These days, tempers are hot, tolerance is waning, and frustration levels are perilously high. And, with shutdowns starting up once again and money still tight for many people, traditional options like face-to-face psychotherapy aren’t happening. Enter Supportiv, a peer support network that gives people the safe, anonymous support they need.
Supportiv: A.I.-Driven Peer Network
Support groups can help participants feel less alone and find additional strength to face their problems. Indeed, the Mayo Clinic states that “a support group among people with shared experiences may function as a bridge between medical and emotional needs.”
Normally, finding that group (or any sort of therapy environment) takes time and effort. Supportiv takes the work out of it. After answering the question “What’s your struggle?” the website’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) matches you and your issue into what co-founder Pouria Mojabi calls “micro-communities” of up to seven members. That’s a lot of groupings, considering that the Supportiv peer network currently has 440,000 users.
“There are no static topics or drop-down menus. Users type their struggles in an unstructured format and our AI takes care of the rest,” Mojabi explains to Parentology. “Each peer group has a human moderator at its center. As users chat, our AI is at work again recommending hyper-relevant self-help resources and referrals in real-time which will be shared with the group by the moderator. Supportiv is 24/7 with less than a minute wait time.”
While the AI sorts users into appropriated groupings, a real person moderates the actual groups. Each moderator is at minimum psych graduate student, schooled in how to steer the group for the most benefit with the least judgment.
“Moderators go through a peer support curriculum developed by our clinical advisor Dr. Alejandro Martinez, Stanford’s former Associate Dean of Students and current Executive Director of Threat Assessment,” Mojabi says. “After the course is finished, future moderators go through quizzes and simulated tests before they can moderate peer groups on Supportiv.“
And, if there is a mental health emergency, the moderators are trained to offer recommendations for crisis services.
The Origin of Supportiv
The inspiration for Supportiv came out of tragedy.
“I had always taken a traditional male approach to mental wellbeing, until losing a close friend to suicide,” Mojabi says. “My friend’s passing made clear to me just how much pain a person could hide due to fear of judgment. I began to attend support groups, but realized the hurdles they posed were still prohibitive.”
He feels Supportiv fills an immediate need, especially for today’s stressors like COVID-19, job worries, and school closures, among others. “Social media is full of perfect parents/kids moments which is great but often far from the reality of parenting, so having a place to share your struggles and connect with others going through a similar struggle is a gift,” says Mojabi.
An added bonus of attending a virtual support group: total anonymity. Mojabi stresses that no identifying info — like numbers, names, addresses, and email — can be used. Likewise, medical advice isn’t allowed (this isn’t a place to discuss vaccination choices, for instance). If there’s trolling, abuse, or profanity, the real-life moderator is there to shut it down.
“Moderators are thoroughly trained to remove ill-intentioned users as a first priority.”
This mixture of technology and human support is key to avoiding the pitfalls of online communication. Judgemental and inappropriate behavior on Supportiv has consequences ranging from a 24-hour usage hold to a permanent ban.
Mojabi feels that everyone needs to give themselves a break. Need a sounding board? You get it. Need something more comprehensive? It can refer you to an appropriate therapeutic venue. “As a parent and a caregiver, you often forget to take care of yourself,” he notes. “We made sure Supportiv has enough resources to support parents when they need it.”
Special Offer for Parentology Readers
Supportiv is a mobile-optimized experience, so you can access it from any device and without downloading an app.
THE COST: Normally, Supportiv is free for the first 24 hours, then visitors can choose a pay-as-you-go model ($0.20 per minute) or a month of unlimited service for $19.99.
However, the owners are so confident you’ll love Supportiv that they’re offering Parentology readers a FREE MONTH of service. Simply enter the code PARENTOLOGY at checkout for your free month.