myself referring people to Avalo now there’s actually like in the midst of this conversation, I’ve thought of multiple people in my school or that I try to be that friend and for them, but I also know that I’m not capable of doing that as much as they need. Um, and some of them, they have specific barriers that are keeping them from seeing a therapist or even maybe that’s just not enough, you know, that I can think like, um, I’m definitely going to get off of this call and send that to them.
I don’t know why you actually let me use the app for awhile or you sent it to me a while ago. Um, and I’ve found it to be very interesting because there’s a lot of places where I feel like people have tried to use those places as this solution. You talked a little bit before we started the call about Twitter and read it and yeah.
You know, um, but they’re just not, the spaces are not created for that purpose. So there’s a lot of negative interactions that can happen that can make things worse. And I think that’s a question that I get asked a lot. Um, when I’ve started referring people is, you know, how are you separating yourself? Or like policing that so that those conversations are a little safer.
Adam Moen: Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, and I’ll, I’ll get to the, the policing component or the moderating component, because let’s talk about providing support on social media, because I have looked extensively at. Facebook groups that are dedicated to benzodiazepine, withdrawal symptoms, bipolar, depression, anxiety, you name it.
There’s a phase support group out there. And yeah, there are really interesting phenomenon in and of itself. I think they’re very healthy for the people that are there in the sense that they’re providing some sort of human connections and conversation and some empathy around the issue. Yeah. So I like that.
I like that community, that a place that people can go to those Facebook groups tend to be a little bit more supportive than say Twitter, or, you know, like a was the earliest one, which, um, Twitter, you can get a lot of. Trolls trying to get a laugh or something and Yik yak. You had people who were just down downright mean for those of you who didn’t know, you can’t get yak was an anonymous messaging platform that got banned by most schools.
It was, and they raised like $21 million and it’s supposed to be the next big thing and were shut down. And that was actually some of the early inspiration for Avalo, which was, I want to create a social media environment that is really designed around. Being trolled and stigma free. So you can go to it and not feel at risk for somebody making a fool of you.
And because, I mean, the cyber bullying, when you, when you throw in what young people are going through in terms of cyber bullying, and then, you know, real reaching out for support, it’s just a super convoluted environment. In terms of like the system is not designed for that. The system is a social environment, you know?
So that’s what we’ve, that’s what we’ve done with Avalo has tried to make it that social media place, where it is okay to go for support. It is okay to go with your problems and the self policing component. We’ve got all of the necessary, like, um, blocking for you teachers and, um, hiding content and flagging content.
We’ve got content reviewers who will investigate those, that flag content and, you know, make a judgment calls about if it’s offensive and remove it from the site. Um, but the other thing we do is it’s all group sort of publicly available information. So if you write a post, everybody, the application has the ability to see that post.
And everybody has the ability to respond, but if you respond, it’s going to be available in a threaded conversation. So other people in the app will be able to. Review what you’re saying. And we found that self-policing component to be very, very powerful because people will say meaner things when they’re in a, in a one to one chat than they will, if there are other onlookers.
Uh, so that’s been helpful.
Craig Inzana: I think that that’s, you know, the Facebook, the care center, those Facebook groups, things is interesting. Cause you still have the same issue. I know I’m in a couple sobriety groups and they are very helpful. Um, and it, it, it can be helpful to provide that help for that specific thing to other people that are new to it, but you still have a lot of trolls.
Uh it’s very well. Once those groups get too big, it’s very, Facebook is not set up for, for that serious level of discussion, but it is overwhelming.
Adam Moen: Yeah. It’s so overwhelming. And my challenge with those Facebook groups or the social media support is what is. The activation to the next step, right?
Like, okay. We’ve provided that support. We’ve your, you’re done with talking about that. Whatever your issue is, we have some sort of a resolution that’s a huge opportunity to then put somebody in the correct trajectory in terms of what to do next. And. That’s what I don’t see in any of those social media environments is like, okay, now here’s your path forward.
