Behind The Mental Health Technology: Interview with Write Mynd founder, Lizzie Barclay

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Mental health and technology has been a hot topic as of late. Though I am a strong advocate for talk therapy and support groups, I believe technology, when used properly can be quite useful.  And well, it is the way of the future for mental health treatment.

With that being said, there are plenty of app reviews out there, but tech writing isn’t really my thing so I thought it would be more interesting (and authentic) to hear directly from the founders of these new technological advances.

I came across Lizzie via the Women who Tech Facebook group, who then told me about her app Write Mynd.

Write Mynd is a new app for iOS to help busy people take better care of their minds by empowering them to be honest with themselves and others about how they feel. But unlike an ordinary diary, Write Mynd relays a user’s musings back to them in different ways to help people spot patterns in their feelings and behaviour. It also also offers the cathartic effect of off-loading anonymously to others, and empathising with what others are going through too. The social network element is unique: there’s no commenting, making it a troll-free space.

She and her team developed Write Mynd on the premise that Self-Reflection Can Be Powerful.
They believed that when you practice self-reflection regularly, you can start to identify patterns and behaviors that affect your mental health. Sometimes seeing your thoughts written out can take the power away from them, and give you space to think, and decide what to do with them.

I happen to agree with that sentiment. So I emailed a few questions over to get the 411 about her app and tap more into her ‘Why’ and this is what came back…

Q1 Lynn: So my 1st question would be: When will this app be available for download to Android users such as myself?

A1 Lizzie: Unfortunately, Write Mynd is available on iOS only at the moment. We’re following the lean start up principles and wanted to validate our concept and product on one platform first before investing in developing for both. Our decision to focus on iOS was based on market research about iPhone users responding more positively to apps about mental well-being. But, as soon as the time is right, we will develop for Android. It’s such an important platform and it’s not been forgotten!

Q2 Lynn: How confidential is what one records on the app? (for instance what if someone wrote a suicide note)

A2 Lizzie: The app is totally confidential. Users can choose to make an account if they wish, but it’s not essential and we offer this feature so that users can sign into the app on multiple devices, or log out if they want to. In the next update of the app, we are going to introduce signposting to the Samaritans charity (where I used to volunteer) so that people who need or want more support can find it easily straight from the app. Users can also block content that they don’t want to see if they find it distressing. Ultimately though, for now, it’s totally confidential. I am in conversations with various charities about how to make this app as safe as possible for users in all situations.

Q3 Lynn: Speaking of Suicide does the app do anything special if suicide or death threat is mentioned in a recording?

A3 Lizzie: Not at the moment, but these are considerations that we are working through in our beta phase, working with as many third parties as possible to seek advice.

Q4 Lynn: Is there a way to collect all of the reporting to the app for printing to take to a professional (with cloud syncing capabilities to mac or pc).

A4 Lizzie: This is a great idea, and one that is on our list for future development. Many people have suggested the app would be a great tool to use to accompany therapy or counselling, and it would be helpful to be able to print / cloud sync your entries. Ideally, I’d like people to use their phone and the app directly in all situations, but if users are asking for the ability to print / sync their information then I’d like to accommodate that request of course.

Q5 Lynn: Finally, could you explain what’s unique about your app that separates it from similar apps?

A5 Lizzie: What’s unique about Write Mynd…

1) It’s the easiest and fastest way to record your emotions on the go. Our “swiping” feature means that if you can’t put your feelings into words yourself, or if you’re rushing to articulate how you feel, you can swipe through different emotions to specify whether you agree or disagree with them. The app then immediately plays this information back to you telling you whether, based on what words you just swiped through, you’re feeling overall more positive or negative. The Dashboard shows you a graph of your positive and negative sentiment changing over time.

2) It’s a diary that actually gives you meaningful feedback. Lots of people want to keep a diary, but are put off because they don’t know where to start. This app suggests different emotions to you to get you thinking, and to reduce the intimidation of a blank page. It then plays back your posts in different ways so you can draw your own conclusions about the things that make you happy / sad / angry etc. For example, if you consistently see that you’re angry when you’re writing about work, maybe you should consider finding a new job. If you’re consistently happy when you write about being outdoors, great – do more of that! It’s sometimes hard to see what’s good and what’s not good for us until we’re staring at it in black and white.

