Linkmate is passionate about helping people feel less lonely and finding confidence. We want them sharing their emotions before they develop into a serious mental health concern. Through its social network for emotional support, the Linkmate app brings mental wellness into people’s daily lives. This is to ensure everyone has a mate who can empathise during the bad and celebrate their wins.
Part of our ongoing collaboration with for-purpose organisations, Communiteer is proud to highlight some of the stories of our partners. We chatted with David Titeu, founder of Linkmate. About how Linkmate is fighting for Sustainable Development Goals no.3 (SDG3) – Good Health and Well-being.
Hi David Titeu! Tell us about Linkmate.
Linkmate is a social network for emotional support. It connects individuals with a “Mate“ – a companion who shares similar experiences and interests. Conversations are anonymous and we train Mates in how to non-judgmentally listen and empathise. They can also work with our members to identify additional services for support in local communities.
Our goal is to provide an accessible and affordable way to feel understood and find social connection. We believe that everyone is much more than their struggles and we all deserve a mate to turn to.
Who is Linkmate for? Who is it not for?
Linkmate is for anyone who is feeling lonely or beginning to struggle emotionally. They could be having problems with their family, studies, identity or even might just want someone to chat to. We designed Linkmate so you can connect with others who can relate to your issues in a comforting experience. This offers people a safe space to vent and unburden to someone who understands. On the other hand, Linkmate isn’t for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or anyone with severe mental illness.
We preventatively support people through their mental health challenges and complement all other existing providers in the system; Beyond Blue & Headspace as well as psychologists or psychiatrists. We want to provide access to this social alternative support early on. The goal is to get on top of any issues before they take a real toll on your mental health.
How does this app work?
Once Linkmate is downloaded, sign up either as a ‘Member’ looking for support or a ‘Mate’ interested in providing support. The we ask questions about what brought them to the app and what hobbies or interests they may have.
Members can request to chat by choosing the topic, filter by age, gender and connect with their Mate. In that way, members feel empowered to take responsibility for their mental health and wellbeing. Once they request a chat, they can start talking with their Mate via text.
Linkmake trains mates in peer support, empathy, active listening which helps members feel accepted, heard and connected. If appropriate and if members request it, their Mate can help signpost them to additional services in their local community.
An example; feeling unfit and isolated at home, your Mate might suggest a walking group where you can connect with others. Mates help people build confidence and put together their own arsenal of tools and activities to lean on for support.
Why do we need this in this day and age?
We are all familiar with isolation; for what seemed an eternity and we’ve experienced more volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity than ever.
In one way or another, protracted social isolation has only made things worse for mental health. Finding authentic social and supportive connections has never been harder, especially on social media.
Forming meaningful friendships to provide a listening ear but also empower you to manage your wellbeing is crucial right now. We can survive and even thrive throughout not only the pandemic but beyond and further.
How can volunteers help and why should people volunteer?
To volunteer as a Mate, you’ll need to download the Linkmate app. The you’ll be coached you in peer support, active/empathetic listening, social prescribing, setting boundaries and self-care, which are all important. Additional, you need to provide a National Police Clearance Check and meet with the team. We want to know you a bit better as well before hand.
People should volunteer with Linkmate because you get the opportunity to make a real difference in someone’s life. You get the chance to create social impact in communities. You’re helping someone feel less lonely and find their voice to open up. In doing so, connecting them to services in their community, supporting local business and activating community services as well.
It’s one of those roles where you get to draw a real sense of meaning and purpose. You can transform past hardship or suffering into a strength and be a role model for someone. Be living proof for them that it’s possible to overcome challenges in life.
What skills do you get as a Linkmate volunteer?
Communication, interpersonal and relationship-building skills; predominantly underpinned by concepts of companionship, peer support and empathy. We build upon invaluable life skills that serve our volunteers in chats but also in life when supporting loved ones.
You’ll never really turn off these skills and talents at any point in your life. Having them sharp and ready for use will help in more ways than could surprise you.
A big part of the training is focused on self-care. Before supporting others, we arm you with the skills to prioritise your own health and wellbeing . A big part of our philosophy is that you have to show love to yourself first.
You can’t pour from an empty cup, after all. You’ll get all the fundamental tools and techniques to help you feel comfortable and confident providing support to someone else.
Thank you David Titeu for your commitment to making our minds a happier and healthier place to be!