Silent Secret is a social enterprise and a safe, non-judgemental and anonymous social network where young people aged 11–¬19 can share their secrets, thoughts, feelings, news and lifestyles. Silent Secret aims to support its users in reducing stress and anxiety, increasing emotional wellbeing and connecting them to local and national support organisations in times of need.
The Silent Secret app was launched on Apple’s App Store in November 2014 and now has over 20,000 users with more than 90,000 secrets shared. The ‘get support’ button has been clicked over 19,000 times. We are incredibly excited to announce that Silent Secret is finally coming to Android! At 4.30 pm on 21 May, Android users will be able to download Silent Secret from Google Play Store. At the same time, a major update of Silent Secret will be available on Apple’s App Store.
A Silent Secret iOS user recently commented, ‘The Silent Secret app has helped me so much. Every time I post a secret on there, it’s like a weight has been lifted off my chest. I know I won’t be judged and it’s so nice when you get hearts and hugs and people going through the same thing as you. It’s just the best thing that has ever come from technology.’
To eliminate the risk of online bullying and make Silent Secret safe, when the app was first released on iOS it did not allow users to comment on each other’s secrets. Instead users were able to interact using buttons: ‘heart’ is used to express love, ‘me2’ to express empathy and ‘hug’ to express sympathy. The app encourages a healthier form of interaction. A ‘get support’ button appears with each secret, enabling users to connect with support organisations should they need to.
Now that Silent Secret is being launched on Android, a major new comment feature is being piloted. Teenagers using Silent Secret can obtain verified user status at the discretion of Silent Secret. When a user becomes verified, they can comment only on other verified users’ secrets. Each comment is ephemeral (‘lasting for a very short time’) and will only be visible once, before it disappears. Verified users can make ten free comments per day in the new Android release and iOS update.
Another major feature is personalisation and localisation of support for users with the integration of the ‘get support’ button within the app.
Silent Secret’s team includes 13 teenage co-founders, who collectively own 15% of the company and are the driving force behind the app from its design to its functionality. They are at the heart of all our decision-making. Therefore the app was truly created by the people it is designed for. We have collaborated with ChildLine in developing our ‘how to be safe’ policy, ensuring the app is a safe and trusted space for young people to share openly without fear of being bullied or abused.
Professor Peter Fonagy OBE, commented: ‘Silent Secret is an app produced by and for young people. It is based on harnessing the universal curative force of social sharing using 21st century technology, bringing the process instantly to scale. It has the potential to make a real impact – to remove the feeling of isolation so often linked to mental health problems and to destigmatise mental disorder through social actions. It is set to make a genuine impact on the mental health of those who participate in the Silent Secret community. As a platform for signposting and advice it could achieve even more.’
Since January 2014, Silent Secret has attracted investment of over £200,000 including £157,900 from the Department for Education as part of the National Prospectus Grants Programme under the Children and Young People’s Mental Health theme. We have also secured strategic partnerships with Solve, UCLPartners Academic Health Science Network and the London Borough of Havering.