As part of our Focus on Women in Tech series, we have been speaking to Elisabetta from Healingclouds. Read all about her experience and the company she works for below!
Hi, I am Elisabetta, and I’m head of partnerships at Healingclouds. We are a London-based health tech company, but we cater internationally. We were born as a platform to connect therapists with clients for 1:1 online therapy sessions. We started as a video platform to remove the physical and geographical boundaries when it comes to connecting people around the world.
We know that therapy should be a safe space for both the therapists and the client, and that’s why we built our video platform from scratch, without relying on any external platforms.
We not only built the video platform from scratch, but we also added more platforms. We understand that there are still many stigmas, and a lot of people still might not be ready for therapy or might want to ‘go into therapy’.
We still want to help them and get them closer to seeking help when it comes to their mental health and wellbeing.
We then built another therapists’ online courses platform, imagine it as a ‘Netflix for mental health’. It’s a full library of online courses made by our therapists covering different types of issues.
For example, if you are a mum and you just gave birth and suffer post-partum depression, there is a course about that. Or if you are a university student, suffering from a body dysmorphia issue due to Instagram, there is a course about that. We have multiple services that help a person navigate their mental wellbeing.
Guided meditation and live events
We also pair our courses with guided meditation, which is our third pillar, so what we give our clients is very comprehensive. We are also adding another layer which is daily live events. It’s more like a Q&A with a therapist, where there is a topic, and you can ask questions anonymously, and the therapist will be there to answer for you.
We’re developing the platform to become 360 degrees solution when it comes to mental health. There’s no ‘one size fits all’, there is a huge spectrum when it comes to mental health. We want to offer any type of service and then it’s up to you to choose which one, or if you want to use them all.
Our tech-based services allowed us to connect people and help them from any part of the world.
Our therapists speak over 11 different languages allowing cultural understanding and comfortability to our clients. For example, for a therapy session, I’m originally Italian and now live in London. I might prefer to have an Italian speaking therapist, because of the language, or the cultural background.
In terms of the industry, the health tech industry started to see a boom around 2016, with apps connecting you to your GP. It was in 2017 when our CEO started checking the market, and he didn’t see anything that was connecting you with a therapist, then in 2018, Healingclouds was launched.
Has it got busier for you since last March?
Of course, there are lots of competitors coming up, everyone is talking about mental health. On a positive side, more companies are out there, and they all have a good mission of helping people. As long as you have a mission, as long as you’re helping people, then everybody’s welcome!
In terms of partnerships, we are both a B2B and B2C company. On the B2C side, we are very present on social media, you can find us anywhere!
In terms of B2B, I’m responsible for leading the B2B partnerships, and we are proudly offering our services to Tesco, Gympass, Classpass, Crowdcube, HSBC and many more.
Our primary focus is employee wellbeing; I think it’s incredible that more employers are aware of their employees’ mental wellbeing. As most people and companies are working from home now, our global solution and services are the right fit.
Since the pandemic, do you think the stigma around mental health will change as a result?
Absolutely. I think the market is completely different now, there’s much more awareness, you don’t have to explain what mental health is, or why you need to look after yours, or your employee’s mental health.
The pandemic is not just going to have just a 6-month effect. It’s going to last in terms of psychological effects, it’s going to last for the next 10 years. We need to be very honest, there are going to be so many people suffering from PTSD. We need to act and prepare for everything and give these resources to people worldwide. Everybody needs help or at least self-help resources at the end of the day, so how can we make this happen? This is where our multiple choices of help come in play.
Choices of help available
It’s very different for each individual, it depends on your cultural background, how you have been raised, your family’s mindset, everything. Some markets are entirely open to therapy because their perspective is different. Other markets might be less open, so it’s about how can we help these people educate, raise awareness and finally make it normal to go to a therapist.
Healingclouds’ own platform
We don’t just provide mental health services, we provide a non-judgemental platform and security. Apart from video consultations, you can text your therapist’ it’s a fully comprehensive platform.
When we come across any challenges, we aim for the solution. That’s how we integrated our product. We understood that some people didn’t want 1:1 Therapy so created our therapist-led courses as a self-help resource. Challenges are a way to grow a product, we see them from a perspective of potential.
We have therapists from all over the world. They all go through a very strict vetting process. They need to be registered and accredited with their respective boards. They need to provide certification, plus they must have a certain number of years practice. They go through a full interview with us before getting hired.
It’s our mission to just help as many people as possible. As long as we help people, as long as we are out there, doing something good for people, we are happy.
What advice would you give to women wanting to work within the health tech industry?
I have worked in other tech industries before, but health tech is very different. I started working in tech 8 years ago, and it was a very different environment. I felt as a woman who speaks other languages that it doubled the stigma towards me. It was very difficult at the beginning. You need to put your foot down. In certain situations, you have discrimination from women, not just men. So yeah, advice number 1 we’ve got to should support each other!
With health tech, it’s not about just pure technology, it’s a completely different game, anything dealing with health means also dealing with emotion which women are very good at, honestly.
So, when you compare the two, I think it’s a very good industry for women to work in. I feel comfortable, I never felt any discrimination or any bias. I would suggest it to anybody!
What advice would you have given yourself, at the start of your career?
Be more vocal. I feel like so many women underestimate themselves. What women need is to speak up about their worth and what they deserve.
Nothing is impossible if you really put your mind to it. I started with a law degree, then went into fashion, then into tech. I learned things by doing them. You learn by doing. It is always possible to change your career, you also need to try things to find out what you like, and what you don’t like. I’m where I am now, doing this job that I love because I went through so many other things I did and didn’t like. You narrow your path towards what you really like and what you want to do in life. It’s not just a job, this is something you need to enjoy. Don’t just be happy ‘wherever’, have high goals, be ambitious!
I think there’s a lot of fear about changing (jobs). It’s not easy, it’s tough, but then it really pays you, it’s life lessons. I would suggest to anyone to be fearless and try new things, or you will always regret not doing it.
Do you want to be featured in our series of interviews? Contact Harriet at [email protected]