I recently came across Cathartic – an online platform where you can confidentially share any issues or problems you have in your personal or professional life safe in the knowledge that it is completely anonymous. I spoke with founder and owner Neil Chandler about what inspired him to create the site and his hopes for it going forward. I think its a great tool for HR managers and employers out there to enhance their employee wellbeing and engagement offering.
What inspired you to create Cathartic?
I want to help the people who slip through the cracks. With Social media we are all very public about our lives but all to often we avoid the issues that are hare to talk about, Cathartic is a place where anyone can say anything, with complete anonymity. So far we have posts covering just about every subject, Mental Health, Abuse, Addiction, etc.
Over the last last 17 years I have predominantly worked for FTSE100 companies as a Technical Solutions Architect.
I am now the founder of Cathartic.co a non profit social enterprise that encourages self expression for mental well-being. After seeing various friends struggle with addiction and mental health issues, I decided to do something to try and help improve mental health awareness and provide a platform of expression for those struggling alone.
Users can share their thoughts, fears or entire story in a safe place designed to help. Self expression has proven benefits for mental well-being and many people are unable to fully express how they really feel. Cathartic.co is changing this. No problem is off limits; stress, depression, mental health, relationships, work or even political oppression have all been discussed on Cathartic.
Cathartic.co was designed with anonymity as its core value. No personal details are stored, all IP addresses are masked and even cookies are destroyed as soon as the session is closed. It is this robust anonymity that is allowing people who were previously hesitant to discuss their problems, fearing identification or stigma, to feel confident enough to fully discuss any issues that are on their mind. The need for anonymity is taken very seriously and a Darknet portal is provided for those who wish to use another layer of anonymity, thus allowing technology previously used predominantly in illegal activities to be deployed in a positive and empowering way.
What does Cathartic do?
We let people tell their story in complete anonymity, once a story is shared we then scan and present a list of relevant people who can help.
How can a person access Cathartic?
A member of the public can just goto https://cathartic.co from there you can read or write stories. It’s designed to be as simple as possible, works on mobiles, tables, etc.
Within an orginisation we create a custom link, this goes to a private version of cathartic, it can be cases from anywhere but all posts are 100% private.
How would it benefit employers?
We offer a safe place for employees to talk about issues,
Why do you think employers might be interested in it?
We can increase employee engagement and give anonymous statistics of issues within their organisation, most importantly we protect the employees so they have a safe place to talk to HR and Compliance.
How easy would it be to integrate onto a companies intranet?
It takes us 10 minuites to get everything up and running, from there you just share the link with your employees.
How confidential is it?
100% from the ground up Cathartic has been build to be anonymous. In addition security is key, everything is encrypted with military grade encryption, we also give the customer control of the data, if they choose to purge a story it’s impossible to recover.
What are your plans for the site?
We just want to grow, we are working with a highstreet bank and a new product will be released shortly. In addition we are looking to partner with an organisation who can greatly increase the levels of support we can offer to the public.