Inspired by self-reflection and his skills in advice-giving, senior communication studies major Konstantin Krayniy recently developed ShareSpace, an app that takes a unique approach to mental health. Since the official launch in May 2021, ShareSpace has accumulated roughly 6,000 users across 71 countries.
ShareSpace is a mobile app that allows people to share their mental health challenges with others confidentially. Users can select topics they are struggling with from two main categories: everyday challenges and mental health challenges. Sub-topics include loneliness, anxiety, stress and overthinking.
The concept behind ShareSpace began to develop during Krayniy’s freshman year at LMU.
“A lot of people in my life would come to me for advice whenever they’re facing a complicated situation and my advice turned out to be useful for them. I felt like, okay, I’m pretty good at that, at understanding people’s emotions, understanding where people come from and being able to give them some constructive feedback that can help them solve the situation or accept it, you know, whatever they need to feel better. From there I thought if I can do that, other people can do that as well,” said Krayniy.
For Krayniy, ShareSpace works to destigmatize the conversation about mental health. “They are looking for a sense of connection, they are looking for a sense of unity with other people. They want to know they are not the only ones going through this,” said Krayniy.
Some LMU students who were recently introduced to ShareSpace saw there was potential for the app to be useful for other students as well.
“I think it’s good we have another resource available to us. Student Psychological Services is usually really booked and hard to get an appointment,” said Esmeralda Bruce-Romo, a senior Chicana/o and Latina/o studies and Spanish double major.
Bruce-Romo stated that knowing that other LMU students might be going through similar problems can help people realize that dealing with mental health does not need to be stigmatized.
Student Psychological Services (SPS) provides students with access to clinically licensed therapists for individual therapy sessions as well as group and wellness workshops. While the services provided by SPS are great for students, ShareSpace is an alternative for students with busy schedules who may not have time for SPS.
Krayniy noted that ShareSpace is not a substitute for professional help, but acts as an accessible mental health resource for individuals who do not want to or cannot receive professional help. Currently, ShareSpace does not offer services from professionally licensed therapists or psychiatrists.
Carolina Espinoza, a junior journalism major, had a similar opinion. “It could be a first step for someone who needs to let out those feelings or emotions, but isn’t ready to take the next step and seek professional help,” they said.
ShareSpace’s design was largely based on a 2007 UCLA study that found that putting one’s feelings into words creates therapeutic effects in the brain. Krayniy stated that user reviews prove this to be true, as “A lot of our members have said that they felt a sense of relief after they share their stories. They know [they are] not the only one going through this.”
Through SharesSpace, Krayniy hopes to redefine how mental health is understood. “Everybody goes through difficult situations. We tend to think about mental health [as] something that is diagnosable, that’s a condition or something. That’s not the approach we have. Mental health is everything, mental health is being stressed with school work. Mental health is having a misunderstanding with your parents,” said Krayniy.
Krayniy hopes to serve the LMU community on ShareSpace by creating a private LMU group within the app where students can share their feelings in confidence. Krayniy stated that he recently spoke with President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., about this concept and hopes to develop it soon.
Krayniy has spent the last few months molding the future of ShareSpace. “Our vision for ShareSpace is we want to be an ecosystem for mentally healthy wellbeing. We want to combine various tools including groups with the professionals that would be able to give people that unique guidance and help that they need,” said Krayniy.