LGBTQIA+ Mental Wellbeing App

Pill glass

How might we deliver relevant, affordable gender and sexuality mental health support?


10 Countries

We scaled Kalda across the globe, in 10 different countries.

iOS and Android

Kalda is completely live in the iOS store and the Android store.

1600+ People benefitted

More than a thousand people benefitted rom Kalda support. This included; Mindfulness Sessions, App, 6-week therapy course and more.

65% Reduction in depression

We used the Patient Health Questioniare 9 and saw these outcomes within 2 weeks. There was a 43% reduction in anxiety in 2 weeks, measured using the Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7.

The Challenge

Kalda is the world’s first LGBTQIA+ mental wellbeing app. I was the co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Kalda. As part of that role I lead the: service design of Kalda, brand, UX, UI and product management. I worked with a team of queer therapists, mental health experts, developers and community managers. Kalda was funded by Antler VC. I led the discovery work to understand what people in our community needed from a mental wellbeing app. I developed prototypes to test a variety of elements of the service. I designed and built the app with a team, and got it live in the app stores. I marketed it to 10 different countries. As a queer person myself, I wanted to create a service that would support people in understanding their gender and sexuality. Kalda says to it's users: we are with you, and you are not alone.


We conducted discovery interviews and workshops with 419 people. During this research we discovered 3 key themes.

Lack of relevant, lived experience

People want to find therapists with relevant, lived experience. LGBTQIA+ people can face unique challenges. The stress that comes with exploring your sexuality or gender in a heteronormative world. Most mental health support didn’t take into account our specific needs.

Cost of private therapy

There aren't enough LGBTQIA+ therapists, and one-to-one therapy with a specialist is expensive.


1 in 4 people in a recent Stonewall survey received negative remarks from healthcare staff. Lots of participants felt there was a stigma associated with being LGBTQIA+. This negatively impacted their mental health.

Value proposition testing

This discovery process led us to understand that people need affordable gender and sexuality affirming therapy. We conducted a series of value-proposition tests. The two hypotheses we were testing: do people need an LGBTQIA+ specific digital mental health service? Are people willing to pay for an LGBTQIA+ specific mental health service?

Mindfulness sessions

We teamed up with an LGBTQIA+ mindfulness coach to run mindfulness sessions. We asked people to pay what they could afford for the sessions. This way, we understood that people were willing to engage in LGBTQIA+ specific mental health support. We also found that there was willingness to pay for the service.


We formed an online community, and encouraged people to engage with a daily reflection question. These questions stimulated conversations. We learned that people did want to connect with peers for mental wellbeing. We also used the community as an insight gathering space. We got feedback on our terminology, logo, and first versions of our app.

6-week Course

We teamed up with a mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapist to conduct a 6-week course on LGBTQIA+ specific issues. We used this to understand willingness to pay, and to see what impact we could have health outcomes in 6 weeks. During the course we saw a clinically significant decrease in anxiety and depression.


The world’s first LGBTQIA+ mental wellbeing app.

We developed the Kalda app so that people could access relevant gender and sexuality affirming video courses. We worked with the best queer therapists to create video content. The topics we cover include: exploring gender, exploring sexuality, managing gender dysphoria and most. We took the learnings from the 6-week course to develop the app in a way that would reduce anxiety and depression.

The app includes daily activities that boost dopamine and keep the user coming back each day. These activities include: queer affirmations, meditation and gratitude journaling. All of these activities are proven to improve mental wellbeing. In particular, queer affirmations are about affirming people’s identities, in a world that affirms heteronormativity. This decreases stress, as people are able to see themselves in a positive light each day.

Personalised onboarding experience

The onboarding flow creates a personal experience for each user.

Information architecture of the app

This site map shows how the app fits together.

Simple settings menu

The settings menu includes an urgent support button, as well as a place to give us feedback which we can quickly implement.


Every piece of content we publish on social media uses alt-text and a description of the content in the caption. The Kalda app includes video-content. Each piece of video content can be listened to, and also has captions. We use colours which have the correct colour-contrast according to the latest WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) guidelines.

Brand identity

Kalda’s brand identity is informed by our users. We wanted to create the community we wish had existed when we were younger: so we did just that. We developed a colour palette that was engaging, and still followed the latest WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) accessibility guidelines.

We used Google’s Poppin’s font across our whole app and social media channels. A font that is flexible and readable. The mixture of italics and non-italic creates rhythm and flow in the Kalda identity.

The brand identity translates to everything we do including: our landing page, slide decks, and Instagram.


We conducted a 14-day health evaluation trial on our app. The trial showed that in just 2 weeks participants moved from moderate and mild anxiety and depression to no anxiety and depression. We saw clinically significant improvements in participants GAD-7 (generalised anxiety disorder, 7 questions) and PHQ9 (patient health questionnaire, 9 questions) scores.

Our 6-week course had modules in identity, self esteem and more. People who participated in the course had a clinically significant reduction in anxiety and depression within 6 weeks.

Over 1000 have benefitted so far from Kalda’s work. We’ve run more than 80 mindfulness sessions, more than 1000 people are using our app across iOS and Android in 10 different countries.

Kalda was featured in these publications:

Project reception


The gender course on the app was so soothing. I'm very happy I've found a safe space I can keep completely to myself, especially because I don't feel safe expressing my gender identity around my largely cis straight family.

Related work

Check out some of the other projects I've been working on.