Mental health problems are being spoken out about more than ever recently, with a quarter of people across the UK predicted to suffer from poor mental health in their lifetime.
With Mental Health Day occurring on Sunday, 10th October, TechRound wanted to recognise companies, startups and apps aiming to improve mental health worldwide. The companies featured are in no particular order and have all made great progress to combat poor mental health thorough developing apps, offering platforms for people to share their stories and creating innovative health and wellness products.
1. We are Hummingbird
Founder(s): John Logue, Karl Draper-Firth & Ian Hurst
We are Hummingbird is a mental health awareness non-profit co-founded by three friends John Logue, Karl Draper-Firth and Ian Hurst.
The organisation was founded in 2015 following the loss of a close friend to suicide. Co-founders John, Karl and Ian decided that they wanted to help others avoid such heartbreak and help remove the stigma around mental health.
The organisation is a community of music lovers who have united to spread awareness of mental health by using music as a platform to encourage people to open up and engage in conversation.
Co-founder Ian Hurst who previously worked for 17 years in a senior insurance role at Zurich said “We knew that we wanted to try and help stop the experience of losing a loved one to suicide from happening to anyone else. So, We are Hummingbird was set up as a community platform where people can talk, share and find support around mental health. We are united by a love of music and a commitment to look after each other and we are on a mission to make mental health as important as physical health, through the power of music.”
Ian is a trained mental health and suicide prevention instructor and offers mental health first aid training and suicide prevention and intervention training to individuals, groups, and companies.
The Royal Navy, Deliveroo, Siemens, Dpd, GWR, the NHS and O Beach in Ibiza are just some of the diverse businesses and organisations Ian has trained.
The We are Hummingbird website is brimming with useful help and resources including recommendations of helpful podcasts and books which discuss mental health as well as playlists created with mental health in mind. There are a wealth of advice guides including wellbeing workbooks and contact numbers and websites for those that need help such as the NHS health website and the Samaritans.
Ian also travels around the UK speaking on mental health awareness at events and We are Hummingbird had a big presence at this year’s festivals including Boardmasters in Cornwall and the Victorious Festival in Portsmouth. Ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10th October Ian is speaking on mental wellbeing and his own lived experiences at the Sound Minds Festival on 9th October.
Check out We are Hummingbird on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Founder(s): Danny Gray
JAAQ (Just Ask A Question) is the brainchild of disruptive entrepreneur Danny Gray. He founded the first men’s make up brand, War Paint For Men, after suffering from body dysmorphia for twenty years. He’s now launched a new not for profit to revolutionise mental health support in the UK which launches on October 6 2021.
JAAQ.co.uk is a free-to-use, interactive, online platform, that will offer immediate responses to any questions about different mental health conditions including psychosis, body dysmorphia and depression.
It’s the level of interactivity and medical expertise that sets JAAQ apart from other online mental health resources. Users have the opportunity to press on a button and ask one of the experts a question. For example, it is possible to ask actor David Harewood ‘what is psychosis?’, ‘what was it like to be sectioned?, and ‘how should I support someone with psychosis?’ David then replies direct to camera with an insightful and accurate answer, giving users a sense of intimacy and personalisation unlike anywhere else.
The wider list of experts answering questions includes Alastair Campbell, political strategist; David Veale, Professor in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies at Kings College London and Doctor Erin Brown, Consultant Psychiatrist Early Intervention in Psychosis Services.
The idea for the platform came about when Gray noticed the ever-widening gap in support for those suffering with mental health issues; data shows around 20% of young people with mental ill health wait more than six months to receive care from a specialist and often they are already at crisis point.
Gray explains: “Our vision for JAAQ is to change the world of mental health, one question at a time. There’s lots of work being done with mental health at the moment around awareness, breaking down stigma and supporting people in crisis, but this is the first solution to support individuals and the people close to them from the very beginning of their journey, in order to prevent them reaching that crisis stage.”
3. The Self Compassion App
Founder(s): Dr Chris Irons & Dr Elaine Beaumont
Self compassion isn’t just a nice to have. Numerous studies have shown it makes us more motivated, happy, and successful, as well as reducing the physical stress that negativity puts the body under.
