Clearhead aims to cut suicide numbers

Dr Angela Lim, who attended Howick College, co-founded a social enterprise called Clearhead which has just launched an extension to its digital mental wellbeing platform.

Clearhead, a Kiwi digital mental health company, has launched its expanded website offering designed to help people who are supporting others with their mental health to be better support people.

With Christmas fast-approaching at the end of what’s been a challenging year for many, Clearhead – in partnership with TSB Bank – is launching an extension to its digital mental wellbeing platform.

Since their 2018 launch, Clearhead’s website and app has been offering a private virtual wellbeing assistant to help improve New Zealanders’ access to mental health support and empower all Kiwis to proactively maintain their wellbeing.

Clearhead supports people in gaining self-awareness and vital insights surrounding their mental health by providing personalised recommendations through its artificial intelligence chatbot.

However, up to 30 per cent of users who visit the website and app go there looking for help on how to support their loved ones, instead of themselves.

That’s why, the intuitive chatbot support tool which has been built by New Zealand doctors, will also provide a service for Kiwis looking for guidance on how to support their family and friends who are having a tough time, Clearhead co-founder and CEO Dr Angela Lim says.

Dr Lim – who went to school at Howick College – says for Kiwis struggling with mental health challenges, having the right help from the people closest to you, makes a huge difference for managing your mental illness.

“We all want to help the people we love, we often just don’t know how to do that, so from today Clearhead can be the one stop shop for New Zealanders to get the information and guidance they need to feel empowered and ready to help when a loved one is struggling.

“People who are struggling will be able to nominate a loved one to support them and together they can complete a suicide safety plan which reduces the burden of problem-solving when a crisis is looming and the ability to think clearly is impaired.

“These plans are a reminder of cherished memories, simple pleasures that give comfort, and people who care and can be counted on to respond when needed,” says Dr Lim.

She says the team has worked hard to launch this new Clearhead support person platform as quickly as possible at a time when Kiwis are seeking out more support than normal due to the effects of Covid-19.

“Since Covid-19 took hold in New Zealand in March, Clearhead has seen a six fold increase in usage,” Dr Lim says.

“2020 has been a tough year for everyone, and when you add in the traditional festive season stresses, we’re expecting December and January to be a particularly busy period for Clearhead, so we’re thrilled we could get this new service up and running in time.”

“We couldn’t have done that without the support of TSB who provided us with a $30,000 TSB Good Stuff grant in September which meant we had the funds to get this live far sooner than would have been possible otherwise.

“Clearhead is a social enterprise with a social mission to help as many people in New Zealand as possible to get the mental health support they need.”