PHILOSOPHY

What it is: Huddle is online group therapy facilitated by mental health professionals with real-time community response.

Why we created it: Many of us face invisible problems alone, and it is shown that connecting with others is one of the most effective ways to start feeling your best again. Sometimes the most comforting words in the universe are “me too”. This is often more exhausting to do during difficult times, so Huddle provides an approachable, easily accessible community who are similarly invested in living well. Through simple and novel prompts about what you felt and how you went about your day, Huddle enables live video discussions with your coach or therapist and instant reactions from fellow respondents. You can also check-in daily with your community or 1:1 with your coach. You are just one word or emoji away from motivating ideas and a shared sense of belonging.

Who it works for: Those who are concerned with their mental health or are already working through a condition. Those who are seeking better accessibility and flexibility to include therapy into their busy schedules, or prefer the ease of mobile apps. Those who are more hesitant to speak in person and prefer typing and increased privacy. The act of typing is similar to journaling and is shown to help process feelings. Those who lack mobility, or who want a lower cost solution to connecting with an individual therapist or group sessions.

Why this works: it is scientifically proven that group therapy can effective treat a variety of conditions, such as anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, self-esteem, and more. Group therapy creates a safe, supportive setting where participants can air their struggles, receive encouragement which creates a shared sense of belonging, and prevent isolation by seeing that they are not alone. Under the guidance of a therapist, interactions with others can pinpoint the issue, provide new information, and provide feedback to enable self-motivation.

FEATURES

Weekly Group Huddle:

  1. Coach-led real-time group therapy, designated time each day/week for an hour. On live video, coach leads discussion via prompts, and facilitates discussion using participant responses
  2. Participants can join: Actively by clicking a “raise hand” feature (entering them in a question queue for their turn) to type or speak an opinion or question. Or more obervational participants can type their opinions on a rolling comment screen which is viewable to all
  3. Based on participation volume, coach’s role is to support engaging conversation while limiting excessive focus on a particular topic. By segueing the conversation or suggesting moving on to a new topic, coach can ensure that all users in the question queue get their turn. Coach can arrange for private conversations to follow-up on users who needs aren’t fully addressed
  4. Session content can either open forum or themed. If themed: app has a suggestion thread where users comment and vote on topics that are most relevant to them, this will set up the tone for future live sessions. Common issues discussed can also lay the groundwork for future Daily Huddle prompts

Group Check-in:

  1. Daily real-time chat group to check-in on the health status of the group. Huddle group can be targeted to general or specific mental health conditions. Participants must answer prompt to reveal group’s answers (promote personal investment)
  2. Coach prompts: How are you feeling today? (Respond in one word/short sentence, or by selecting emojis (fistbump, cheers). What was your day like? (Respond by selecting from graphics (photos of facial expressions, weather, daily life scenes like traffic/late hours at the office/binge eating). Finish the sentence (Today I thought / did / behaved).
  3. Follow-ups and polls: What went well? What did you do to take care of yourself? What are you grateful for? What did not go well? When did you need a timeout? What triggered it? When does it happen? Who’s involved? What can you do?
  4. Interaction: Icebreaker for very first group introduction: two truths and one lie, etc. Users chat and comment real-time: share stories, quotes, photos, suggestions. Other types: games such as group coloring book, etc.
  5. Group Health Solutions: visual cloud of coping methods, coach also types summary

Personal Check-in:

  1. Users can chat personally with the coach. System provides automated response to all private messages indicating when the coach will reply. In addition, coaches maintain a profile of all participants and use it when replying to ensure relevant feedback.
  2. View my progress, my schedule
  3. Celebrate individual victories for higher engagement: # logins, prompts answered per week, or streaks (goal is to motivate, not to disencourage if lower usage)

USERS

Participants:

  1. Onboarding: Through individual answers, an algorithm and coaches will match the individual to group(s) that best fit their conditions. Ability to 1-week trial test different huddle groups to ensure compatibility with coach style and relevant content
  2. Joining groups: Individuals who download the app. Referral through current therapists who have an active huddle group. Invitation from current participants of an active huddle group. Open channel recommendation through professional mental health associations where participant is registered. Company or external association affiliated group sign-ups

Coaches:

  1. Who: professional mental health individuals and associations (therapists, clinical or counseling psychologists, social work, researchers, educators, mentors)
  2. Qualifications: only coaches can start a huddle group. They must fulfill education and licensing requirements
  3. Responsibilities: ensure basic rules are followed to optimize user experience, promote user engagement, moderate conversation content to avoid triggers

RULES

  1. Discussions are led and supervised by qualified coaches
  2. Privacy: ensure personal identifying information, contact information, and personal experiences are kept strictly confidential unless participant wishes to make it public
  3. Limit socializing and direct contact outside the scope of the session: the goal is a therapeutic activity, 1:1 interactions that may create triggers should be avoided
  4. Ground rules: respect, anti-harassment environment
  5. Provide a list of all resources available (emergency numbers and hotlines), especially if in imminent crisis since immediately response is not always possible
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