App highlights toll depression takes on loved ones

A Facebook app developed in Ireland lets users know how many of their family and friends on the social network are likely to be suffering from depression.

The Grow Facebook app, is designed to highlight the toll depression is taking among loved ones and friends at any moment in time.

A user’s number of friends is automatically run though an algorithm to estimate how many of them are likely to be experiencing mental health issues.

Grow, the mental health recovery organisation, chose Facebook because it is the preferred choice of young people, who are most vulnerable to depression, isolation, and stress.

The app, developed and designed by Irish company BrandX, is part of Grow’s campaign to mark World Mental Health Week that starts on Monday.

The app uses an algorithm based on the accepted incidence of depression among the general population at any given time, which, in Ireland’s case, is one in 10.

Grow chief executive Michelle Kerrigan said their message for World Mental Health Week was to share depression awareness.

“Everyone is entitled to mental health and Grow’s track record in assisting real recovery demonstrates that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that recovery is not only possible but fully achievable.”

It is reckoned that about one in four Irish people will experience depression or other mental health issues in their lifetime.

“We hope that the app, designed to be passed on and shared with friends, helps people to discuss mental health,” said Ms Kerrigan.

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