Everybody has days when they feel worried, upset, sad, or anxious. Talking to someone like a trusted friend or a therapist can help a lot by giving you some perspective on your problems. But sometimes you need to talk to someone and there’s no one around to listen to you.
When you absolutely need someone to talk to online, one of the best places to go is The Kind Voice subReddit and Discord channel, both of which are staffed by volunteers:
“Sometimes we need to hear a human voice on the other end of the line telling us that everything’s going to be ok. This subreddit is for people that aren’t in a suicidal crisis, but feel depressed, alone, or want someone to talk to.”
A similar service is called The Haven, another Discord channel for people who need someone to talk to. Both Kind Voice and The Haven are free, volunteer-run services, and I can recommend them without hesitation.
And today I learned about another place where strangers can offer comfort and support to each other: a new app called Kind Words, which is now available on Steam for only CAD$5.69 (approximately US$4.28).
PC Gamer writer Fraser Brown describes Kind Words as follows:
Kind Words is a peculiar game about writing nice letters to real strangers while listening to chill music. There’s no pressure, tension or objectives—you just relax in your cozy bedroom, scribbling away. It’s incredibly sweet, with a surreal but reassuring atmosphere. A deer delivers your mail! I love it.
If you’re tense or upset and don’t feel like you can share your worries with people you know, you can jot things down in Kind Words and send your letter out into the community, at which point they go into the request queue and people can respond with words of encouragement.
Alternatively, you can also fire off a paper airplane, which can be sent to individuals or to the community in general. If you’ve just got good vibes to share or you want to thank someone for helping you, just launch one of them out of your window.
Sometimes it’s just nice to have people rooting for you, even if they’re invisible strangers in a game. And despite the potential for abuse, the community seems to be overwhelmingly lovely and sincere. It only launched yesterday, but prior to that there were still thousands of people writing letters to each other, and so far there don’t appear to have been problems.
There is a report feature, too, which sends the letter to the developer and removes it from your list. It might need to be used more now that it’s officially released, but hopefully not.
To test out the system, I posted a short note about something that I was worried about, and within 20 minutes I received no less than ten supportive letters from anonymous strangers, offering encouragement and suggesting solutions and different ways of looking at my particular issue. It was immensely heartwarming!
And in turn, I wrote a note of reassurance and encouragement to someone who was feeling lonely and disheartened about his situation. Everything you send out is only signed with your first initial. All communication is strictly anonymous, and Kind Words sets out some good privacy and safety ground rules (such as not sharing links to your personal social media), as well as links to mental health resources.
Kind Words is a brilliant example of how you can change the world in a small, positive way through your actions. It’s a wonderful program and I wish the developers, Pop Cannibal, every success in this endeavour.
If you want to learn more about Kind Words, you can follow the Kind Words subReddit or join the Pop Cannibal Discord server.