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Small Talk

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"The Social Ventures Zone has had both profound personal and professional impacts on me. I’ve met wonderful people who are driven to better society in their own way and had the fortune to share my thoughts on Canada’s mental health status, how digital can help address systemic change, and SmallTalk with those interested."

Harry Dearden, Founder

Founder: Harry Dearden

An online platform to help people achieve their counselling goals

According to a Statistic Canada survey on community health care, an estimated one in six Canadians over the age of 15 report a need for counselling treatment or therapy. That translates to approximately 600,000 Canadians whose need for counselling is completely unmet and an additional 1,000,000 whose need for counselling is only partially met. It is an issue that has directly affected Harry, with the loss of his mother to suicide and his own diagnosis of bipolar II disorder. Motivated to help others and taking what he learned as a graduate of Ryerson’s Master of Digital Media program, Harry developed SmallTalk.

SmallTalk is an add-on app that builds upon the traditional face-to-face interaction a patient has with their therapist or counsellor. SmallTalk allows a patient to send text or multimedia entries between entries so their therapist may review for the next sessions. This is done through the patient utilizing their smartphone or tablet’s built-in camera, microphone, and text. Each entry is time-stamped and labelled. Entries cannot be edited, so the entries stay genuine.

SmallTalk utilizes digital technology in a way that enables people to keep up with their counselling therapy and build upon the time between sessions. For Harry, if even just one person is empowered to sustain their treatment or therapy, then SmallTalk has succeeded.