3) It’s been run entirely by volunteers working their socks off on top of busy day jobs! It’s a team of people who believe in the product and what it’s trying to achieve: promoting and supporting better mental wellbeing for all!

4) The design. A lot of mood tracking apps I’ve come across are very medical / not necessarily something you’d want on your phone at work. The language wasn’t accessible. I don’t want to think about my “cognitive state”. I don’t want to feel like a patient. I want something fun, friendly and accessible. Unfortunately there’s still so much stigma around looking after your mental health that many people want something cool, fun and mainstream to use – not something that has “I struggle with anxiety” written all over it.

 

Keep in Touch

lizziebarclay

 

 

Lizzie Barclay, Founder
Email: lizzie@writemynd.com
Tweet: @LizzieBarclay or @WriteMyndApp

 

 

 

Sharing is Caring

Copy and Paste to spread the word on your social media networks

  1. Want better mental clarity? Check out the latest mood tracking app @WriteMyndApp
  2. Be honest with yourself about how you feel. Start keeping a diary on the go. Check out @WriteMyndApp
  3. Came across a diary app that gives you useful insight on your diary entries. Download @WriteMyndApp

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Suicide Prevention where Money and Mental Health Issues Collide

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One of the main reasons I was motivated to begin working on my book (still in the works) is that I wanted to advocate for mental wellness amongst women in business so to prevent further entrepreneur suicides. Whenever I thought about business owners, CEO’s and entrepreneurs I will be the 1st to admit I assumed “go-getter”, “super strong”, “ultra productive”, and “has it all together”. That was until I became a business owner myself. I quickly learned that whatever load you’re carrying around in your life comes right along with you into whatever business venture you’re embarking on in some form or another. And that included mental health issues. So while yes, we can be (and are) most of those descriptions (I don’t think anyone has it ALL together) we could also be depressed, experience chronic disease, have anxiety, addictive behaviors etc. And I wanted to better understand why.

One of the categories of ‘why’ I plan to explore more of in the book was revisited after recently accompanying my awesome client, Amanda Abella to FinCon 2016. When we hear of people in business bearing the load of money problems, and money mindset issues we typically hear about business failure. As a result, resources like Business Development Centers formed to offer support. There are also women like Melinda Emerson who dedicated Foundations to igniting a movement to end small business failure. What I don’t find too often however, are open and candid discussions about how money problems in business could also play a huge role in suicidal ideation and attempted suicide.

I was originally going to touch on this category very briefly only because I wanted to focus on the “why” of entrepreneurs who had great financial success yet still battled mental health disorders, but I’ve since been convinced otherwise.

After Michelle Jackson coaxed me out of my comfort zone by offering me an opportunity to live podcast right alongside herself and a panel of amazing women thought leaders, I was able to talk about my mental health advocacy work. As a result, I met some other awesome “money nerds” who happened to also be mental health advocates. FinCon panel

Through fellow panelist Kate Dore’s blog post I learned more about The Link Between Mental Illness and Money Problems and was introduced to an organization called Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. According to their research, if you have had a “major financial crisis” within the past six months, you are nearly eight times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. I imagine a Startup Founder who has literally given their blood, sweat, tears, and very last dollar in the hopes of getting noticed by an investor experiences financial crisis more often than not until they “make it”. I know from personal experience that my own company, A & D Media was formed with less than $200 and dream which was pretty much the last bit of money in our pockets.

I then learned that Kate’s post was in collaboration with Melanie Lockert of Dear Debt who encouraged colleagues to join the blog tour project for World Suicide Prevention Day which was September 10th. While the date for this year has come and gone, all of September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

I applaud these women for stepping up to publicly advocate for mental health and suicide prevention on their professional business blogs. In the business and entrepreneurial world there is huge stigma around mental illness and illness in general. I feel this is even more pronounced for microbusiness owners such as virtual service providers who have to constantly battle for workplace wellness fairness. I plan to link up with these two lovelies and a few others awesome ladies I met at FinCon to better explore the money/mental health correlation for my upcoming book set to publish during mental health month in 2017.

