Former Liverpool goalkeeper behind social media platform
Mental health social media app Yapa is targeting new investment ahead of the launch of its version 2.0.
The social media app encourages its members to talk to one another rather than sharing photographs or amassing ‘likes’.
The app has been backed by high profile footballers including Chris Kirkland and Stylion Petrov, and Liverpool FC has also given its support to the business.
The app encourages users to send out ‘Yaps’, text-based posts that are mood-dependent. These range from Depressed to Happy via different colour codes, giving members the chance to connect with friends or well-known personalities and express themselves honestly.
If a user posts multiple times in the ‘Depressed’ colour range, then they will be messaged privately and recommended local help options for their specific issue.
Whilst retaining its main focus on the ‘no photos, no likes’ philosophy, changes that Yapa members will enjoy in the new 2.0 version of the app include a meditation section and a wider range of well-known personalities to speak with about mental health issues.
With its innovative use of technology and a zero-tolerance policy on trolling, many recognisable faces and mental health advocates have flocked to support Yapa’s initiative.
Chief among them is co-founder Kirkland, ex-Liverpool and England goalkeeper. Speaking on his involvement with the app, he commented: “I have dealt with depression in the past. It’s an ongoing battle and small changes can really help along the way.
“When you’re in that state of mind, everything has an effect on you. I know that looking at your phone and seeing others looking happy can affect you negatively. We can all benefit from less taboo surrounding the subject of mental health, and that’s why I wanted to get involved with Yapa.
"It is via the changes that we make to our everyday lives that we eventually change things for good. Talking is the first step, so I’d encourage everyone to get on our app and have their thoughts heard in a positive space.”
Yapa also counts other mental health advocates such as Nadia Essex and Lydia Lucy amongst its 20,000 users. CEO Jack Knowles, winner of Entrepreneur of the Year at the International Achievers Awards and Male Role Model at the International Achievers Awards, expects more faces to join the march to change the current social media landscape.
“What inspired me to create Yapa in the first place was a very real need to talk. Having suffered from mental health issues myself, I realised that my online social circles weren’t necessarily helping. This wasn’t down to the people surrounding me, but the platforms that were available to us at the time.
“It has been well documented that picture-sharing apps can be bad for people’s mental health. My drive was to create something that could help me and, potentially, help others along the way. I think that the success that we have enjoyed so far, getting the people that we have on board so early, comes down to that.
"People recognise that it is an issue and see the authenticity behind Yapa. They can see that we’re trying to change things for the better. This new wave of investment will help us do just that – continue to bring positive change to the online landscape and beyond.”
The drive for new funding is being carried out on Seedrs and aims to continue Yapa’s mission of bringing positive change to way that people consume and interact with social media platforms.