In recent years, the importance of mental health and wellness has gained significant attention, and people are beginning to recognize the value of seeking help when needed. In response to this growing demand, Dr. Jermaine Thomas, a licensed clinical psychologist, has developed an innovative self-help journaling app called MindScribber™️.
MindScribber employs the research-backed Expressive Writing method to assist individuals in processing trauma and stress, while also offering an array of wellness tools to empower users on their mental wellness journey. In this article, we will explore the features and benefits of MindScribber™️ and the science behind its success in promoting mental well-being.
In a Q&A interview with The African Dream, Dr. Jermaine takes us through his journey of developing MindScribber™️ and what inspired him.
The African Dream: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the app, MindScribber and how it works?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: I’m Dr. Jermaine Thomas, PsyD and I’m a licensed clinical psychologist currently practising in Chicago, Illinois. I’m also the Founder and CEO of MindScribber™️ LLC. Our mission at MindScribber™️ LLC is to alleviate suffering worldwide by providing affordable, tech-enabled mental health solutions.
Our flagship product, the MindScribber™️ app, is slated to roll out this summer. MindScribber™️ is an innovative self-help journaling app that employs the research-backed Expressive Writing method to assist individuals in processing trauma and stress while offering an array of wellness tools to empower users on their mental wellness journey.
At the core of the MindScribber™️ app lies the Expressive Writing intervention, pioneered by esteemed social psychologist, James Pennebaker. By dedicating at least 15 minutes a day to writing about traumatic or highly stressful events over several days, users can reap numerous health benefits.
These include reduced depressive symptoms, diminished post-traumatic intrusions and avoidance behaviours, enhanced overall psychological well-being, heightened immune functioning, better blood pressure management, improved lung function in asthmatics, and optimize sleep quality and duration.
With the highly anticipated release of the MindScribber™️ app later this summer, excitement is mounting among those seeking to bolster their overall health and wellness.
The African Dream: What inspired you to create MindScribber, and how long have you been working on it?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: Developed in 2023, the MindScribber™️ app emerged in response to the myriad of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial trauma. Set to launch this summer, MindScribber™️ offers a groundbreaking tool designed to help individuals navigate life’s complexities. Stemming from a vision conceived in 2020, I think our app is primed to make a profound and lasting impact on mental well-being in the coming years.
The African Dream: How does MindScribber use the Expressive Writing method to help users process their trauma and stress?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: Unprocessed trauma and pent-up stress are analogous to holding a beach ball underwater. When you push a beach ball down into the water, it takes a lot of effort to keep it submerged.
The ball wants to pop back up to the surface, and the more you try to keep it down, the more force it exerts in the opposite direction. Similarly, when we experience stress, we often try to suppress or ignore it, but just like the beach ball, the stress doesn’t disappear.
Instead, it builds up inside us, and the more we try to suppress it, the more force it exerts in the form of tension, anxiety, and other physical and emotional symptoms. It can even negatively affect our immune systems, thus making us more susceptible to illness and disease.
Just like the beach ball, the longer we hold onto our stress, the harder it becomes to manage. Eventually, it can become overwhelming and even impossible to keep it contained. It’s important to find healthy ways to release our stress before it builds up too much, just as you would allow the beach ball to rise to the surface of the water instead of trying to hold it down indefinitely.
That’s where MindScribber comes in. MindScribber harnesses the Expressive Writing method, empowering individuals to consciously and healthily alleviate stress through writing. Research has shown that writing about a traumatic or stressful event for at least three days, dedicating approximately 15 minutes each time can lead to health improvements.
This is particularly true when individuals label their emotions, explain their understanding of the event’s cause, and identify the roles played by others and various systems. James Pennebaker states that depression can sometimes be understood as a “disease of self-focus.”
In other words, depression sometimes emerges because some people erroneously believe that the challenges they’re having in life are solely related to their actions, ability, or personality. However, the Expressive Writing method helps people open their minds up to other causal possibilities that extend beyond the self.
This can be incredibly relieving for people suffering from taking on the responsibility for the trauma that they were the objects of. The MindScribber app provides Expressive Writing prompts, as well as other resources, to guide users through this transformative process.
The African Dream: How does the MindScribber app differ from other self-help and journaling apps on the market?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: The MindScribber app sets itself apart from other self-help and journaling apps by being developed by an experienced clinical psychologist.
Drawing from years of practice and an extensive review of scientific research, the app incorporates the Expressive Writing method to maximize user benefits. Most journaling apps do not include an Expressive Writing component. Also, unlike other apps, MindScribber not only highlights the method’s advantages but also provides empirical studies supporting its effectiveness.
Among its standout features is the Thomas Adverse Stress Inventory (TASI), a stress assessment tool that helps users identify and evaluate their stress levels. The app also offers guidance on emotion labelling and communication, empowering users to improve their emotional intelligence.
Additional features include a daily journal with self-discovery prompts, a mood tracker for better emotional understanding, daily inspirational quotes, and an Emotion Game to expand users’ emotional vocabulary.