I want Avalo to do that in a sense of where, you know, your connect, you’ve got the connection to the mental health professionals right there. We want to make it very easy for people to then be like, okay, let’s level up. And let’s be actionable because my gripe with those social media platforms is so often they’re not really.
They’re not there. They’re not like imparting action upon the people or inspiring action to make sustained change. Episodic, periodic support is extremely valuable, but at a certain point, you’re just going to keep doing the same thing all of the time. And that’s, that’s not what I, that’s not what we’re about.
We want people to be like, what is the change that you’re going to make in your life today? And how can we facilitate that?
Craig Inzana: Yeah, I think that’s great. I’m excited to see, you know, I, I really enjoy just being in that space on that, on your app, just because there’s a lot of really good interactions going on in there.
I just see the potential of it, you know. I would be interested, you know, how could someone like me that sees the value you have the app? How can I help? Do you need more help reaching more mental health professionals? Do you need just more users on the app? Like, is there a specific kind of person that you think this would be particularly helpful at this point at the current stage of what’s developed within it?
Adam Moen: Yup. I mean, certainly follow us on the socials at Avalonapp and visit AvaloApp.com and download the link or download the apps,. Send it to your friends. If you know, a person who might be, you know, needing that extra support.
We have found a lot of users in the teenage early twenties and thirties are super adept at like picking it up. And we find that some of our older users provide a really interesting, like intergenerational dynamic in terms of conversation with not only somebody who may be. You know, in their teens who struggling with a breakup versus somebody who maybe is going through a divorce.
And I think having kind of both folks on the platform is really, really, really, really awesome. Um, we have certainly had more younger users on the app just because it’s kind of more younger users overall. And then, uh, the people who tend to, to provide support tend to be a little bit on the older side, you know, you’ve got mental health professionals or peers who are.
You know, a little bit older, so it’s kind of all over the board in terms of who our users are. But the one thing that we always want to hold constant is that, you know, trolling stigma, free nonjudgmental support, and that’s, that’s really at the core. So that’s a, I mean, that’s, that’s really what the app is all about.
Share it. Check it out. Uh, I mean, hopefully we can start to redefine the way that people reach out for help online by, um, you know, really getting them to the right place earlier. Like, you know, that’s, that’s kind of our whole, I’m excited about it. I am interested to see what continues to happen for it. Um, I think, you know,
Craig Inzana: I’m a very, I’m very positive about the outlook for mental health within our world is a lot of work to be done, but there’s so many smart people working on it. So, and you’re one of the speakers there.
Adam Moen: Certainly. Thank you. Thank you very much. Yeah, I appreciate it.
Craig Inzana: All right. Is there anything else you’d like to leave people with before we end off?
Adam Moen: No, Craig, thanks for the opportunity. I really appreciate it. Download Avalon checkout, our landingPage @avalon.app. Find us on the socials. Really. I think if the message is anything that I’ve learned through my mental health journey is that there really is no shame in struggling. And, um, it’s not something that you have to live with on your own.
Yeah. There’s, there’s no reason to. Hide or to not tell or to be, I mean, there’s, there’s legitimate reasons to be afraid or whatever it is, but they’re not reasons that should eclipse us from taking action in terms of leaving us to silently suffer.
So if you’re one of those people, if you’ve identified it on somebody else, I’d really just encourage you to talk about it, to get out and just experiment with letting those words come out of your mouth. I’ve kind of like emotional. I used to call it emotionally vomit because in the beginning, when you’re talking about your mental and emotional health challenges, it’s not going to be pretty. You’re not going to be eloquent. It’s not going to be gorgeous and that’s totally okay.
It’s not pretty when a baby starts to walk, so, right. So, um, that would be my thing is just like, let’s all just create a more safe environment for ourselves and others to try to talk about, uh, really what’s going on in our lives.
Craig Inzana: Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you for doing the work that you’re doing and thank you for coming on the show.
Adam Moen: Thank you.
Again, learn more about the Avalo App: http://www.avalo.app/