John Harper, Founder and CEO of Rize, writes:
Two and a half years ago I found myself feeling incredibly low, lost and unable to do much of anything. I was unable to focus, I found it difficult to stay out of bed for more that a few hours at a time, interact with anyone without feeling anxious, and worst of all I had no idea what was wrong with me.
After visiting my GP a few months later I found out I was suffering from moderate depression. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't have depression. I felt weak somehow..but at the same time I realised that something tangible and real was happening to me...I wasn't just crazy, or lazy or being moody.
From there I decided to work on myself first - I was a young man not ready to share his feelings with other people. So I did my research - I started going on websites that provided a lot of information on depression and how I can face my negative thought patterns to help myself. I looked at apps, videos, documentaries, journals, books, and even went to a few conferences. The content of all of these were admittedly dry and quite boring, but I forced myself to get through this, as I understood the importance of what this information could do for people.
Eventually I started feeling better and able to get out into the full world again. I started talking to a counsellor, I got a job as a Research Assistant and I started playing music again. I still had some horrible lows, but from all that I had learnt I was able to develop an understanding that there was actually a light at the end of the tunnel. I kept having nagging thoughts in the back of my head though - 'How many other people have gone through the same thing as me? How many of them didn't find the right support to help them? How many people desperately need support right now?'
I started doing research in my spare time. I researched for myself all of the best, scientifically-proven methods to help people -- not only those with depression, but everyone -- to improve their mental well-being. At the same time I researched the prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress. The results were shocking:
1/4 of the UK population will experience a mental illness in the course of a year, with depression and anxiety as the most common problems.
The World Health Organisation describes depression as the leading cause of disability in the world.
I began talking to a lot of people - psychiatrists, people with depression, other people with no previous history of mental illness. Wherever I went I found there was a huge demand for an engaging and simple way for people to access, understand, and practise the best ways to improve our mental well-being: our focus, ability to manage stress levels, our mental health, our confidence, and cognitive abilities. People are now beginning to grasp the importance of understanding our thoughts, emotions, and mental health in all areas of our life. Football players have training to improve their focus and mindset, celebrities and politicians integrate mindfulness into their daily lives to manage their stress, and the demand on the NHS to support the public's mental well-being is growing.
We are creating a multi-platform app that integrates therapeutic concepts into simple information and interactive exercises to help those who need it to understand, track, and improve their mental well-being.
By providing only the best, proven methods to support mental well-being we know this can help a lot of people. We are not providing a platform to treat people suffering from depression, but an environment in which anyone can enter and learn the basic concepts of improving their mindset, well-being, and performance.
Rize has already made a big impact, and before we've even finished the full Rize app we've received overwhelming response and support from the Accelerate Cambridge Program, the London Institute of Psychiatry, MindTech, and a large group of counsellors in the Cambridgeshire area.
We're looking to raise £5k. This will go directly into product development: I can pay my Developer and Designer to complete the final changes and create the app for Android, Ipad and Tablet, so that we can truly reach the wider global population.
So go ahead, fund this project now! Every minute you wait is another minute you could have been using Rize to supercharge your mental well-being! Don't forget to share this project with your friends, co-workers and family - as many people as possible.