MindScribber is designed with both mental health professionals and lay users in mind, serving as an empirically supported, tech-enabled adjunct or supplement to therapy while catering to individuals experiencing varying degrees of stress.
Lastly, MindScribber is committed to providing an inclusive space for all users, especially those who have been marginalized. As such, we recognize the importance of addressing issues related to racism and systemic oppression, particularly for people of colour, including Black people.
Our app includes questions that explore these matters to ensure that everyone’s experiences are honoured and acknowledged. We believe that creating a safe and inclusive environment for all users is essential, and we will continue to prioritize the needs of underrepresented communities within our app.
The African Dream: What kind of wellness tools does MindScribber offer, and how do they complement the journaling experience?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: Not everyone may have the time or interest in utilizing the Expressive Writing tool, especially if their stress or trauma is low or resolved. With that being said, the app caters to those users as well by offering less time-intensive features. It offers guidance on how to label and communicate emotions, a daily journal with self-discovery prompts, a mood tracker for better emotional understanding, daily inspirational quotes, and an Emotion Game that helps users expand their emotional vocabulary.
The African Dream: How does MindScribber ensure user privacy and security when it comes to sensitive personal information?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: At MindScribber LLC, we take the privacy and security of our app users very seriously. We have implemented several measures to ensure that users’ information is protected at all times. Our app utilizes password protection, as well as Face ID technology, to prevent unauthorized access. In addition, we have implemented end-to-end encryption to ensure that only the user can access the information entered into the app.
We understand the risks of malicious hacking and have taken steps to prevent it. Hackers will not be able to access any of the information that users have entered into the app. We also want to assure our users that ad companies will not be able to access any information that is entered into the app, even in the free version with ads enabled.
We want our users to feel comfortable using our app without worrying about their personal information being collected. We do not collect any sensitive personal information, and we only track which features of the app are used the most and the least. Our team does not have access to any of the content entered into the app, such as journaling or mood-related content.
The African Dream: Can you share any success stories or user feedback you’ve received since launching MindScribber?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: Although MindScribber has not been released to the public yet, we have already received positive feedback from prospective users. One mental health professional who had the opportunity to view a sample of the app said, “This is so cool. I’m definitely spreading the word to patients and clients.”
One non-mental health professional expressed enthusiasm for the app, stating, “This app will be a game changer.” We are thrilled to hear such positive feedback about our app and are confident that it will provide a valuable resource for individuals seeking to improve their mental health and well-being. We look forward to launching the app later this summer and providing this innovative tool to the public.
Prospective users have the opportunity to be the first to learn about the release date of the highly anticipated MindScribber™️ app by signing up for the MindScribber™️ Newsletter at www.mindscribber.com. Just click on the “Get Notified” button, add your e-mail address, and you’re all set.
The African Dream: What are your future plans for MindScribber, and how do you see it evolving and expanding over time?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: It is my sincere hope that MindScribber will have a global impact and help individuals all over the world who are struggling with trauma and chronic stress. This is especially important in the Black community and the African diaspora, where these issues are prevalent and often go unaddressed. I firmly believe that our app has the potential to provide relief to millions of people who are unable to access the mental health care that they need. By offering a safe and accessible platform for individuals to engage in self-reflection and self-care, we hope to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who use our app. Our ultimate goal is to break down barriers to mental health care and provide support to those who need it most, regardless of where they live or what challenges they may be facing.
The African Dream: How do you see technology and mental health intersecting in the future, and what role do you see MindScribber playing in that landscape?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: The reality is that the demand for mental health care far exceeds the number of mental health professionals available. Even if thousands more professionals were trained, hired, and deployed to underserved communities, the cost of care would still be prohibitively high for many individuals. In light of these challenges, I believe that a mental health app like MindScribber can help fill the gap and reduce barriers to support.
By providing an accessible and affordable platform for individuals to manage their mental health and well-being, our app can help bridge the divide between those in need and the care they require. While it is important to continue investing in mental health professionals and expanding access to care, we must also explore innovative solutions like mobile apps to provide support to those who need it most. By leveraging technology to offer a comprehensive and user-friendly mental health resource, we can work towards a future where mental health care is accessible to everyone who needs it.
The African Dream: Finally, what advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try journaling or self-help apps like MindScribber?
Dr. Jermaine Thomas: We understand that trying out a new app can be a daunting decision, which is why we offer a range of free features for our users to explore. In addition, we offer a 7-day free trial to access all the features of the app, giving users the opportunity to fully experience what MindScribber has to offer before committing to a subscription. We believe that this approach allows users to make an informed decision about whether our app is right for them, without feeling pressured or obligated to continue using it.
Furthermore, we want our users to feel confident in their ability to manage their subscriptions. If at any point a user decides that MindScribber is not for them, they can easily cancel their subscription without any hassle or fees. Our goal is to provide a transparent and user-friendly experience for all of our users, so they feel empowered to prioritize their mental health in a way that works best for them.
We need your support to continue producing high-quality, engaging content that promotes a more nuanced and positive narrative about Africa.