Mental well-being and climate change gets the support of a Berkhamsted entrepreneur with her new app The Pocket Mentor
How a Berkhamsted entrepreneur is supporting mental well-being and climate change in one simple app
‘One million minds will grow one million trees’ is the unique challenge which one young Berkhamsted entrepreneur has set herself.
Elise Williams 28, has spent the last five years developing her mental resilience business and app, The Pocket Mentor, which has attracted 1,500 customers in its first week of launch - and started building a forest too.
As she explains, “For every 10 days someone uses my app, we plant a tree – and we’ve already planted 250!”
The Pocket Mentor app tackles, in an inventive and creative way, the rising problem of mental health, particularly in young people.
After extensively researching what communication format is most effective, Elise uses whiteboard-style animation, drawn by herself, in the 40 short videos as well as interactive, gaming devices.
The Pocket Mentor app is now available through the app store.
Elise said: "Never before has mental health been such an important topic with 90 per cent of school leaders reporting an increase in pupils stress and anxiety and I was determined to do something about it."
The 28-year-old also recognised the growing importance of nature to people’s overall well-being and decided to incorporate this into her business model in a unique way by partnering with the Eden Project on her tree planting initiative.
This fact attracted one of the first members, a young woman named Deepa, she said: “I particularly love the unique idea of the trees being planted. So there is a dual benefit, not only are we gaining a boost of well-being every day, so is the world!”
Elise first came up with the idea after graduating from University and, despite securing a full-time job, felt unprepared for the world of work.
She knew she wanted to help others suffering similar anxiety and approached the Prince's Trust for support.
Their Enterprise Course helped her on the practical side of starting a business whilst she concentrated on the content.
She said: “I spent time building my understanding of mental resilience and realizing that people wanted accessible support at the exact moment they needed it rather than having to book an appointment or attend a workshop."
Overnight she gave up her job to concentrate full time on developing the Pocket Mentor toolkit which provides breathing exercises, focusing tools, the daily 5 To Thrive mental wellbeing workout and Mindset Boost library; real-time solutions to real-life challenges – all in a fun to use app.
Elise added: “Perhaps you're feeling worried about a mistake you've made, The Pocket Mentor helps put a pause on the emotional reactive part of our brain and helps us objectively reframe the mistake into a stepping stone, creating actions for improvement and the next step.
"Or you have an important piece of work to do but are slumped on the sofa and keep pressing the 'next episode' button.
"The Pocket Mentor helps break down roadblocks towards the task and build motivation to get up and do it.”
Graham, who uses the app, said: “As someone that has struggled with his mental health at times, for me these Mindset Boost videos impacted me immediately, I felt instantly refreshed, more focused, calmer.”
The average usage is just 10-15 minutes per day.
In its first week of launch, Elise has not only been surprised by the volume of uptake but also the membership profile.
She said: “The initial idea was to create a tool for young people to fill this gap in the curriculum, however, just as many, grown-ups are becoming members and finding it valuable too, which goes to show that mental wellbeing and resilience applies to us all no matter our age.”