Based off the groundbreaking research of Dr Chris Irons and Dr Elaine Beaumont, this brand new app uses the exciting field of Compassion Focussed Therapy to empower users to take a kinder stance towards themselves. With more than 50 interactive practices and daily tools, this app has been scientifically proven to help users increase well-being, while reducing anxiety and self criticism.
Dr Chris Irons is a clinical psychologist, researcher, author and trainer. He is co-director of Balanced Minds (www.balancedminds.com), a London-based organisation providing compassion focused psychological interventions for individuals and organisations. He is the author of a number of books, including The Compassionate Mind Workbook.
Dr Elaine Beaumont is a psychotherapist who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), compassion focused therapy (CFT) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR). Elaine is a part-time lecturer in counselling and psychotherapy at the University of Salford, where her research explores the impact that compassionate mind training has on people working in the helping professions and on people who have experienced trauma.
Elaine provides workshops regarding mental health, compassion and wellbeing for a variety of organisations and her research has been presented worldwide. Elaine co-authored The Compassionate Mind Workbook: A step-by-step guide to developing your compassionate self, The Compassionate Mind App and The Kindness Workbook:Compassionate and Creative ways to Boost your Wellbeing.
Founder(s): Julia Samuel
Grief Works is an innovative new way to receive grief therapy through your phone. When grief is left unresolved, it can have a serious impact on mental health; up to 15% of mental illnesses are estimated to be caused by grief. Based on the best-selling book by Julia Samuel, MBE, UK’s leading grief expert and a Vice President of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, this tried and tested grief management tool has helped hundreds of people move to a place of acceptance and live happy fulfilled lives, even after experiencing the devastation of losing a loved one.
As a leading grief psychotherapist and a vice president of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, Julia has spent the last thirty years supporting bereaved families. She is the Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK, with Prince William being Royal Patron, and was awarded an MBE for her services to bereaved children. She is the author of two bestselling books: Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass. Samuel may also be recognised for her links to the royal family as the best friend of Princess Diana and godmother to Britain’s future King, Prince George.
Julia’s first counselling job was as a volunteer for Westminster Bereavement Service 30 years ago, where she knew she’d found her calling. Shortly after, she applied as a counsellor for bereaved families at St Mary’s Hospital, where she worked for most of her career, while also supporting charities such as Child Bereavement UK. She now continues her work helping others navigate their grief in private practice and also spends time teaching.
“I’ve loved the sharing of ideas, but most importantly, seeing the relief in people’s eyes when it dawns on them, they can do this death and dying thing, and the grief thing, this talking and feeling thing, it only requires the courage to dare” says Julia.
5. Anxiety Solution
Founder(s): Chloe Brotheridge
Anxiety Solution app combines cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, breathing tools, sleep stories and more to allow people to understand their anxiety and learn how to manage it. Between 2008 and 2018 anxiety grew significantly, more than doubling from 9.08% to 21.69% among those aged 25 to 34, and increasing from 8.42% to 30.33% among women aged 18 to 24. With more than 70 easy-to-use tools and step-by-step advice from anxiety coach Chloe Brotheridge, Anxiety Solution will help them manage what can be a debilitating yet misunderstood condition.
It was authored by Chloe Brotheridge, hypnotherapist, coach and author, who knows everything there is to know about anxiety. She struggled with social anxiety and panic disorder for many years before seeking professional help and eventually training to support others in the grips of anxiety. On publication her book The Anxiety Solution received critical acclaim, with The Daily Mail calling it “remarkable and pioneering”. A panel of independent testers described The Anxiety Solution as “concise”, “convenient” and “a more interactive solution”. It now enjoys a 5 star rating on Amazon.
Founder(s): William Testeil, Luke Greenwood & Benjamin Draper
Famli seeks to build a world in which the vast majority of families wake up feeling healthy and happy. Mental, physical, and nutritional wellbeing are the cornerstones of life quality. Yet, keeping healthy habits isn’t always so straightforward in a family. Why? Parents often have lots of responsibilities and limited time. For children, healthy living can tend not be as fun and engaging as it should be. Lastly, there is currently no digital solution to help families with these problems – Famli is here to change that.
Famli is the first app to offer a fun and simple experience enabling families with children between 4-12 years old to improve their wellbeing, through combining intergenerational activities and gamification features – maximising engagement. They bring families together to focus on constructive activities that help them to exercise more, eat better and improve their mental health, all from one place to create a healthier and happier home environment.
