Tech start-up of the week: Turn2Me.org

17 Nov 20133 Shares

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Brothers Diarmuid and Oisin Scollard

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Turn2me.org is an online mental health service offering support and professional counselling. In the past year, the website has experienced a huge increase in demand of 56pc and now has more than 25,000 members in its online community.

Turn2me.org is the brainchild of brothers Oisin and Diarmuid Scollard, who lost their brother Cormac to suicide.

The brothers had a vision to merge technology and psychology together. Turn2me.org is now supporting almost 30,000 people, and has saved countless lives to suicide. The platform offers all online services, through fully moderated support forums, by highly trained and supervised moderators. Professional services are offered through professional group supports and 1:1 Counselling.

Turn2me.org recently launched Engage which offers people in Ireland eight weeks of professional online counselling and charts and connects progress through a developed dashboard and technology solution.

“Turn2me.org is targeting people over 18, in Ireland and beyond,” Oisin Scollard explained.

“There are now 30,000 registered members, with the substantive demographic in 18-25, and 25-45. evenly split. The service receives, over 50,000 web visits per month. One in four people will suffer with a mental health related illness, and there is suicide every 82 minutes in Ireland and the UK. The problem had worsened with the recession.”

The founders

Oisin has a dual background; he is an experienced web development and he is also a qualified barrister with five years’ practice under his belt. He is currently responsible for Policy Implementation for Google Europe.

Diarmuid is a creative director and founder of Design Minds, a thriving digital agency in Dublin and he has 20 years of experience in the field.

“Turn2me uses technology to scalably meet the high volume demands of people seeking out mental health supports online,” Oisin explained.

“Highly trained moderators and professionals, guide people from the peer forum based services, into daily closed professional online group supports, where topics like depression, anxiety and suicide are discussed. People are also guided towards chat based 1:1 counselling online, and where appropriate towards the Engage programme.

“Turn2me has also developed its own proprietary online though and mood diary called Thought Catcher.

“Thought Catcher allows each member to create one thought per day, confined to characters, and then select a mood, and reason. Their mood and thoughts are then charted on a graph over time, which reflects their mood patterns. People can literally go back on the graph and revisit thoughts, to learn from experiences.

“They can also document feelings, and the context around each thought, which helps in changing behaviours. Our professionals are also monitoring thought catcher, which means people who most need help can be guided into our services,” Scollard explained.

“We invite all Silicon Republic readers to sign up, or promote this wonderful, free and highly accessible service.”

The goal is to save lives

The ultimate goal of Turn2Me is to save lives in keeping with the mission to be a lifeline online, Scollard said. “We aim to be there for people, when often other services are closed, and also, to be available all over Ireland, removing geographic limitations. Also, more recently launching our mobile version, has been increasingly popular. It is support in your pocket.”

Turn2me is now growing at a rate of 100pc each year, in terms of members and calls on services.

“We have more recently through working in collaboration with the HSE, been able to meet more demand  through launching Engage, and making 500 counseling sessions, freely available to people in Ireland.”

Silicon Liffey

Scollard said the start-up is seeking further investment to scale and help more people.

“We are asking Irish people and business to pledge to us, in one of three ways: through direct investment/cash; through technology support and partnership; and through helping us promote/advertise our services, especially Engage.”

His advice to other tech self-starters is to just go for it. “Impossible is possible. Do not look for affirmation through others, believe in you, your idea, your vision. And network with good people, talk to those in it, and who have gone through it, they will give you much better context and support.”

A recent visitor to the Dublin Web Summit Scollard says he was blown away by the talent and innovation coming out of this little island called Ireland.

“I really believe, Ireland and Dublin City in particular, is becoming the ‘Silicon Liffey’ of Europe. Recession breeds innovation, and the Irish mentality is to fight and progress, this is now shining through. This country has a bright future.”

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com