Unmasked app gives students anonymous forum to discuss mental health

Unmasked app gives students anonymous forum to discuss mental health

Erika Massaro, Contributing Reporter

Unmasked is a new app gaining popularity on college campuses all around the country. The mission of the app is to “provide a safe space for students to take off their masks and have real conversations.” The app aims to create an anonymous, judgement-free emotional support system, to appeal to students who may feel uncomfortable seeking help in a community where there is a stigma against mental health.

Unmasked was originally launched at Dartmouth College in January 2020 and it rapidly became a frequently used platform for individuals struggling with mental health issues on campus. As a result, other colleges began to use the app, and the virtual support community began to expand quickly. Currently, Unmasked has over 2,600 followers on its official Instagram page.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGOhlZnAeuS/

President of Unmasked at Tulane Melody Li explained that she had a personal connection to the Unmasked team at Dartmouth, which is why she decided to bring it to Tulane’s campus. Though Unmasked is just starting to gain recognition on Tulane’s campus, supporting any amount of people is considered a success for the Unmasked Project, according to Li.

“Having such unfiltered, open conversation about mental health through an anonymous and judgement-free platform is one of the first steps that can be taken to end the stigma around mental health and that’s an important step to take on any college campus where young adults are navigating a new environment and stage of their life that can feel lonely, when in reality, there are so many peers going through the same thing who want to support one another.” Li said.  “There is so much pressure around having the best time all the time and displaying the perfect college, social life once you get to college that people forget that it’s completely normal to still have difficult days and a hard time adjusting and making new connections, especially during such unprecedented times in a pandemic.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFiiOkpAbdi/

So far, Unmasked has “impacted the lives of over 4,500 students across 17 colleges” and it is continuously gaining more attention as it expands, Li said. Part of the reason Unmasked is becoming more popular is because of its accessibility — to bring the app to a college, organizers fill out a form with their name, email and a short message, or can email [email protected] to join. 

However, if an individual’s college does not have Unmasked or the resources to bring it to their campus, Unmasked’s official website provides the Dartmouth log-in information so anyone can access the app. 

Li also said that Unmasked has had an overall positive influence at Tulane, noting how it has created a “community of students who are there for each other and available to make this campus feel like a much smaller and closer space.” Even though the project will need time to grow and reach more students, Li discussed how “[The Unmasked at Tulane team] loves and appreciates the little community [their] platform fosters right now, but [they] want to promote the platform and reach a larger audience so that every student knows what the app is and how its meant to serve and support ourselves and our peers.” 

Unmasked at Tulane is dedicated to offering help to those who may have been afraid to ask for help before, and it is also available to anyone who may be able to provide advice and assistance even if they feel as if they don’t personally need the support. The organization has said that they are committed to helping anyone at any time while creating a safe college community.