A young entrepreneur from Hertfordshire is aiming to support mental well-being and save the planet through her new business and app.
Elise Williams, aged 28 from Berkhamsted, has spent the last five years devoting her life to her new mental resilience business and app, The Pocket Mentor.
The Pocket Mentor not only helps people of all ages with life’s challenges but is also supporting climate change by building a forest too.
For every 10 days that someone uses the app, the company plants a tree.
Since its launch around three weeks ago, 250 trees have been planted in Madagascar to support a deforested area and the habitats that live there.
The idea for The Pocket Mentor all started when Elise first started work after graduating from university.
Although she was lucky enough to land a job straight after her studies, she quickly realised she was mentally unprepared for it.
She explains: “Once in my job, I soon realised I was mentally unprepared for it. It was the little things like not knowing how to deal with a mistake at work, getting motivated to go to work and numerous other things.
“I just thought does everyone feel like this. The problem is that you’re taught things at school which the majority of us never use.
“Then it clicked that surely no matter what job you go in, mental resilience tools will be used in later life.
“I felt overwhelmed, stuck at times and it’s very easy to feel ‘is it just me’ and beat yourself up.
“But ultimately you don’t know what you don’t know.
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed or have faced a setback and feel deflated about it, you don’t know in that moment it’s to do with mental resilience but it is.”
The Pocket Mentor App tackles, in an inventive and creative way, the rising problem of mental health, particularly in young people, but across all ages.
After extensively researching what communication format is most effective, Elise uses whiteboard-style animation, drawn by herself, in the 40 short videos as well as interactive, gaming devices.
The mentor toolkit also provides breathing exercises, focusing tools, the daily 5 To Thrive mental well-being workout and Mindset Boost library; real time solutions to real life challenges – all in a fun to use App.
After leaving university five years ago and feeling like she was out of her depth, Elise took the plunge and overnight gave up her job to concentrate full time on developing the idea.
She said: “It was obviously a massive decision but I made it because I really believed it could get to this point and help people.
“To be honest, my naivety helped because if I knew then how big and long it would have been I probably would have questioned the decision.
“I knew I wanted to help others like me and I was pointed in the right direction by a friend to The Prince’s Trust.”
Their Enterprise Course helped her on the practical side of starting a business whilst she concentrated on the actual content.
Thankfully it worked and Elise is now an ambassador for the charity.
She continued: “I just knew that mental well-being and resilience was the gap in education most people need.
“I also found this after conducting research and it all just started clicking. We’re never taught at school how to look after our brain and help it.
“Whereas on the other hand, one of the main things we’re taught at school is physical fitness and its benefits but mental well-being is exactly the same.
“This is what The Pocket Mentor does – it helps change people’s daily habits, how they think and motivates them too.
“That’s where the unknowing comes into it. It’s normal for everyone to not notice their bad traits or habits as things that are holding them back.
“But in reality, they are failing our potential and are negatively impact our growth.
“The app provides us that support and help. It rebuilds some helpful habits to grow and optimise our brain.”
It’s been a labour of love over the last few years but since its launch earlier this year, it’s been a raging success.
There are a number of features on the app designed to help you personally.
There is a library of support aimed to help your personal problem or circumstance, emojis that you can choose to help express your feelings which will filter further support and real time solutions to real life challenges.
For example, as Elise explains: “Perhaps you’re feeling worried about a mistake you’ve made, The Pocket Mentor helps put a pause on the emotional reactive part of our brain and helps us objectively re-frame the mistake into a stepping stone, creating actions for improvement and the next step.
“Or you have an important piece of work to do but are slumped on the sofa and keep pressing the ‘next episode’ button. The Pocket Mentor helps break down roadblocks towards the task and build motivation to get up and do it.”
Not only has the app has attracted and helped more than 1,500 customers but it’s helping the environment too.
Elise realised early on the growing importance of nature to people’s overall well being and decided to incorporate this into her business model in a unique way by partnering with the Eden Project on her tree-planting initiative.
So far 250 trees have been planted which is, according to Elise, an extra incentive for users.
“The initial idea was to create a tool for young people to fill this gap in the curriculum, however, just as many, grown-ups are becoming members and finding it valuable too, which goes to show that mental well-being and resilience applies to us all no matter our age,” Elise explained.
Schools and corporate companies are also showing an interest to help pupils and colleagues.
To access, head to www.pocketmentorapp.com, create a free account or log in, at the bottom of any page you’ll see ‘redeem a code’ – click there and enter ‘1monthfree’.
If you would like to use the Pocket Mentor app but truly cannot afford it, you can request a free account by filling out the contact us form on the website.