If you or someone you know is contemplating Suicide and/or in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Dior Vargas

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 5 – Featuring: Dior Vargas, Mental Health Activist, Speaker and Movement Instigator

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/YavTuZVykEg

About
dior-final
Dior Vargas is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist. She is the creator of the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, a response to the invisibility of people of color in the media representation of mental illness. Dior is the recipient of numerous awards including The White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations. She lives in New York City.

How You Can Help

If you’re interested in being part of the People of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project
please submit a photo of yourself holding a sign saying “I’m [your name] and I have a mental illness (or the exact type).” To http://diorvargas.com/poc-mental-illness/

Resources mentioned

National Alliance on Mental Illness

*Bonus* Dior has some great resources linked on her Wikipedia page including Project UROK and Progressive Women’s Voices, definitely worth taking a look.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Fabian Brown

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 4 – Featuring: Fabian Brown, Hunger Relief Champion, Jazz Musician, and Entrepreneur

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/QuWsDXC5TgQ

About
fabianbrownFabian Brown brings professionalism with everything he does. “I’m nobody special. The secret to my success is finding the best person in any particular industry and studying their moves. I am a life learner, so each day my goal is to be better than I was yesterday. A better husband, a better father, a better musician, a better entrepreneur. I have just humbled myself and networked with people who are better than me so I can learn from the best.” Throughout Fabian’s career he has demonstrated success in the music industry, education, and business. He has also participated in various campaigns and volunteers frequently to charitable organizations. “There is a lot of go-getters out there, so I took on the possibility of being a go-giver. It’s important to support and give back to people and organizations who do not have the means and sometimes just simply need a little help. The result is seeing my children following in the same foot steps and taking on volunteering as a part of their lives.”

How You Can Help

Help Fabian pay it forward by supporting hunger relief through Project Feeding Kids.

Resources Mentioned

Heights in Progress
Student of the Year Campaign
The Tony Robins Podcast
Cause Marketing

Until Next Time…Peace!

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Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Stephanie Lampkin

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 3 – Featuring: Stephanie Lampkin, Entrepreneur, Tech Innovator and Engineer

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/XkqL2KQ8Fn0

About
stephanielampkin
Stephanie Lampkin is the founder & CEO of Blendoor, merit-based matching, a mobile job matching app that uses a blind recruiting strategy to circumvent unconscious bias and thus facilitate diversity. With a 13 year career in tech spanning companies like Lockheed, Deloitte, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor, she is all too familiar with the difficulties faced when one doesn’t look like the prototypical engineer. Through technology and data, her mission is to reduce bias and challenge the assumption that homogeneous environments are a meritocracy. Stephanie holds a BS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from MIT Sloan.

Stephanie has been honored and featured in numerous publications including Forbes, NPR, NY Times, Tech Crunch, Huffington Post, Tech.Co and Black Enterprise. She has spoken publicly on a myriad of topics from the future of work to hacking unconscious bias at MIT Media Lab, Dreamforce, SXSW, and more. Most recently Stephanie graduated from Stanford StartX (a top 5 startup accelerator); the first Black woman founder/CEO accelerant in the program’s 5 year history. In response to the discovery that there are only 13 Black female startup founders in the world that have raised $1M or more in venture capital, Stephanie organized an elite cohort of Black female founders with high-growth ventures. Stephanie’s mission is to effectively demonstrate that investing in diversity yields positive returns socially, financially, and technologically.

How You Can Help

Help break down unconscious bias one swype at a time… Become a Beta user at http://www.blendoor.com/

You can also connect with Stephanie via social media

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanienlampkin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blendoor

Resources Mentioned

Slack team communications
Women Who Tech
Bonus Resource: What is STEM?

Until Next Time…Peace!

Did you enjoy reading this? Awesome! I’d like to invite you to sign up here to receive new blog posts in your inbox when they update…

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.