SPOKE is a community-based mindfulness app, focused on providing people with proven mental health tools and resources. Also of note, is that it’s 100% backed by science. Led by some of the UK’s best artists, SPOKE uses music and sound in the form of spoken word audios, ambient sounds, and lo-fi beats. These are to meditate to, sleep to, or relax to; tailored to improve your mental and emotional wellbeing. In an age where the preservation of one’s mental health is so crucial, this app is more important than ever.
With something for everyone, it is inclusive and specific to your needs. Fundamentally, it is offering a sense of relief to anyone seeking it. Combining music with the likes of guided meditations, they have witnessed astounding improvements in people’s sleep, focus, and general life outlook. All in all, SPOKE has curated a platform that is improving lives all over. It continues to develop to further enhance the effects of their process.
In honour of World Mental Health Day, I spoke to one of their founders, Ariana Alexander-Sefre. She provided a detailed explanation of the workings of the app and its approach to supporting people’s mental health.
SPOKE offers something totally different from tools that are already widely known and used today.
“SPOKE is this way of delivering mental health tools that is totally different from clinical solutions; yogi solutions. It’s based in youth culture through music. Currently, we work with loads of different genres, but mainly hip-hop, R’n’B, afrobeats, with a lo-fi feel to it. The personalisation is another key aspect. We focus on themes that are key to the kind of transitions that young people most likely go through. (These include) career changes, relationships, and money, and bring mental health tools out through lyricism.”
A lack of emotional literacy is a factor that hinders the prevention of suicide.
”It’s about being able to fully understand and articulate how you’re feeling. It’s maddening to think that just being able to articulate the way you feel sometimes can be 50% of the problem solved. We are just not taught emotional literacy growing up, and especially young men are taught a lot less. So we used a lot of this research when we designed the app. You’ll check in with how you feel, it’ll say what are you here for (reduce stress, sleep, etc.) and you’ll be given a session for exactly what you need.”
Healing isn’t about knowing what you should do to feel better, but when you feel a physical effect.
“What we are starting to understand about the healing journey is that it’s not about intellectualising healing. It’s not about just knowing the theory, and knowing I should do this, I should do that, and I’ll be better. The healing comes when it hits you emotionally and you can metabolise that emotion. It’s not theoretical anymore, it’s in your body and you have that physical release of emotion. Music is the perfect tool to do that.”
Through listening to just one SPOKE episode, music has the power to improve your emotional resilience by 20.1%
“You can utilise sound and production techniques and the right instruments, and using BPM and the right frequencies to meet someone and create a physiological and neurological response. So it’s really interesting what you can do through the right kind of sounds for people. We did a clinical study last year. (It) proved after listening to one SPOKE episode, it improves your emotional resilience by 20.1%.”
It’s important to make sure the mental health support you’re getting is verified.
“Because there is a lack of connection with mental health tools. Young people especially are turning to their favourite artists, favourite cultural leaders, or celebrities. Most of what’s out there is great, but it’s also unverified. If you think I want help with my anxiety, I’m going to pick up a podcast. Maybe (I’ll) listen to one of my favourite artists talking about something to do with anxiety. A lot of that will be great, but won’t necessarily be verified by science and then stuff goes on TikTok. There’s (a) risk of a lot of misinformation, or information out of context. So I think we’ve got into a bit of a problem now, where people want to create stuff that helps with mental health but there isn’t a way to channel that through a measure of verified science.”