It has 120+ fun family challenges, varying in time and difficulty, giving all the ideas and activities families need to help them effectively improve their mental and physical health. All whilst offering a captivating, gamified experience.
Today, they are disrupting a health and fitness market focused on individuals. Tomorrow, we seek to globally support families from all backgrounds.
With just their prototype, being chosen as the best solution to help prevent childhood obesity in Sweden through the Swelife Hackathon, becoming UK Young Innovators and winning the Santander Entrepreneurship Award, is just the start of them demonstrating the confidence multiple large organisations have in the product and the international traction they are building – for more information about Famli please visit the website.
Founder(s): Stefan Chmelik & Anna Gudmundson
Five years in development and decades of practice with real clients have resulted in a cutting edge innovation, bringing the magic of sound therapy from a London clinic, directly to people’s homes around the world.
Leading integrated medicine physician Stefan Chmelik saw that his clients were growing more stressed and anxious, and less able to manage their emotional states. Certain that the ability to self regulate was key to both our mental and physical health, Stefan created a method that would allow us to consistently reach a state of calm, whenever we choose.
Have you ever wondered how stress resilient you really are – or, maybe even more important – how you can uplift your body’s natural abilities to stay healthy, focused and calm? Sensate brings together ancient methods, like chanting and humming, with the modern technology of digital sound therapy. Shaped like a smooth stone, the Sensate holds a sophisticated infrasonic resonance system that emits sound waves that radiate through the body when the Sensate is placed on the chest. Why the chest bone? The phenomenon of bone conduction sends the resonating sound waves through the body to soothe the nervous system, for an immersive experience accompanied by the synchronised soundscapes that play via the app.
Sensate was designed to tone the vagus nerve that runs from the brain through every major organ of the body, including heart and lungs, all the way down to the gut. This ‘gut-brain superhighway’ is also responsible for controlling the critical fight-flight-freeze response.
When people are able to learn to interrupt their fight or flight response and activate the parasympathetic or ‘rest and digest’ state, they are able to tap into a flow state of better focus, more creativity, clarity of thought and balance. Stress, meet science. Rebooting your relationship with your vagus nerve.
● Proven to improve heart rate variability, a well-known health marker
● Calms the fight, flight, or freeze response in as few as 10 minutes per session
● Conditions the body to self-regulate and manage future stresses
● Users report deeper and more rejuvenating sleep
8. SilverCloud Health
Founder(s): Ken Cahill
SilverCloud Health is a breakthrough digital mental health platform and the NHS’s no.1 choice of technology provider helping tackle the extraordinary demand facing mental health services from children and young people. Demand for services like SilverCloud has sky-rocketed over past 18-months.
SilverCloud works with schools, universities and companies to help them address unmet mental health and wellbeing needs among their students and employers, at a time of unprecedented demand for support. SilverCloud Health’s e-CBT programmes have been developed to address a variety of mental health conditions and are being used successfully at scale to help meet the mental health needs of the nation, providing immediate 24/7 support to those needing help for issues ranging from depression and anxiety through to the challenges of parenthood.
9. Awakn Life Sciences
Founder(s): Anthony Tennyson
Awakn Life Sciences is a biotechnology company with clinical operations, developing and delivering psychedelic therapeutics (medicines and therapies) to better treat addiction. Combining a team of world-renowned experts in psychedelic medicine with exceptional proprietorial clinical research, clinics and ecosystems, Awakn is changing the potential for the many patients failing and being failed with existing mental health interventions. Half of those who experience a mental illness will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa, and only 16% of those suffering with alcohol use disorder (AUD) seek treatment. In addition, there is a 70% relapse rate within the first 12 months for those that do seek treatment.
“We believe in hope for those whom the status quo is not working. We believe in science that underpins recovery. We believe in better mental health for more people.” says Anthony Tennyson, CEO at Awakn.
10. THE IVES
Founder(s): Trudy Armel
Trudy handmakes natural magnesium oil products using her own formula that she created when her son first went to school and was struggling with anxiety.
