My Discombobulated Brain

Helping the 30,000 students of Cardiff access a safe space when experiencing a panic or anxiety attack in public.

My Discombobulated Brain

1 in 4 of us are likely to struggle with our mental health in our lifetime; we built an app in partnership with mental health charity My Discombobulated Brain to allow access to safe spaces and mental health support when in public, throughout the city of Cardiff.

Let's Set The Scene

My Discombobulated Brain is a charity that tackles the stigma associated with mental health head-on while offering support and education to those affected by these issues. Thankfully the stigmas associated with mental health are in decline after years of campaigning and support from charities and incentives worldwide. However, there's still limited support in public spaces for people in need.

When a member of the MDB team had a panic attack in public, they didn't know where to seek support, which only heightened their panic. Research suggests that 25% of us struggle with mental health, which means that this situation, is unfortunately, a common occurrence.

My Discombobulated Brain approached us to design and build a tool to show users experiencing panic attacks safe areas throughout the city of Cardiff. MDB has partnered with Cardiff University to help the city's 30,000 students.

"When a team member had a panic attack while out one day, they didn't know where they could go to sit down and recover, which only heightened their panic. We realised that nobody should have to be alone when feeling like this. This is why the app was created - we believe you should be able to find the level of mental health support you need wherever you are in the city."

Laura Dernie, Founder

The Challenge

The app needed to allow access to the level of mental health support each person needs, wherever they are, at any time. Whether that's a quiet space to rest and regain their breath or a location with a mental health first aider on hand to provide one-to-one support.

We decided to list three levels of available support - Safe Spaces, locations with mental health first aiders and primary medical care such as GP surgeries. When a user opens the web app, the device's geolocation technology immediately shows the different levels of mental health support around them.

Each Safe Space listed on the app gives the user instructions on how to access support - ranging from public spaces which are open for people to come and take a break, such as St David's Hall, to venues with dedicated separate 'safe spaces' such as Cardiff Market, which can be accessed by asking any stallholder or member of staff.

Mental health first aiders can be accessed by approaching reception or customer service staff at several office and hospitality business locations. Where medical support is required, the app lists all of the NHS sites in the city so that people can easily find the help users need.

The Tech Bit

  • The signup process needed to be as simple as possible for organisations, so we designed a user experience flow to make the process seamless, automatically adding organisations to the app.

  • We built the app in low-code software for ease of iteration and testing.

  • To reduce hurdles, the app is designed to open in a browser from visiting the URL or scanning a QR code on marketing collateral around the city.

  • We created both Welsh and English landing pages to give context to the product, how to use and where to access it.

The Outcomes

The app has launched to over 30,000 students in the larger Cardiff area, and almost a hundred organisations have signed up to support the app and offer safe spaces. Brewdog, Lush, Côte Brasserie, Waterstones, Biz Space, Kin+Ilk, National Museum Cardiff, St David's Hall, Cardiff Market, and NHS facilities are among those listed.

"I'm grateful to all of the businesses and venues who've stepped up already to offer spaces for people at a time when they need it most - it's going to make a huge difference to people to know that they are surrounded by supportive people and places wherever they go in Cardiff. I also want to acknowledge the funding support that we've had from the Moondance Foundation, which has enabled us to keep the app free for users and businesses to access,"

Laura Dernie, Founder

There is no cost to the business to sign up, and we encourage all Cardiff-based organisations to get involved. To sign up for the service, visit the app landing page for more information.

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