Yo (app for iOS, Android)
When in the caves of isolation, tangled by the weeds of insecurity, reaching out to others can feel near impossible. I either avoid all eye contact with the world or end up feeling like I said too much, hauling 29 years worth of baggage into my friend’s front door. It’s hard to know what to say or how to say it even when you know something needs to be said. Depression isn’t the best ice-breaker.
Mashable rated Yo 91 on their list of the 100 best apps of all time. But not without slighting it first for its shocking simplicity. Mashable’s Sam Murphy Kelly claims, “Yo is the poster child for stupid apps” and she is probably right. But Yo is worth up to an estimated $10 million according to the New York Times so hats off to the developers because I’d be simple and stupid for a lot less.
This is how it works: you tap the name of a contact in the app and it sends your friend a “Yo”. And…yep, that’s it. The website says, “it’s that simple” because it really is. All you can do is Yo.
What’s actually amazing about the simplicity of the concept is that it provides endless possibilities for communication among friends. It is messaging that relies on context rather than on words. “Yo” pretty much means whatever you want it to mean.
In my battle with depression and anxiety, my close friends and I determined that when I contact them through the app, it signifies to them that I am in the midst of struggle. And when they Yo back it affirms for me that I am on their minds and that they will check in later. In this way, using Yo provides an easy way to stay connected even when I don’t want to be.
Though it is not an app developed specifically for those with mental illnesses, for those in darkness, having a means of easy, low-pressure communication like this is helpful and comforting in the fight against depression, anxiety, etc. It creaks the door of communication open, even if it’s only enough room for two letters to squeeze through. At least it gives allies the opportunity to serve by letting them in. It really can be as simple as a Yo.