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Over the last several years, the topic of mental health has come to the forefront. What was once as a topic veiled in shame and secrecy is not being discussed openly, and for the better.
Whether it’s in the workplace, educational institutions, or at alone at home, businesses and startups worldwide are introducing products and services to help improve mental wellness, some of those startups are in Atlantic Canada.
Here is a look at just five of them:
New Brunswick’s WellTrack provides mental health software for post-secondary students. The software allows students to monitor their moods and progress and to get the right help they need. Features include guided therapy for stress, anxiety and depression; Virtual Zen room; securing sharing with councillors and more.
WellTrack has been hard at work over the last few years. In February last year, they were accepted into 500 Startups’ 20th batch of companies. Their customers now include Boston College, Georgia State University, Memorial University, University of California Santa Cruz and Ryerson University.
Fredericton’s Refram Games is on a mission to create games and applications for tackling real-world social issues in a fun and enlightening way.
The first game they hope will do this is Guide, which focuses on empathy to help kids tackle anxiety issues. The game follows the story of Fia, a baby phoenix chick lost and alone in a dark forest. Players help Fia to escape these woods by encouraging her to face her fear of the forest’s shadows. By doing this, the aim is to help both Fia and the users to acknowledge “the fire that they always had within.”
As recently reported by Entrevestor, the company is in the process of getting the data it needs to assess whether its new video game is effective in helping children cope with anxiety issues.
Formerly ADDtext, Halifax-based ADDvocacy offers support for youth and adults who live with ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Autism, Anxiety and other occurring conditions that impact executive functioning as they transition to post-secondary, career exploration and/or entrepreneurship. ADDvocacy’s employs certified “strADDegists” who coach clients using various communication channels, including SMS/MMS.
CEO Keith Gelhorn tells Huddle that business is up over 350 per cent from this time last year and on track to hit 500 per cent growth by October.
Wear Your Label
Founded in Fredericton in 2014, Wear Your Label is a clothing company on a mission to eliminate the stigma around mental health. The company has gone through some challenges over the last year, but with co-founder Kyle McNevin rejoining the company as CEO back in May, the company appears to have a promising future.
Back in July, the company announced a new partnership with Hudson’s Bay Company, one of the largest retailers in North America, for its new #TheFutureisStigmaFree t-shirt campaign. In an interview with Huddle at the time, McNevin says the company was planning some new partnerships for the fall.
“This is just the beginning. The next several months will reveal a lot about the improvements we are making,” said MacNevin. “For now, we are focusing on making a great product and strengthening our supply chain and infrastructure to ensure the company is ready for bigger and more meaningful partnerships.”
Based in Halifax, Tranquility offers an online platform that leverages Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to deliver knowledge and skills to help users suffering from different types of anxiety.
The company is founded by Joel Muise, a chartered financial analyst and mental health advocate and Rebecca Tucker, a Clinical Psychology PHD student at Dalhousie University.
Tranquility is a subscription-based service and offers self-help, group and one-on-one coaching options starting at $49.99 a month. The company is currently offering 7-day free trials of its services.
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Life can be a roller coaster ride for just about everyone on earth, but for young people in their transition to post secondary life, it can be even more challenging. For people with ADHD or learning disabilities the challenges mount up even bigger.
When some people reach out for help they monopolize the time of friends and loved ones, or even bestow their problem load onto someone else. Sometimes they have a therapist to talk to or a mental health professional but those all require appointments.
Now, a new startup called ADDtext.me offers on demand text-based productivity and life coaching for college students, post secondary students and people living with ADHD and learning disabilities.
ADDtext coaches are college or university students or recent graduates who have experienced the pressures that high school, college and post college life present. Their coaches receive in-house training that’s been supervised by 3 psychologists, 2 clinical social workers a 2 learning strategists.
People who need this kind of help simply text ADDme and they can get help with:
ADDtext.me is designed to meet the demands of millennials and post millennials who need a little help and a little coaching. The text messaging means that people can seek out help with the privacy and security of their own phones. Having the service text based also means you don’t need a smart phone or an app to have 24/7 access to life and productivity coaches.
ADDtext offers a free 14 day trial for people to try out the process of talking with a counselor using their platform.
You can find out all about ADDtext at The Collision Conference in New Orleans, April 30-May 3 and online at addtext.me]]>
- Time Management
- Relationship Building
- Life Skills
- Self Esteem
- Reducing Stress
- Self Confidence
- Navigating Community Resources
Turning experience into a business to help others
Today, Gelhorn is a learning strategist, ADHD coach, and entrepreneur who founded ADDvocacy, a coaching and training company based in Halifax that is committed to helping clients excel in their personal, scholastic and professional lives.
“Our coaches collaborate with clients on how to master executive function strategies, such as organization, time management, goal-setting, emotions management and communication skills,” says Gelhorn. “We also help them navigate community programming and relevant funding opportunities.” In addition, Gelhorn provides professional development training for educators and employers on how to boost productivity in a diverse workforce.
As ADDvocacy’s coaching is one-on-one, and disability and mental health resources are stretched thin in Nova Scotia, Gelhorn realized there was a bigger opportunity to help more of his target demographic (ages 16 to 39) by incorporating technology.
“What if we could develop a platform that enables 24/7 text-based learning strategies and real-time support between coaching meetings, or as a stand-alone service?” The app ADDtext was born, and like its potential clients, it needed help.
How SmartBusiness helped
Gelhorn met with the Halifax Partnership’s SmartBusiness account executive, Minder Singh, in November 2016. Singh introduced Gelhorn to Dr. Adrian Kelly, grants facilitator at Saint Mary’s University, who sourced the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) as the right fit for ADDvocacy’s growing needs.
IRAP helps businesses with advice, funding, access to global markets and support for hiring youth; a perfect fit for ADDvocacy, which employs young coaches who have experienced and managed similar emotional and mental challenges as their clients.
Through IRAP, ADDtext received advisory services and funding in January 2017, and the app was up and running within a month. The current platform has room for up to 5,000 early adopters to help fine-tune the service. In mid-2018, the full version of the app will launch to an expected 600 million users worldwide.
From Singh’s many introductions, Gelhorn learned about an opportunity to pitch his company and network with like-minded developers and entrepreneurs at a Propel ICT event. “Singh is methodological in his approach. For example, he recognized I needed a programmer and provided connections through Saint Mary’s University to find one. It’s been priceless working with him because every contact he has given me has been influential in my work.”
“Gelhorn made the most of SmartBusiness,” says Singh. “He followed up on every introduction to gain the information and connections to help his business take the next step,” a head-on, diligent approach to success even a former principal would have praised. To learn more about how the SmartBusiness Program can help your business, click here.]]>