Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Photo by Megan Koch

DriveThru: Mental health education for everyone

By Samantha Amundarain, November 2 2021—

As we all know, school inevitably comes with its stresses and burdens. Consequently, many students’ mental health takes a hit. Mental health is essential for good performance in school, maintaining good relationships with friends and family and overall, a higher quality of life. 

While the University of Calgary has many resources available to students, the spotlight is on the DiveThru app and website. Founded by Sophie Gray in 2018,  DiveThru is a “mental hub” of resources such as articles, journaling prompts and free courses. 

The Gauntlet sat down with Gray to learn more about DiveThru. 

Gray is no stranger to influencing and social media. Between 2013-2016, she managed a fitness account, motivating people to work out and eat well. 

“I reached an audience of over 500,000 people on Instagram and sold over 250,000 workout programs,” said Gray.

Despite the lifestyle she was promoting which promised followers’ self-contentment, Gray was suffering. She received direct messages from her followers referring to themselves as “lazy, or useless, or disgusting.” Generally, she said she was very unhappy and unwell both physically and emotionally.

The breaking point came on a flight home from work when Gray had a panic attack. The next thing she knew, she was on a brutal 38-hour drive home, peppered with more panic attacks. 

Gray decided to step away from her business and instead prioritize her mental health. Through that period of time, she noticed that the resources available to her were suggested things like thinking positively or repeating the old saying, “If I can do it, so can you.” 

On the other hand, there were academically heavy papers full of jargon and convoluted explanations.

“I saw that there was this need for a resource that simplified mental health education and gave really easy-to-use tools, but was led by mental health professionals,” said Gray.

And so, DiveThru was born. With its mission of helping “people take charge of their mental health,” mental health professionals worked with Gray to develop interactive courses, journaling exercises, breathing exercises, mindfulness exercises and much more. Through accessible language and explanations, DiveThru makes mental health education quicker. 

“We should’ve learned this in school but we didn’t,” said Gray when asked about why she made this app. 

DiveThru’s mental health professionals like psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and others, combined their experiences with feedback from users to develop tools that can be used as little or as much as each individual feels is right. 

The app gives users full control of how much time is spent on their individual self-care and how to approach it. Whether it’s writing in a journal, meditation or mindfulness exercises, or reading researched articles, DiveThru has many resources for different needs. It covers topics like emotional well-being, student life, relationships and LGBTQIA+ resources.

Since its debut in 2018, Gray has seen DiveThru, and herself, grow. Especially through the pandemic, DiveThru has attracted more users to the app. Before the pandemic, DiveThru was mainly used as a journaling app. Since then, it has become a “mental wellness hub” with all sorts of educational resources, exercises and even courses. By expanding into much more than a journaling app, Gray feels that the team has been able to impact more people. 

“We’re really looking to bring in that diversity into our content. It has helped us reach more people and impact more people.” 

As far as the entrepreneur herself, Gray has learned more about mental health in hand with leadership. With a team of about 20 people, Gray has taken it on as “a beautiful challenge” that has helped her grow as an entrepreneur, and generally as a person. 

“I was just working with myself. Now working with other people, I’m able to be more aware of how my mental health shows up in the interactions I have?” 

Gray strives to lead by example and puts her mental health as her top priority.“Everyone has mental health. It’s important to be proactive about your mental health and do something each day for it,” said Gray.

By promoting education on mental wellness and actions to help, DiveThru has become a powerful resource that allows individuals to take their mental health into their own hands. 

Check out DiveThru on their website or free app.


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