Magnesium is known as ‘natures valium’ and is used by every cell in our bodies each day. More than half of us do not get enough and low levels are linked with:
- Depression / anxiety
- Sleep / insomnia
- Muscle cramps / spasms
- Higher levels of stress
Her son’s anxiety at school was tough as he was only 4 years old and she needed a way to get him to talk about what was happening. That’s when she had the idea of a massage oil for bedtime as this creates bonding time, and an ‘opportunity’ each day to talk about the day and feelings.
This ‘opportunity’ to talk while massaging in the magnesium formula meant that after a few nights he opened up while feeling safe too. Now this time is an ‘anchor’ for us and a time we look forward to each night.
While you are massaging the feet or back, the magnesium soaks in to give a ‘hit’ to the body of calm right when its needed.
Often leading to staying asleep longer and getting more restful sleep.
Trudy won a ‘Commended’ award from the Independent ‘Mother and Baby Awards 2021’ in the self care section. She has also just won one of ‘The Suns’ table top entrepreneur prizes for her products.
She makes my own natural formula in glass bottles, her products are vegan, cruelty free and contain up to only 6 natural ingredients. She has built my own website, and she is looking to grow. She is passionate about helping others with anxiety and sleep, and want to support as many as possible.
Founder(s): Victoria Repa
BetterMe: Mental Health app offers customised self-help plans, meditation courses, quick breathing exercises, relaxing sounds, and mental health specialists for a comprehensive solution for better well-being.
It is estimated that at the beginning of 2021, 23.8% of people who had symptoms of anxiety or depression had unmet mental health needs. This is roughly 3% higher than in the summer of 2020.
A professional therapist can help with these, and other mental health, struggles. However, many are hesitant to try therapy, and even if they aren’t, it’s a challenge to find a suitable professional. To make this process as easy as possible and provide help right away, BetterMe even created a live chat with certified therapists.
Moreover, every day we come into contact with people who are in different mental states, and we do not always understand how to behave when it comes to sensitive issues. For World Mental Health Day, 10 October, BetterMe is launching a podcast on how to support people with mental health issues.
With this series of audio lectures, BetterMe’s goal is to provide tools for more empathy, support, and a deeper understanding of others.
They talk about how to: support someone with an eating disorder, depression, burnout; help someone who’s being abused;
not impose your help onto another person; provide first aid for a panic attack, and much more.
They created these lectures in collaboration with outstanding psychologists that share their knowledge and real-world experience. Users will get science-based information and practical tips for relationship management, deeper awareness, and social support.
BetterMe Mental Health app is available in 190 countries in 8 languages.
12. Flow Neuroscience
Founder(s): Daniel Månsson & Erik Rehn
Flow Neuroscience was founded in 2016 in Malmo, Sweden as the brainchild of clinical psychologist Daniel Månsson and neuroscientist Erik Rehn, to develop revolutionary solutions in the field of mental health. Utilising expertise from psychiatry, brain stimulation, neuroscience and machine learning, Månsson and Rehn had a vision to combine innovation with traditional science and healthcare to empower mental health on a global scale.
Flow is the first solution of the neurotech company and is the only, medically approved at home brain stimulation treatment for depression. Based on the proven technology of transcranial current stimulation (tDCS),
The headset delivers a constant, low direct current via electrodes to stimulate neurons to the left frontal lobe – the area of the brain controlling cognitive skills and emotional expression; people diagnosed with depression have been found to have lower neural activity in that area. 81% of users feel a reduction in their depressive symptoms after three weeks of stimulating with the headset and this is combined with a behavioural therapy app which empowers and motivates individuals to self-manage their treatment with less severe side effects than alternatives.
This year, Flow has made some big steps by acquiring the assets of Halo Neuroscience Inc, a US-based company leading the development of brain stimulation technology to optimise performance and well-being, and successfully closing a Series A funding round led by Khosla Ventures, CSS Group through Swiss Health Ventures and Zühlke Ventures.
The round was also joined by Kirin Holdings through Kiring health innovation fund led by Global Brain, a top venture capital based in Japan, SOSV’s HAX, as well as the leading San Francisco based patent firm Schox. The cross-continental participants will fuel Flow Neuroscience’s core mission to create innovative treatments for mental health disorders (e.g. anxiety) that have no side effects, are easily accessible and empower patients and clinicians.
