Support for mental health rehab

Niilo App

Niilo App

Niilo is a highly context-relevant mobile application that contains recovery tools, daily reminders, activation, and social interaction between users. Created as a digital helper for restarting lives, Niilo is designed to support the recovery of mental health patients that are beginning to live independently, encouraging them to become active members of society and their communities. Creating the application is based on the ‘Recovery Orientation’ philosophy, wherein the user's goals and active creation of a meaningful life are at the core. The application was designed together with experience experts and the Niemikotisäätiö staff. The pilot version was released in February 2019.


People recovering from mental health issues have traditionally lived in institutions, then in supported housing with support personnel. Currently, the trend is decentralization, where the rehabilitees live among the ordinary housing, where they maybe meet a support person once a year. Decentralization may help with some issues, but for many, it means becoming isolated in their homes.

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We brought together the users, experience experts, and support personnel to co-design towards measurable impact. Restructured housing services: Niilo gives direct support for everyday situations. Co-creation: Users participate actively in the development. Experience experts: Participants produce content and host chat sessions. Recovery orientation: Users define the form of support themselves. Digital participation: New instruments and reality for actions.


Niilo brings support and delight to everyday life Niilo is a digital helper that supports mental health rehabilitees to build routines for independent living, being more active & responsible, and connecting with others. It is highly relevant to the context and co-designed with the users to maximize the impact. Designed for motivational support The users can set up reminders to support the building of routines for independent living: taking medicine and taking care of themselves and their homes. Reminders depend on the user’s own goals. Niilo provides tasks for meaningful activation and building social connections and confidence. Sharing experiences Being seen, heard & understood and creating a narrative of one’s experiences is a powerful tool towards recovery. Niilo can be used as a platform for stories that help the rehabilitates to understand one is not alone. Digital meeting points The in-app chat provides a way to connect with peers & support persons. Chat is considered the most exciting feature by most users, and it has spawned social innovations. E.g. The Experience experts run weekly hosted “chat sessions” with different topics, where the community gathers for a chat twice
a month. Personalized recovery path Designed with the users, an easy, inspiring goal-setting process. Niilo guides the user through choosing a goal, breaking the goal into achievable pieces and gathering social support for achieving the goal, and nudging the user to keep up the good work.

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The impact was measured by a series of user surveys, and qualitative interviews of all participants. It showed that Niilo supports independent living. 67% of users feel that Niilo supports creating independent living habits. “It was nice having Niilo ask how I’m doing and suggesting on activities, even if I said ‘not now’ Niilo would simply reply ‘Okay!’ and wouldn’t be condescending or pushy about it” “I feel less alone knowing there are others going through similar struggles with living independently. Niilo makes me more appreaciative of myself, enabling me to do things independently” “I have a new friend because of this app”

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