Startup Founder Uses His Own Struggle with Suicide to Help Shape New Mental Health Support App

When I was a junior at the University of Minnesota, I struggled with depression and suicide. On the surface, nobody would have guessed…I was going to school, had some good career prospects, a seemingly fulfilling social life…but I was silently suffering. And every day I contemplated whether or not continuing to live was worth it.

I didn’t know what to do, I had never had these feelings before, and I had never talked to anyone about them.

(You can watch me explain those feelings here in this TEDx talk)

I’m lucky though. I got help.

However, not every undergraduate student is so lucky. In the United States, there are 1,100 collegiate suicides every year and 6% of undergrads seriously consider suicide. Half of that group never tell anyone.

I was part of that half.

I struggled reaching out for help because I didn’t know where to go and I didn’t know what was “normal” or real distress that I needed help with.

That’s why we created Marbles.

Marbles Log In Screen

Marbles iOS and android apps offer free 24/7 peer-to-peer mental health support.

Think of it like an online and anonymous, peer-to-peer support group with a few more bells and whistles.

This virtual community is accessible 24/7 for support and constructive conversation about mental and emotional health challenges, 100% troll and stigma free.

Here’s another quick blog post if you want to know how we do it!

We’ve had an exciting 2017 and discovered that volunteers at the United States National Suicide Prevention Lifeline now recommend Marbles to people who call in (after they are stabilized of course, Marbles is not meant to be an immediate crisis intervention tool)! More about that here…

Marbles Analytics

In addition to offering students a virtual mental health safety net consisting of kind-hearted peers who have been there before, you can improve your student mental health outreach, engagement, and outcomes by incorporating Marbles Analytics.

Through our portal, you can watch (like displayed in Figure 2) the real-time mental and emotional health trends of your student population unfold.

Figure 2: Marbles Analytics Summary of University of Minnesota student mental health as of Oct 9, 2016

Figure 2 shows the trajectory of students’ Reflection scores, our super-charged mood-tracker, and can bring light and quantifiable data to various positive and/or negative mental and emotional health trends on campus. After all, it’s often what you don’t know that can hurt you…like these two Marbles Academy schools found out!

Marbles could be the enabling technology to redefine how schools do highly effective and customized health promotion, education, and engagement efforts!

Do you want to be considered for a Fall 2017 pilot or bring this to your institution?

We’ve only got 3 spots left in the Marbles Academy for the upcoming semester. Simply email today to be considered or to begin a discussion about how we can bring Marbles to your campus or organization!

We will not be considering new applicants for Fall 2017 after June 30th, 2017.
If you are interested in launching later than Fall 2017, we’d still like to get to know you so feel free to reach out!!

Thank you,


p.s. Adam’s TEDxtalk: Choices, Suicide, and Apple Cores

p.s.s. We are in the process of running a University-sponsored academic study about the effectiveness of Marblesapp on reducing student depression and anxiety. To get involved or hear preliminary results, contact Adam!

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