The lightbulb moment that led to mental health app KeepAppy

8 Jan 2021520 Views

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At the BT Nextipedia event, KeepAppy co-founder Aimée-Louise Carton spoke about the creation of what she calls ‘your mental health gym’.

Aimée-Louise Carton can remember feeling like something was wrong since she was eight years old. She felt like she was alone in the world.

“I’m here to tell you that story about how that feeling of being unlovable, of being worthless, brought me to my darkest day.”

Carton was speaking this week at the BT Nexipedia symposium, in conjunction with the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, which featured a number of inspirational speakers who have overcome extraordinary challenges.

Carton, who is the co-founder of wellness app KeepAppy, spoke about her own struggles with mental health, what helped her through it and how it gave her the “lightbulb moment” that led her to create this app.

“When we talk about mental health, we regularly describe it or compare it to the experience of being in an ocean,” she said. “What happens when you start to drown? I started to drown from the age of 16 onwards.”

Carton explained how she attempted suicide at the age of 23. “I had tried so many things, I had tried therapy, I had tried meditation, and nothing had worked. I was reaching the point where I was letting go.”

She then called a helpline and when the person on the other end asked her about her dog, she said something clicked inside her. “Nothing was clear in that moment other than my need to protect my dog,” she said.

“The next day I got help. I was very lucky. As I began to recover I learned so many things, I learned different proactive techniques to look after myself.”

‘Lightbulb moment’

Carton said she began to learn what techniques suited her and what didn’t, but with each new tool she learned, she felt angry that society had failed her.

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“We talk about physical health and the proactive measures we can take,” she said. “There’s so many things we can do to look after ourselves and yet no one taught me those for my mental health.”

Carton said she started telling her story and other people became interested in creating a change with her. “And that’s the lightbulb moment.”

KeepAppy is a mental wellness application that is designed to empower users to take control of their mental and physical wellbeing, by tracking all of the vitals that impact their state of mind, through increasing self-awareness and engaging in positive behaviour practices.

“I describe KeepAppy as your mental health gym because that’s exactly what it is. It has proactive tools to help you engage with your wellbeing,” Carton said.

The platform has a variety of tools such as journaling, goal setting and mindfulness, and the app is now available in 137 countries. In September 2019, KeepAppy represented Ireland in the Enactus World Cup.

Carton said the team has also started working with corporates all over Europe and will soon be looking to corporates in the US.

Before leaving the stage, Carton spoke about the importance of creating change. “What if we could create gyms all over the city for our wellbeing and not just our physical wellbeing?” she asked.

“Just because we may feel the darkness and dark times, it doesn’t mean that change can’t be created.”

If you have been affected by issues raised in this article, you can find help and support from Samaritans.ie or search for a local resource on Befrienders.org.

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com