Mend is marketed as an app offering “essential self-care for heartbreak”, and is intended for people who are experiencing a break-up, who welcome guidance and online community input to facilitate their self-directed approach to “mending”. Mend offers a wealth of helpful, well-vetted, subject focused content, guides, and self-help tools for self-directed recovery after a relationship breakup. Users will appreciate the way in which this site normalizes the breakup experience by reassuring users they are not alone, and connects the user to a broader community of similarly focused users whose support, tips, and stories may compliment the user’s own breakup experience. Although improvements in app navigation will ensure users enjoy the full benefit of the app, users will likely value this app as a helpful resource in their journey of emotional recovery.
Recommendations for Use
Mend seems best suited to consumers who are searching for a topic specific site that provides a variety of ways to address the emotional distress of a breakup and who are seeking guidance on their return to wellbeing. Mend seems less well suited to use by researchers as there is very little objective data to be gleaned from the user’s basic daily tracking and journaling, and minimal references to evidence based strategies. While Mend seems best suited for users who prefer a self-directed path to recovery and states clearly that it is not intended to replace treatment by a behavioral health professional, clinicians may find that patient use of Mend on a daily or frequent basis may be a helpful adjunct to professional care as an ancillary source of support and guidance.
Users who are recovering from a breakup will find a number of helpful features on Mend. Users can enjoy brief daily audio trainings, document changes in mood, log daily progress toward helpful pursuits in the user’s journal, and review a wealth of helpful articles on a variety of breakup related topics. Users who are interested in more guidance can listen to podcasts, join the Mend online community, etc.
Although Mend seems best suited for users who prefer a self-directed path to recovery, it may also be useful to those who are receiving professional care. As such, behavioral health clinicians could recommend Mend to users that is complementary to their clinical care.
The app features daily audio didactic information and basic exercises to guide the user through issues related introspection post breakup. Mend offers some opportunities for users to document and track their daily activities, thoughts about their breakup, and associated efforts to mend, although tracking functions are limited. Users are invited to make daily journal entries on various topics. The app encourages users to advance their thinking about their breakup and healing – with a focus on self-discovery, healthy thinking, and positive outlook. Journal entries can be brief (just a few minutes), although the length of entry is left up to the user. Users are not required to engage daily, but this is encouraged. Users can receive daily reminders to use the app, and supportive daily messages of encouragement. Mend is typically gender neutral toward the user and their “ex”, and seems to avoid assumptions about the nature of the prior relationship.
Mend welcomes the new user with a personal audio greeting from Elle, the founder. New users are asked to engage in an automated Q&A that qualifies various aspects of the user’s breakup and functioning. The initial user assessment is a nice touch – although more information could be collected for a more robust understanding of the user’s needs, which might also allow Mend to tailor its approach to users more precisely. Mend’s content is quite good, from articles to helpful/interesting podcasts, users will find a substantial amount of relevant, reassuring content that is full of good tips, stories, and helpful guidance from a variety of sources.
Mend’s first 7 daily sessions are free, with good access to many of the apps features. After 7 days the user must purchase a subscription or is locked out (it is unclear what happens to the user’s personal data if they are locked out). Subscription options include monthly ($9.99/month) and annual purchases. The paid version of mend offers greater training, extra recordings from Elle, and personalized advice about dealing with your breakup. Users can access the app for as long as needed to recover from their breakup. The quantity of content in the app is vast and comprehensive, and likely to engage a user for a prolonged amount of time. Mend also features an online community of users who share their personal experiences and strategies for recovering from their breakups.
Overall, Mend has a good user experience.; articles are visually appealing, the audio files are interesting to hear, and the opportunity to connect with others is a strength for the app. In addition, the sheer volume of interesting app content such as articles, podcasts, etc. will serve as an ongoing resource of long-term value to users. After each daily training, users are invited to log content in their daily journal, though this feature could be further structured to collect objective data that capitalizes on the user’s interest in recording their personal data/progress. Mend also allows user to select from a range of healthy daily activities in which they have engaged. However, the activities are not always well defined (e.g., “Outside”, “Dry Brush”, etc.), and once selected there is no opportunity to document content about the users experience with that activity. Lastly, during use of the app, some content is occasionally presented to the user unexpectedly – without reference or clear intent, leaving the user to wonder about the reason for its presentation or purpose. Despite these opportunities for refinement, the rich array of breakup and recovery related content is likely to keep most users interested and engaged during their period of recovery.
Mend’s content is better described as didactic, inspirational and conversational, than objective; Mend makes minimal use of objective data. Mend uses a 5-point Likert scale for some questions (e.g., measure of your mood), with defined scale anchors, but an undefined mid-point. There were no apparent references this reviewer could identify regarding specific evidence based content, although there are references to such things as mindfulness approaches, behavioral strategies, etc. There are hundreds of stories, guides, podcasts, etc. – some of which may reference or contain evidence based strategies or content.
Ease of Use and User Experience
Mend’s primary limitation is navigation. Even after some use and exploration, navigation remains a bit of a challenge. Sometimes direction screen icons are unclear, screens appear then disappear abruptly, etc. The good news is that the user is often rewarded for their patience once they reach their destination by the quality of the content provided. With time and a commitment to somewhat unguided discovery, the user can learn how to use the site – what works, what doesn’t, but it takes time and effort. Mend’s tools are simple and intuitive to use – almost too basic at times (e.g., could have made greater use of objective scales/measures, etc.). Users are likely to appreciate the inspirational nature of the app, including Elle’s involvement as a motivational public figure. Mend is available in English only, and compatible with IOS 10.0 or later and with iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch, but is not currently available for android devices.
Visual Design and User Interface
Many aspects of Mend are visually rich and interesting, boosting user interest and engagement. Other screens seem more administrative in nature where a bit more color or graphics could generate greater user interest. As stated previously, Mend offers good information, but navigation is an issue – organization is therefore impacted.
On balance, Mend provides comprehensive, topic specific, didactic and popular content for users who are in emotional recovery following a relationship breakup.The content (e.g., articles, trainings, etc.) are often quite good, meaningful and relevant. Likewise, other features of the app (e.g., podcasts) add new ways the user can explore their response to the loss of their “ex” and movement toward emotional wellbeing. Mend is best suited to users who wish to pursue a self-directed approach to recovery, with modest app guidance and reassurance from the online Mend community. Although improved navigation would enhance the user’s experience and access to various app functions and information, users will be rewarded for their patience by good content and community and are likely to enjoy relevant, meaningful, long-term value from the use of this app.