Team Roots provides students anonymous online counseling with peer and professional therapists in their local communities through iOS/Android/Web apps. After a series of tragic cases in high schools, mental health has become a topic of intense discussion in the community. While on-campus psychologists can be effective, many students might not feel comfortable visiting them, or even have access to them. We hope to increase widespread student access to mental health professionals while also building a platform that encourages anyone to feel comfortable speaking up if in need of help.
The idea is to allow students to anonymously chat with a peer or professional counselor through either our app or website – these counselors are trained, real people in the local community who students likely know. While the student knows who the counselor is who they are talking to, their identity is unknown to the counselor. In cases of emergency, the person’s student ID is on record and can be used to resolve the situation in person. Through anonymity, we removed the “barrier to entry” stigma that explained why so few students approached peer counselors in person at schools’ peer counseling organizations.
Realizing that accessible online counseling has huge unrealized potential especially given the pressures among students, we’ve received funding and mentorship from the Thiel Foundation and support from various school districts. We are currently working on releasing our beta version in six Bay Area high schools and at USC, and are adding more through peer counseling organizations at many campuses. Right now the app is still being beta tested in schools before a full release (hence no App Store link).