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Mental health app WhiteFlag fosters personal connection

Posted at 3:13 PM, Nov 15, 2023

It's been about a year and a half since the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was implemented.

The U.S. hotline fields millions of calls, texts and chats, but mental health experts say more resources are needed to get people the support they need.

Considering how isolating mental health struggles can be, Jonny McCoy is trying to make the experience less isolating by helping people build connections through an app he created called WhiteFlag.

It's a social media platform where people can be connected instantly and anonymously with somebody else who's going through the same mental health challenges.

"For me, it would be anxiety, PTSD, depression, and coping with marijuana and alcohol," McCoy said. "I would raise my white flag. And then a multitude of other users will see that I raised my flag for issues that we have in common."

He says that authentic peer-to-peer connection made a huge difference in his life.

It's also benefitted Mckenzy Rene who discovered WhiteFlag through a friend. He liked how it was anonymous.

"I was the type of person to bottle everything in, and I had no one to talk to," Rene said. "Just coming from the area and the kind of background that I came from, I was always told to kind of like, suck it up and be a man, and you gotta be tough all the time and just rub some dirt on it."

Whenever he's having a hard time, even if it's three in morning, he says he's able to find support through WhiteFlag.

Now he's open about his struggles because he's hoping others will feel inspired to get help.

"70% of suicides are men, and that's because men just don't like to ask for support, don't like to ask for help," McCoy said.

If you or someone you know if having a hard time, you can find connection through WhiteFlag, or you can call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.