13. Health Assured
Founder(s): Brandon Collins
Health Assured are the UK and Ireland’s largest EAP supplier. They provide 24/7 counselling support to organisations of all sizes, in all industries. Their BACP accredited counsellors, legal and financial advisors and trained nurses are on hand to help 365 days a year via the helpline. Employees can access this service whenever and wherever they need it.
They promote a proactive approach to wellbeing at Health Assured. So they designed the My Healthy Advantage app to support their existing services. The app aims to improve the user’s mental and physical health with industry-leading features. It allows users to set and track goals, challenge other users and personalise content to their individual preferences. Features of the app include:
· Mini health checks: alcohol, mental health, sleep, height and weight
· Trackers: steps, water, sleep and mood
· Peace of Mind: podcast series featuring guest speakers talking on a wide range of mental health subjects
· Bright TV: video-series featuring speakers such as Dame Kelly Holmes and Dr Alex George (Youth Mental Health Ambassador), bringing awareness to their personal stories and encouraging people to access early intervention support
· Four-week plans: coping with pressure, healthy eating, coping with change, sleep and hydration
· 24/7 live chat function providing instant counselling support
· Perks: discounts on Fitbits, online fitness, insurance and HelloFresh
· Weekly articles on a range of topics including mental health, COVID-19 support, work-life, physical wellbeing and more.
Over 118,000 users are already benefiting from the app’s health and wellbeing features. This number only continues to grow. They continue to undertake feedback to ensure we’re optimising what’s on offer.
“The app is easy to use, with everything accessible in one place”.
75% of respondents to a feedback survey stated that they are confident in promoting the app to their friends and colleagues.
Founder(s): James Saady
Bearable is a purpose-driven App that empowers people to discover what actually makes their health better and worse.
Designed as a simple, customisable health tracker to help people to understand the impact of different treatments and medication on common health issues such as anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue.
Bearable allows you to track any habit, treatment, or activity and see how they correlate with changes in your Mood, Symptoms, Sleep, & Energy levels.
Founded by James Saady in late 2018, after he was forced to quit his dream job due to his own health issues. James was sent from doctor to doctor, who all struggled to accurately diagnose him. In response, he began tracking his own symptoms, mood, and other health factors to share more holistic and granular data with medical professionals.
This worked, and with the support of the chronic condition community on Reddit, he established Bearable as the leading symptom tracking app in Europe and the United States. Just a year after launching Bearable, we forecast to have over 1 million users by the end of 2022.
Our users use Bearable to identify triggers, help with medical appointments, manage existing health conditions, and understand correlations between their habits and health. 73% of our users say that Bearable helped to give them better control over their health.
Founder(s): Luisa Zettinig
Nudge are a mental health tech startup delivering practical solutions for stigmatised conditions.
Research suggests that up to 4% of people in Europe and the US struggle with compulsive hair pulling: a condition called trichotillomania, or ‘trich’. These behaviours – which can lead to drastic hair loss from the eyelashes, eyebrows and scalp – typically start in early childhood and persist for many years.
Despite the relatively high prevalence of trich, the condition is rarely spoken about in the media or public domain. Sufferers are often extremely embarrassed about their behaviours: stuck in a cycle of shame and low self-esteem, not knowing what’s ‘wrong’ with them, and feeling completely isolated.
Luisa Zettinig, a public health expert, is determined to change this. She launched Nudge in 2020 in order to build a practical, evidence-backed tech tool to help trichotillomania sufferers manage their condition.
The Nudge Band is a wrist-worn, rechargeable device that is similar to a fitbit in appearance. Each one is pre-programmed with over 1000 common hand gestures so, thanks to some inbuilt neural network programming and artificial intelligence, the bands are ‘smart’ enough to vibrate gently whenever the user lifts their hand towards their face or head.
Users can keep count of how often they attempt to touch their face or head thanks to small lights on the device that are activated whenever the band vibrates. Over time, the device helps wearers to rewire their brains and, combined with their own willpower, reduce the frequency of engaging in hair pulling.
The Nudge band also helps those who struggle with dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking) and onychophagia (compulsive nail biting).
Today, less than one year after launching, Nudge has shipped to over 30 countries and is helping thousands of trich sufferers to actively pursue recovery. Now, the Nudge team wants us to shatter the silence and the stigma around this condition. They are working to raise awareness, curate educational resources, and build a mutually supportive community of sufferers (and the friends and family of sufferers).
