The lack of Vitamin D in these winter months can have a noticeable impact on the human condition. As the seasons shift, many people experience changes in their energy, sleep and hunger patterns, but most importantly – their mood.
According to Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year, and in most cases, during the fall or winter months.
“We do see an influx of users during the winter season as it is when people have time off or are under a lot of pressure and stress in their personal and professional lives,” says Brittany Masih, Operations Manager at Futurpreneur-supported business Wellin5 Inc.
“This influx also tends to coincide with those who are dramatically affected by the weather, which can contribute to their general perspective on life and anything they are struggling with at work.”
Wellin5 aims to remove the stigma of mental health treatment by providing an innovative, private and secure online counselling platform that makes access to counselling easy.
“Going to a clinic or asking for help can be the most difficult first step to getting support – it’s what stops so many people from seeing a counsellor,” says William Masih, Chief Executive Officer of Wellin5.
“Online counselling really changes the game for anyone who needs to talk to a professional counsellor. When counselling is available in an online space, or mobile space where people are interacting with their friends and family – their counselling experience becomes more normalized and is that much more accessible and free of social stigma.”
The initial concept of Wellin5 dates back to 2016 when William realized there was a significant gap in the market for online counselling. After meeting with various counsellors in the mental health space, and ideating with the tech ecosystem, he forged ahead with his idea and reached out to Futurpreneur Canada in August 2017 to get the startup off the ground.
“When we were turned down by most banks and people not wanting to support in our journey, Futurpreneur was a breath of fresh air that gave us further momentum to push forward,” recalls William.
“That meant a lot to us as building a tech company is not an easy feat and having a cheerleader in the form of Futurpreneur was more than we could have asked for.”
Wellin5 partners with corporates to connect employees with licensed counsellors to address mental health concerns. Since their inception they have grown to include a B2B2C model as an additional option, opening up their platform to new users as well as new partnerships.
Providing options within that daily digital space we all seem to revolve in can play a huge role on supporting each person’s mental health. Nowadays, as people lack the means to accommodate travel or time off work into their everyday life, Wellin5 provides immediate support. Whether it’s writing a message to a counsellor or having a video session in their car on their lunch break, this new option of mental health care gives people a new type of accessibility that is simple but can have a significant and transformative impact on their life.
“In Canada alone, we have some really overpowering statistics regarding mental health. One in every five Canadians has a mental challenge, costing the economy an estimated $51 billion annually. Mental health is such a huge concern for the society at large which affects the economy, cities and provinces in a major, major way,” says Masih.
“Talking to a counsellor on your personal device accommodates that need for confidentiality while keeping your experience in a normal space for your daily living.”
As they continue to grow and expand, 2019 will see the company increase their engagement by offering incentives and by making counselling more appealing. As the federal and provincial government(s) and other health organizations continue to come behind a cause to destigmatize mental health in our culture, Wellin5 will be there every step of the way.
To find out more about Wellin5 visit their website wellin5.ca