Avail is a wellbeing, resilience and support assistant. I had a chance to cross paths with one of the co-founders, Daniel Benin who you will also see pop up from time to time on the app.
Being a high performer throughout his life, Daniel co-founded this company with the experience and awareness of how mental health play such an important role with our well being and being at peak performance - where we connected around the topic of burnout that many entrepreneurs experience, and even more prevalent in our modern more digitally transformed workplaces.
My first interaction with Avail is it's pleasant to use, with a friendly interface and use of soft colors and fonts definitely gives me a sense of warmth and trust.
At a deeper glance it offers some pretty useful and not overwhelming features:
- Weekly Check Ups using an evidence based process to provide recommendations
- A Care Center with resources, guides and contact points with professionals you can reach out
- Personal Support Network where you can invite your own peers and friends to reach out to if needed onto the app
Weekly Check Ups
This is a really powerful feature, and I enjoyed the simplicity and speed of it. Within two minutes and a few questions it helps you to spend a moment to acknowledge how you measure yourself in different areas of your life.
My first go at it took me less than 40 seconds and I was almost craving for more!
The challenge here for some is you really have to be honest with yourself, and even I was tempted to shrug off some answers as me being more “okay” than I really was. I just had my traditional Chinese wedding this weekend, and definitely conflicted and exhausted - but I wanted to fool myself by ignoring it especially for my first assessment.
Like any introspection work, it's a situation where you will only cheat yourself if you’re dishonest - now at the same time, not panic and see your world as doom and gloom. It’s definitely a fine balance that I’m sure will adjust itself overtime.
Personally, as a weekly Monday exercise, I review my week, work on gratitude and celebrate my previous week accomplishments. It helps me to set the stage for the week so I keep focused on the trajectory of my medium to long term goals.
What I love about this app is its use of a very powerful and simple concept for those who model high performers and achievers: “It’s the small things done consistently that makes the biggest difference”
In other words, it’s about developing good habits.
This is what this app allows because these quick weekly check ins don’t overwhelm you with big changes, but helps you to be aware of the tiny things that you can adjust that makes a world of a difference on the long term. It’s about developing mental fitness.
I’ve added it to my weekly routine - literally as a setting: On Monday at 10am the app will remind me to do my check in without being a jerk-face.
Once you finish your first assessment you’ll be kindly greeted by some friendly faces of professionals that can assist you with taking action to improve your mental health and wellbeing if needed.
From therapists, social workers, psychologists to even massage therapists, the app has a growing list of local health service providers that can help you. What I enjoy about this app is the recommendations. It’s not just a directory - it is recommended from the relationship with your own self assessment as a baseline.
Did I mention that they also highlight if it might be covered by insurance? I think it’s a thoughtful feature especially since this app is targeted at professionals in the workplace that usually have some form of employee benefits.
For those who like to do-it-yourself, they offer some guides and a resource center where you can learn more about specific mental health topics. Also, tucked away in the bottom are emergency resources in case you need help which was a nice cherry on top.
Personal Support Network
This is by far my personal favourite feature.
Being a mental health service provider myself, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a personal support network. It made me consider in different areas of my mental health that was identified by the app, I would actually have different people to support me in those areas.
For me, I can reach out to colleagues for work related conflicts for a listening ear, and friends and family around personal matters. I’ve short-listed my family, friends and peers that would help me in specific situations - and for me, I wouldn’t have even considered it if it wasn’t for this app.
What would be really cool….
I also had a chance to share some of this feedback with my conversation with Daniel, so it has been something that is considered by the team:
Integration with Wearable Technology
With wearable devices like the Oura Ring that have open APIs to share health data like Heart Rate Variability and Sleep Performance, it can provide some pretty nifty metrics to associate and even deepen the self-awareness and introspection from the weekly check ins.
Especially as a platform targeted at companies, it would be a very real and meaningful supplement with employee engagement tools.
Taking a preventative stance, at first use can recommend mental health first aid all the way to improve the collective mental health and wellbeing of an organization and community.
Added Personal Support Network Intelligence
While probably not intended to be a social networking site or to maximize that viral factor, I found this feature to be very powerful.
Having some very simple rules and agreements between those invitations with auto-notifications might be a very useful feature to enrich and set action the development of trust and social capital that we lack so much in our society today.
We have a tendency to hide behind our screens, and with this app, no different - however, it can create and deepen social connections which are a vital and missing component in many of our lives and move the dial on the loneliness epidemic.
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