Family firm throws a mental health lifeline – in app form

Joanne Wilkinson (centre), founder and chief executive of Harrogate firm My Possible Self, with daughters Fleur and Hana, who have developed a mental health self-help app.
Joanne Wilkinson (centre), founder and chief executive of Harrogate firm My Possible Self, with daughters Fleur and Hana, who have developed a mental health self-help app.

A Harrogate company has thrown a virtual lifeline to corporates struggling with Britain’s mental health crisis.

My Possible Self has released a self-help app that uses content from the world-renowned Black Dog Institute in Australia which is clinically proven to reduce stress, anxiety and mild-to-moderate depression in eight weeks.

The company is engaging with corporates to discuss how the programme can help employees with stress, anxiety and mild-to-moderate depression.

My Possible Self has been delivering emotional health and wellbeing services since 2009 and was launched by chief executive Joanne Wilkinson.

Her daughters Hana and Fleur are directors and designers of the app, and her husband is the award-winning Yorkshire technology entrepreneur Peter Wilkinson.

Mrs Wilkinson said: “We are passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of people suffering from mental health problems, especially those in the workplace.

“We want to start a movement and look forward to corporates joining us on our journey.”

Mental health issues cost the UK an estimated £70bn in lost productivity, benefit payments and healthcare expenditure, according to the OECD.

Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered employers to better support those with mental ill health and said “more needs to be done”.

My Possible Self is designed to be used as an early intervention tool, preventing symptoms escalating into more serious health problems. It could also complement talking therapies.

The app has been welcomed by mental health charities and campaigners.

Norman Lamb MP, the leading mental health campaigner and a former care minister, said: “Digital innovations in mental health care have massive potential, and this is an app that uses clinically proven forms of therapy.

“I am confident that My Possible Self can help people to improve their mental wellbeing, come through difficult times, and improve their overall quality of life.

“It is exactly the sort of preventive measure we should be looking at, supporting people who may be suffering from anxiety, stress or depression to self-manage and avoid a crisis.”