3 min read

Laying the foundations of Oqea

Laying the foundations of Oqea
leading product planning

Copied from https://www.oqea.com/blog/anton-pearce-the-man-behind-the-app
Anton Pearce: The Creative Brain Behind The App Jan 12, 2020

I’ve been a registered mental health nurse for 20 years now. And developing web-based applications of one kind or another for at least as long.

My engineer grandfather taught me a little programming when I was about 12 and started my fascination with computers. Having grown up with the first PCs (no web then), followed by the massive & exciting disruption brought on by the web, social media, and a smart phone in every pocket - the evolution over the past 30 years is incredible.

Most of the rest of my family worked in healthcare. Between hospital ward rounds with my Dad and antenatal classes run by Mum, healthcare was top of my list of career choices.

Technology is essential for the future of healthcare and offers genuine opportunities for enriching lives at scale. I believe one of the greatest opportunities for positive change through technology is mental health.

Everyone has been touched in some way by mental ill-health - either themselves or through the experience of people they care about.

As a mental health nurse, I developed and facilitated a group program for families of people with anxiety and depressive disorders. I saw and heard the frustration and desperation of those supporters who cared but were out of the loop.

When I lost my own sister to suicide it really brought home just how devastating the experience is. And how helpless you feel to be a family member watching the life of someone you love fall apart.

Ironically, on the day my sister took her life I was building an app to help people connect to support in a crisis. Whether it could have helped on that day I’ll never know. But I do know that crisis support is just the most visible part of a journey going wrong.
And there were others: A girlfriend who died by suicide, a friend who died of a drug overdose and an auntie who died from alcohol abuse.
I wish things could have been different for these people. But others are still going with their difficult journey: Like a family member dealing with complex chronic pain issues made so much harder by trying to navigate a complex and disconnected system.

In every case the journey could have benefited from a better system of support. One with less uncertainty and more clarity of the path forward.

We all need connection - to people, meaning, acceptance and most importantly, hope. When we feel disconnected from these things we start to fade away. At Oqea we talk about building a place for connected wellbeing - because without connection there can't be wellbeing.

Access to timely professional support - and maximising the impact of that support - is part of the solution, but not the full picture. For some it’s inaccessible, for others not what they want and for many it’s just not enough.

The answer lies in joining the dots & bridging the gap between self-management, support of family & friends and connecting to others facing similar challenges. Nothing is more validating than connecting to ‘people like me’ and finding out your problems are not so unusual.

Oqea understands that improving mental wellbeing is not about quick fixes or piecemeal solutions, but about partnering on a journey that can span a lifetime. This is what Oqea can be. A community, a journey companion, and a safe place for moving toward wellbeing.

Oqea has a great team dedicated to creating a platform which can help people make the most of the support available to them. And for me, finding ways to positively apply technology to the complex problems of mental health is an inspiring & meaningful challenge.