Last week I attended our first Women in Health Tech Supper Club event, with my colleague Celine. The focus of the evening was mental health, which included an interesting presentation by Dr Nihara Krause around the strides her apps are making in reaching out to young people in need of mental health support.
Along with giving me the opportunity to connect with some truly fantastic women, over the past week, the supper made me reflect on one key thing in particular: the importance of empathy.
Nihara spoke about how her experience with working for hundreds of schools, speaking to parents, children and teachers about mental health led her to found stem4 and develop Calm Harm amongst many other award-winning apps. This made me reflect on our journey at Patchwork.
There is one word that differentiates sympathy and empathy: experience. If you have experienced something first-hand, you can empathise, you understand the problems, you have walked in those shoes. Whereas if you haven’t experienced it yourself, you can at best, only sympathise.
At Patchwork, empathy is one of our main company values. While that is mainly around how we interact with each other and those we partner with, I really do think it stems deeper than that. It comes from the origins of Patchwork; of doctors being frustrated with the current system, the lack of flexibility and extensive administrative burden. The very design of our app and Employer Hub is built from empathy: wanting to give both the healthcare workers and managers an easier way of working.
That further resonates with who we hire at Patchwork. We hire those who can empathise with the problem we’re aiming to solve. Along with our founders who themselves are doctors, the very first employee of Patchwork, Hank, was a Project Manager and ED volunteer at Chelsea and Westminster, our brilliant coder within our Product team, Omolola, was previously a mid-wife, and our recent recruit Ana, has come all the way from Australia where she was a nurse. Every single person within the team has a passion for healthcare, which allows us to always consider our technology, always with that lens.
Beyond being an extremely thought-provoking supper, the evening was so uplifting and it was really encouraging to see such diverse, talented, driven women in health tech. Excited to attend the next one!
For those interested in joining the network, please do reach out to Brigitte and Jasmine. For those wanting to know more about supporting young people with mental health needs, I strongly recommend exploring Nihara’s apps: Calm Harm, Clear Fear and Combined Minds.