Creating a safe online space to listen, share and be heard

I was responsible for the co-design, strategy and technical approach to Mind’s Elefriends – the UK’s most successful peer support platform. By applying a Lean Startup approach I was able to take the idea from concept to full-scale service.



Key achievements

  • 80,000+ members, with around 50 new joining every day
  • 15% of new users post at least two messages
  • 85% of users say Elefriends has helped them better manage their mental health
  • Voted by the Guardian as one of the top five mental health apps

My involvement

  • I designed the initial prototype wireframes and tested the assumptions through a series of co-design workshops with vulnerable service users.
  • I coded the initial working prototype to validate early ideas.
  • I pulled together and managed an Agile development team to scale up the initial idea from website concept to two apps (iOS and Android).
  • I led the ongoing service design and optimisation through usability testing and implementation of a measurement strategy.
  • I regularly presented progress to stakeholders and funders.
  • I used a collaborative, dynamic planning process – prioritising the work that needed to be done against capacity and capability of our multi-disciplinary teams.
  • I also took responsibility for the technical approach, ensuring best practice, such as implementing AI machine learning to automatically moderate distressing images.


In a recent survey, 86% of people who use Elefriends said they now felt better able to manage their mental health. Many said they felt more confident talking about their experiences and getting access to the right support