thoughtfull joan low

Photo: Athira Annissa

In five words, describe what you do at ThoughtFull to someone you’re meeting for the first time.

Seamless end-to-end digital mental wellness. 

How do you see technology playing a transformative role in the field of mental health, and what specific opportunities do you believe it presents for ThoughtFull? 

Traditionally, the onus falls on you to navigate the mental health system to access resources. Who do you see — a coach, a counselor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist? When do you need to see them? How do I know if this mental health professional is not only legitimate but also right for me? How do I know if I’m improving? Am I looking to elevate my productivity or to work through a deep issue? 

This is where our mobile app, ThoughtFullChat, empowers individuals to seamlessly access personalised end-to-end mental health resources at their own pace and on their own terms. We remove the guesswork and make it easy to engage with your mental health.

From self-serve lessons and improvement trackers to our signature one-on-one daily bite-sized coaching with your personal mental health professional via text, audio, or video — our proprietary algorithms will ensure you work with your best-fit professional.

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Photo: Thoughtfull

What unique challenges and considerations arise when developing a mental health app for a diverse and multicultural market like Singapore, and how does your startup address them?

Everyone’s mental well-being journey is unique. Hence, the one-size-fits-all approach can sometimes feel like we’re trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Cultural nuances, personal contexts, or even preferred mother tongues all play an important role in what works (or not) for us.

ThoughtFull approaches mental health with a global lens and hyperlocal execution. This is why ThoughtFullChat personalises your care pathway to your needs at that moment in time. The app is available in 10 languages across Asia, and our mental health professionals are fluent in up to 21 languages and dialects, making sure that we can cater to the local nuances.

In what ways does ThoughtFull collaborate with healthcare professionals, such as psychologists or therapists, to ensure the app’s content and features align with best practices in the mental health field?

As a pioneer in the digital mental health realm, we have had to work closely with mental health parties in various countries to set the standards across the region for what constitutes good digital mental healthcare delivery. The seamless end-to-end experience that you have on ThoughtFullChat is a result of years of working with leading local and global experts in the fields of mental healthcare, research, technology, and operations.

The app is designed and developed to deliver evidence-based practices seamlessly to meet our users where they are at that moment in time.

thoughtfull joan low
Joan Low. (Photo: Athira Annissa)

What strategies has ThoughtFull implemented to bridge the gap between traditional mental health services and the digital platform, and how do you ensure a seamless and effective user experience?

Mental health services today are fragmented, both digitally or otherwise. Globally, care pathways largely differ depending on whether you seek mental health resources in the private or public sector. A big focus for ThoughtFull is to bring seamlessness and continuity to individuals looking to engage in their mental wellbeing.

Whether you are looking to up the ante on your daily productivity or to better manage your anxiety, ThoughtFull’s end-to-end service is made accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere across different languages.

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When you look at the state of the world today, what is the one thing that gives you hope?

The one thing that truly gives me hope is the evolving conversation and attitudes towards mental health, particularly in Asia.

In the past, mental health was a subject often shrouded in stigma and misunderstanding. Many were hesitant to seek help due to fear of social repercussions or simply because they were unaware of the resources available to them. I was a mental health caregiver for more than 20 years, and it was very frustrating to experience first-hand these gaps in Asia’s mental healthcare ecosystem.

thoughtfull joan low
Photo: Unsplash, Mimi Thian

However, we are now witnessing a significant shift in this narrative. There is an increasing recognition of mental health as an integral part of our overall well-being, something just as important as our physical health.

More and more people are understanding the interconnectedness of mental health with various aspects of life, including chronic diseases, work productivity, and interpersonal relationships. This growing awareness is leading to a change in behavior, with more people seeking help and engaging in proactive measures to maintain their mental health.

Conversations around mental health are becoming more commonplace, and people are becoming more comfortable discussing their struggles and seeking support. This change in societal attitudes is incredibly important, as it not only encourages those who are struggling to seek help but also fosters a more supportive and understanding environment.

A big part of my mission is to create a world where mental health is as aspirational as physical health, and I am hopeful that we are moving closer to that reality each day.