Entrepreneurs aim to reduce anxiety built up during pandemic

Covid-19 hasn't been the only catastrophe sweeping the country this year.

Louise Welsby
Louise Welsby

Many have experienced feelings anxiety and stress because of the pandemic, which has led to warnings over rising mental health problems.

But two entrepreneurs from Bridgnorth are hoping they can help.

Verity Hart and Louise Welsby are launching After the Storm – a new social enterprise aiming to help people experiencing distress or anxiety.

It aims to connect people to services and resources that can support them through traumatic and worrying times.

The platform will list charities, public services and private practitioners.

Married mother-of-three Verity, 44, came up with the idea based upon her own difficult life experiences.

Her family has dealt with cancer, bereavement, alcohol addiction and bulimia, and throughout all of these traumatic times she has struggled to know where to turn and what information to trust on the internet.

She is using inheritance from her parent’s recent deaths to fund the new business venture alongside three founding partners, while also working full-time as a business change leader as she gets it off the ground.

Verity said: “After the Storm is a product of my personal life experiences, but lockdown was the catalyst for the urgent need to get it up and running, having seen the vast scale of the impact on people, in so many different aspects of their life.

"I could see the rising alcohol intake, the panic and the confusion and knew that now was the right time to get the site live.

Verity Hart came up with the idea based upon her own difficult life experiences

"We’re heading, if not already there, to a mental health catastrophe that needs to be dealt with, starting right now.

“We’re now living in a world that is out of kilter to say the least, but so many people continue on in isolation when a life changing event happens – they’re unsure of where to turn, what help is credible and whether they can trust the information found on the internet.

"The pandemic has forced us to work harder and faster on this site, but it will be around long after that danger has gone.

“People might not even know that there is support available for what they’re experiencing, but for those who really want to change the circumstances they find themselves in – whether that’s in behaviours, careers or lifestyle – there is now a way to find out and take action.”

In addition to the portfolio of providers, through engaging and informative content, it aims to bring people to the site to share insight and gain the motivation, inspiration and support they need to heal.

Verity added: “Our vision is to become a social enterprise that helps to break down the barriers that exist around asking for, and finding, the correct help when life doesn’t always go according to plan.

"Of course, it’s about bringing the people who need your help to you, but also providing you with a network of like-minded individuals and companies who can provide insight and learning, while supporting your business.”

Verity is joined by three other partners in her new business venture, one of which is a close friend from Bridgnorth that she’s known for six years.

Louise, 43, brings a wealth of marketing and communications expertise to the table.

Part of Louise’s role is to ensure those offering support to those in need register their details with After the Storm.

She said: “We have ambitious plans for After the Storm to become the largest scale resource for those needing help, and for this to happen we need practitioners to register their details on the site.

"It’s free to sign up, and we’ll act as a connector between their business and potential clients.

"We’re reaching out to a really wide mix of support staff from psychologists and hypnotherapists, to relationship counsellors and nutritionists.

“Of course, alongside quantity, we also need to ensure quality. All potential service providers will have to go through a three-point check to ensure credibility."

The website, www.afterthe-storm.co.uk, will launch to the public on Monday.

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