Joanne Wilkinson (founder, centre) with daughters Fleur (left) and Hana (right), directors of My Possible Self
Joanne Wilkinson (founder, centre) with daughters Fleur (left) and Hana (right), directors of My Possible Self

Free global mental health app, My Possible Self, has recently undergone an expansion to keep up with demand which has risen since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Founder Joanne Wilkinson alongside her two daughters Hana and Fleur, who are directors at My Possible Self, saw a 115% increase in the number of people engaging with their content over the last year, so they launched a new podcast series, workout and meditation videos on World Mental Health Day to keep up-to-date with user feedback.

The app has gained NHS support and is free for everybody and anybody to use.

Joanne and Hana Wilkinson spoke to us about why My Possible Self was set up, went into detail about what the expansion offers and, spoke about what the future holds for the app...

Why did you want to create My Possible Self and how come your daughters got on board?

Joanne: I experienced emotional challenges in adulthood and decided to seek guidance from a highly skilled therapist to help me through this difficult time in my life. The transformation was life-changing, and it empowered me to help others through their mental health journeys, hence My Possible Self being born.

The business began by offering a range of emotional health and wellbeing services, each designed to support people in discovering and reaching their full potential and to this day that remains at the core of our business. In 2016, I decided to take My Possible Self in a new direction, recruiting my two daughters, Hana and Fleur, to develop the business into an accessible and affordable mental health app for all.

What is going to be included in the app expansion?

Hana: We’ve taken onboard our user’s comments and feedback and will be updating the app weekly with new and interesting content to make sure we’re providing our users with as much added value as possible. Included in the expansion is:

  • My Possible Self Presents our amazing new podcast with our fantastic host Gabby who speaks to Mental Health and Wellbeing specialists across an array of mental health and wellness topics including perfectionism, depression, suicide prevention and many more, we feel it is really important to open up conversations about these topics.
  • A new range of workout videos for all fitness levels including Barre, cardio, strength, pilates and yoga.
  • Breathwork and meditation videos.
  • Our weekly Instagram Live series, checking in, with a new guest each week we’ll discuss their experiences and delve into a new mental health topic.

How alarmed are you that a record-breaking amount of people have accessed your resources in the last year to help with their mental health?

Hana: It’s incredibly alarming to see such a huge influx in app users. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and a general shift in attitude towards the importance of good mental health, it's not a shock that people are using the app as a resource. Although the statistics are shocking, we’re glad that people feel the app is a useful resource and we hope many more people will continue to reap the benefits from using the app. People are aware, now more than ever, that mental health is the foundation for our overall health.

We’re thrilled that people are taking action and using the resources available to build those foundations and take care of themselves. Until now the focus has been of our physical health and appearance, but we’ve noticed a shift in our users' behaviours and they’re more focussed on their mental wellbeing and mindset.

How important is it to you that the app is free and accessible to anyone?

Joanne: Incredibly so. As I mentioned, my own mental health struggles fuelled my passion for good mental health for all and we’ll keep the app free for as long as possible as we as a family are driven to provide people with the tools they need.

My Possible Self founder, Joanne Wilkinson
My Possible Self founder, Joanne Wilkinson

With World Mental Health Day just passed, how crucial do you think it is to have a day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health?

Hana: For us, every day is World Mental Health Day as we strive for good mental health for all. I think these awareness days are incredibly important and I love the fact that these days allow more space for the conversation however the conversations shouldn’t be limited to a specific day or week. Mental health is a global issue and should be discussed all the time.

Increasingly so we see people around these dates speak out about mental health and then the topic is dropped until the next awareness day - It is a bit of a catch 22 with these days because they do wonders for creating awareness but once that day is over the awareness kind of fizzles out and we’d much rather see people keep these conversations going.

How excited have you been to launch your new podcast series and what can we expect from that?

Hana: We are so excited to bring our app's users and podcast listeners' conversations around mental health with experts and thought leaders in their various fields. As a team, we have spent time looking into the areas that people are particularly struggling with and Gabby, our host, has done a wonderful job building episodes around them.

For example, the podcast with Dr Hilary Jones talks about the impact the pandemic is having on our mental health. He offers not only some amazing advice on how we navigate through this challenging time, but also some wonderful words of comfort that anyone listening will benefit from. All the topics are highly relatable and much like the app, the podcast is not just for those with a mental health illness, but for all to help better manage their mental well-being to avoid becoming unwell.

What's next for My Possible Self?

Joanne: Lots we hope. We’re really proud of the platform and are so excited to receive feedback from our users on the new content we’ve created. We’ll be working with lots of new partners to create more exciting and engaging content in the coming months to go into the app. We’re so excited for the future of the business and developing how we can help people with their mental health journeys.

Words by Lucy Roberts for Female First, who you can follow on Twitter, @Lucy_Roberts_72.

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