Timsle: Getting better with the support of family and friends

Peer support and self-care are under-utilized tools for helping youth recover and optimize their mental health. mHealth technology can be used with youth and families to build an understanding of daily routines, motivate participation in treatment, and provide a sense of control over the day-to-day factors which affect illness trajectory. This presentation will examine ways to integrate peer-support and self-care into virtual care programming through apps - from a lived experience perspective.

Presenters and slide deck

Quayce Thomas

Quayce Thomas is the founder and developer of Timsle.com - a social accountability network for getting better with family and friends. He built Timsle as a personal tool to recover from psychosis and bipolar disorder - and is now working to make it freely available to everyone. His goals are to help the world transition from healthcare to self-care, and to develop low cost housing and health systems for countries without first world infrastructure. On a day-to-day basis, he likes to run, read, cook and code - and is always up to learn something new.


Key Learnings

  • Timsle is an app that leverages technology and peer support to create a social network for self-care. It allows the user to track their own self-care strategies in real-time and share their progress with their network of friends on the app, in order to enhance accountability.
  • The goal of the app is to enhance early detection of mental illness and mitigate risk of clinical symptoms through early intervention, peer support and accountability.
  • Virtual solutions like Timsle encounter challenges such as limited resources, cost of providing the service, and reliance on the network effect in order to be sustainable and effective. These are all challenges currently being worked on as Timsle refines and expands to serve people everywhere, whenever they should need the support.


Thoughts from those with Lived/Living Expertise

What are some of the highlights?

  • Development of the app highlighted insights from the presenter’s lived experience, which subsequently formed the basis of the app. This included challenges/limitations of existing apps (e.g., reward-based, therapy-based nature of the apps) and insights about mental health recovery (e.g., the impact of accountability and healthy lifestyle/routines on improving depression). 
  • The presenter identified major gaps of mental healthcare systems and attempted to address their driving mechanisms (e.g., reliance on funders, service region densities, strict clinical adherence) in designing the app. Specifically, the network-based, low-barrier, holistic, and decentralized approach to the app was highlighted. This approach is also well-attuned in the current age of social media and technology.

How can information gained be used? 

  • The app helps youth and families access the system by enabling trusted networks to be involved in recovery. Involvement of trusted networks in activities related to recovery may destigmatize and motivate recovery efforts.

What are the implications?

  • The highly medicalized nature of aspects of mental healthcare recovery may hinder progress, acting as a constant reminder of an illness. Utilizing intimate networks of service users may aid recovery by focusing on a holistic view of recovery (as opposed to a medicalized view).
  • Conventional systems could benefit from integrating holistic approaches into care to augment existing recovery methods, especially when access to services (e.g. in rural areas) may be lacking.

What would you like to know more about?

  • How the design of the app accounts for usability considerations for all ages (e.g. teens, adults, older adults, children) and family different structures.

Subscribe to Frayme
Stay up-to-date with Frayme and network opportunities through our newsletter, OnPoint. 

Join our Network
Network partners work alongside Frayme or other network partners in order to transform youth mental health and substance use services in Canada. Access the evidence, resources and tools you need to take action.