Provide routes to anonymity


YoungMinds is the UK's leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. They campaign, research and influence policy and practice. In early 2020, YoungMinds designed an app that allows young people to help shape and influence YoungMind’s mental health content. 

When using the app, young people have control over their anonymity. By toggling a switch, they can change how they are seen. The ‘contributor’ mode hides the profile name. They can toggle back to their chosen user name at any point. Dictating when and how they can be seen helps young people feel a greater sense of safety and empowerment.

Key guidance

Have systems in place to avoid misuse.

YoungMinds recommends having a strong gatekeeping process to avoid misuse of the app. This is especially important when anonymity is involved. Upon signup of the app, the user has to read and agree to the community guidelines. An administrator monitors the comments daily. They also ask users to flag comments that they think are inappropriate. It is effectively a community management system and so far, no users have broken the rules.

Understand user needs.

Always work with the people who will use your service to understand what they want from it. Consult them when introducing any new features that aren’t commonplace (such as standard settings). It could be something that many people don’t want.

Test with users or an internal team before launch.

Always test internally or with a selected user-group before public release. This allows for changes to be made, which can save time and money further down the line. What you test doesn't need to be a fully fledged, finished feature - a basic, simple prototype will do. 

There are multiple ways to evaluate.

There are multiple ways to evaluate. Testing and evaluation can be done through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. YoungMinds used both small user-group sessions and ‘back-end’ statistical analytics to gather feedback and evaluate the feature.


  • You need to understand digital safeguarding, especially around the use of social media and having the same username across platforms.

  • To create a safe environment, you need to mitigate the risks of abuse that anonymity may provide. Make community guidelines clear and readable in the app. Use real people to monitor content. 

Where can I find this?

Link to YoungMinds app on Google Play store


Jade Williams