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TalkLife builds global peer support communities that offer safe and engaging places for people to get mental health support anytime and anywhere. We had the opportunity to chat with Jennifer Russell, COO of TalkLife to learn more about how they are operating as a force for good.
The purpose of the Tech For Good series of interviews is to create a platform that showcases and champions companies, products and technologists who are using technology as a force for positive change in the world.
Jennifer: I’m Jennifer Russell, COO of TalkLife. We build online peer support communities for people around the world to get ongoing support for their mental health – or as we say, the ups and downs of life. What’s unique about us is that we’re the only global mental health community that combines the clinical with world-first machine learning technology and a big focus on the end-user experience. It means that people not only get a positive impact from using our products but also enjoy them! Mental health doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Being honest about how we’re really feeling and getting the support we need is a positive thing! It takes us one step closer to breaking down the stigma and barriers that still exist around mental health.
Jennifer: We created TalkLife because we’d experienced first-hand how hard it is to get support. We could see that places to safely talk about how you’re really feeling without fear of judgment or repercussion were few and far between. We wanted to change that. Our mission is to make sure nobody has to struggle alone. That’s led us to develop not only our TalkLife platform for anyone to use but also our student and employee networks – TalkCampus and TalkLife Workplace.
Jennifer: The “tech for good” sector is a challenging space, and mental health adds an extra layer. Many “impact investors” want the best of both worlds. They want to see you driving forward your mission and doing good but simultaneously generating huge growth. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have amazing people backing us but the road has definitely been bumpy. I think it’s only spurred us on more, though. We’ve never lost focus on why we are doing this. We’re so passionate about the potential for peer support to change lives. We see it first-hand every day in our communities and that’s enough to drive through any barriers!
Jennifer: We hear more and more from people that whilst they have loved their roles, they’re seeking more meaning and opportunities to give back with their work. I think mental health is something that has touched all of us, especially over recent years. We can all resonate with how it feels to be isolated and how important social connection is. That motivates people to want to help. I think it speaks to human nature, really!
Jennifer: I think the key thing I have learned is that we all have the potential to drive change and we all have a role to play. It’s so inspiring to see people across the “tech for good” space putting themselves out there, building businesses, taking risks and making things happen! And the impact is undeniable. In our space, it’s clear that we need to talk about how we are feeling – now more than ever. We need to break down the facades and talk about it all, the shiny and the shit! It’s not always easy but life wasn’t designed to be. Change comes from taking risks, pushing on, and trying things. There’s still much to be done – we’re only just getting started.