Founder(s): Nick Bennett & Gareth Fryer
Fika delivers employer-led mental fitness training to the workplace to help everyone prepare for and better manage the everyday challenges of working life. Fika’s intelligent, scalable platform, currently being trialled or rolled-out by over 100 organisations in the UK in both education and the workplace, gives employees a series of short, personalised and evidence-based courses, developed with performance psychologists. The courses are proven to boost performance, improve work wellbeing and reduce stress and anxiety.
Fika was founded in 2017 by Nick Bennett and Gareth Fryer. Both Nick and Gareth have a personal passion for mental fitness. Nick has experienced first-hand the devastating toll that poor mental health can take on someone having lost his best friend to suicide and Gareth has faced intense mental challenges living with his cancer diagnosis – twice. Nick comes from a background in data science, startups and product leadership, while Gareth was a partner at a global software development company.
Fika is backed by Rising Stars, along with a number of other angel investors including a board member of Biogen, Brian Posner, ex Head of Accessibility at AirBnB, Srin Madipalli, and health tech angel, Pam Garside.
Founder(s): Dr Emilia Molimpakis & Dr Stefano Goria
Thymia is a tech platform which helps clinicians to accurately assess and monitor depression. Inspired by video games, it uses Neuropsychology and Linguistics to pick up on subtle markers of depression which might otherwise be missed. Led by co-founders Dr Emilia Molimpakis and Dr Stefano Goria, the team’s mission is to make mental health as objectively and accurately measurable as physical conditions, and to remove stigma attached to mental illnesses.
Patients using the Thymia platform will play a series of games on their smartphone whilst, behind the scenes, ethically trained AI algorithms are analysing thousands of anonymised details. This includes facial expressions, eye gaze, reaction times, error rates, speech patterns and tone of voice. These details combined give an objective measure of whether a user is suffering from depression versus other similarly presenting cognitive disorders, and indicate the severity of their symptoms.
For clinicians, it’s an end-to-end solution to assess mental health, inform treatment, monitor symptoms and track patient progress before, during and in between appointments. For patients, it’s a calming and engaging experience which can take place at home, and enable them to get a more comprehensive understanding of their condition and track its progress over time.
The platform secured a pre-seed raise of $1.1m earlier this year, and is expanding rapidly to support clinicians and patients in the UK, Europe and the US. In anticipation of its launch, Thymia’s tech is currently being trialled by thousands of patients in partnership with UCL and King’s College London. The trials are also enabling the team to expand their datasets and fine tune the tech, with the aim of being able to assess all cognitive disorders in the future.
18. Cast Care Clinic
Founder(s): Dr M M Qadri & Charlotte Armitage
Founded by psychologist and psychotherapist, Charlotte Armitage and Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Medical Psychotherapist Dr M M Qadri, Cast Care Clinic Ltd provides psychological duty of care support to the Film and TV industry.
The founders share a passion for ensuring everyone has access to the appropriate mental health support and have come together to provide a robust and comprehensive care provision to respond to the changes in requirements surrounding duty of care as stipulated by the Ofcom broadcast code.
Charlotte said: “We know over the last few years there has been a welcomed increase in awareness and interest around duty of care in the Film and TV industry but along with this needs to be an acknowledgment of the complex dynamics within the workforce and the psychological risks associated with productions.
We believe it’s essential that cast are fully supported with appropriately qualified and experienced mental health care professionals. With our professional registrations, level of experience, and insight, we can provide production companies with the assurance and confidence to manage the associated risks in the safest way for their cast and crew, both in front of and behind the camera.”
Dr Qadri adds: “The combination of our complementary professions in psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy, in addition to our joint experience, offers a unique insight into contributor care to offer a robust provision that will facilitate the delivery of Ofcom compliant psychological health care within the production process.”
Launched earlier this year, the business has already provided support and advice to production companies working on productions for Sky TV and Channel 4, alongside training and guidance to industry organisations including the Film and TV Charity and WFTV. Further details on the consultancy can be found at https://castcareclinic.com/
19. Minds Anonymous
Founder(s): Louisa Magnussen
Mindsanonymous.com, is a website that was created in October 2020 to give people a safe space to anonymously share their mental health stories, talk about their problems and have a platform to lean on when they need it most. The powerful stories give a unique insight into the realities of living with a range of mental health conditions and has helped thousands of people in over 60 countries share their stories anonymously. It has also helped professionals better understand these conditions.
