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Entrepreneur to launch mental health-inspired app dubbed 'a project of passion'

Jackson Howell, 33, of Fletton Quays, Peterborough, has been running his own business Riselabs since 2016 – and now he's preparing to take on his next venture with the OK Button app.
OKBUTTON
Entrepreneur to launch mental health-inspired app dubbed 'a project of passion'

On a day-to-day basis, Jackson creates apps and builds software for people and businesses, making him perfectly equipped to launch his own application – and he's decided now is the time to take the plunge, with a little help. 

Jackson has launched a fundraiser with a target of £5,000 to give his app the boost it needs to take the project, which he's been working on since 2019, to the next level.

He said: "This isn't a venture that will make us millions overnight, this is a project of passion. 

"Mental health is something I'm really interested in, I've dealt with a lot in my life to quite extreme levels and I wanted to use my skills to do something productive and help other people.

"A couple of years ago in 2018, I went through a divorce and I wasn't in a good place, so much changed with work, life and a lot was going on in my world.

"Before that, I was already struggling a lot with mental health and stress. Me and my mum are quite close but she lives far away and at the time she worried about me a lot – unfortunately my uncle, who had a lot going for him, struggled with mental health and when I was around 15 he committed suicide, so my mum always wanted to make sure I was okay. 

"My mum would check in on me to see if I was okay, and I think that was mostly so she could check that I was still here. But I'd always reply saying yeah I'm fine and then I'd get asked lots of questions or get a phone call and at the time I was getting the help I needed and I didn't really want to talk about it or have an in-depth conversation.

"So I thought this would be a way for us to check in on each other without texting each other, so just a button you could press just to say I'm okay, I'm still here. The more I talked about this idea the more I heard similar stories of people who agreed. All of these bits and pieces all merged into the idea of this app."

Speaking on the idea of building the app, Jackson said: "Last year I commissioned a friend of mine, Caz, as a graphic designer to create the brand logo and I wanted to take it off as a project, so I started work on the website, putting the content together, and got everything else ready, but it sat on a hiatus after I took on another big project. 

"Because of work, it got more difficult to make the time for this, I could only spare a certain amount of money to it so I had to be careful. Starting a new project in 2020 wasn't exactly easy, but I had a crack at it."

Jackson looked into various ways of funding the project, including funding or grants, but has most recently launched a JustGiving campaign with a target of £5,000. 

Within a week, he hit £500, but it has now stalled and he wants to expand it to others who are passionate about the project. 

If you want to help Jackson on his next venture, click here.