It was the idea of 32-year-old Woking resident, Louisa “Wizzi” Magnussen who has herself suffered with mental illness. She decided to create, and self-fund, the website after doing an interview about her experience of bipolar; she wanted to encourage others to write their stories for the benefit of challenging this isolation in a safe space free of judgement. Hence the writers remain anonymous.
Wizzi said: “We know that writing about your experiences helps a person experiencing anxiety and trauma. However, many people are reluctant to share the true reality of their condition for fear of judgement and stigma. By writing their experiences down on Minds Anonymous, sufferers are given a voice and a platform to be heard. One outcome, I wasn’t expecting, is that the site has helped educate others, including professionals, on what it’s really like to live with problems like bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety.”
“Clinicians have told me that this is the first time that a resource like this has been available to them.” Erik DaRosa, Founder & Co-host: From Survivor to Thriver Podcast explained what it meant to him as story writer on the site; “I was so happy to be able to share my own personal journey. We must shatter the stigma around mental health so that others, who may be suffering, can realise they are not alone.”
The website has received backing from high-profile mental health organisations including MyCognition, the NHS approved mental health app, a representative at Richmond Fellowship and the South of England Early Intervention in Psychosis Programme.
To share your story or read others’, visit Minds Anonymous at www.mindsanonymous.com. To contribute to the funding of the platform you can donate at http://app.investmycommunity.com/MindsAnonymous.
Founder(s): Andy Wilkins
As AI technology advances, increasing numbers of businesses are turning to chatbots for support in handling enquiries. But it’s perhaps never as important as in the field of healthcare – and mental health, specifically.
During the pandemic, the number of calls to CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably – founded in 2006) rose quickly, with the charity handling over 123,000 enquiries during the lockdowns.
However, managing such large volumes of calls can be incredibly difficult and wait times can be as long as 30 minutes. That’s where AI comes in, in the form of Futr’s intelligent chatbot.
Futr, founded in 2017 and VC backed by Public.io, the British Robotics Fund and Praetura Ventures, has invested substantially in its chatbot development to make it as intelligent as possible.
The Futr chatbot uses NLP to interpret what customers say and Machine Learning to deliver more accurate responses, by learning from past interactions.
The CALM chatbot has completed over 24,000 separate chats, 48% of which are return users. Its use has reduced the average queue time by 73% and it has answered over 35,000 questions, with an average response time of 1.3 seconds.
The chatbot is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, allowing CALM to continue to offer its life-saving mental health support even when its phone lines are closed.
21. My Possible Self
Founder(s): Joanne Wilkinson
My Possible Self is a leading mental health and wellbeing app. Founded by Joanne Wilkinson in 2009 and now completely free, the app has been developed working with world leading independent mental health care provider Priory Healthcare and is endorsed on the NHS App Library, demonstrating it meets NHS technical, clinical and safety standards.
Initially offering a range of health and wellbeing services, Joanne was motivated to set up the business after seeking help from a therapist when she experienced emotional challenges as an adult. Reaping the benefits from therapy and transforming her life, My Possible Self has always been about democratising the advice and information she received to help others, a challenge which since 2016 she is now striving to achieve alongside her two daughters, Hana and Fleur, both directors at My Possible Self.
Clinically certified, the app features a wide array of tools to promote happiness, wellbeing and prevent day-to-day problems from holding users back. This includes an everyday ‘mood tracker’, learning modules for a better understanding of what aspects of life are causing anxiety, alongside methods for how to reshape negative thoughts towards more positive ones.
It tracks and monitors behaviour on an individual level to offer personalised insights, and since the app was made free in March of 2020, it is the 18-24 female demographic where the largest demand has been seen.
Recently, they have just announced expansion plans to include eve more clinically backed tools, techniques and content to be released. It is a move that underlies their continued commitment to providing innovative, affordable mental health solutions for all, and comes amidst rising demand – My Possible Self have seen their user base double from around 70,000, to more than 150,000 in the last year alone.