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Emma Payne, CEO of Help Texts, has created a subscription service offering personalized text messages for individuals experiencing grief, providing caregiving, or seeking mental health support. The messages are pre-written by humans and draw from input from experts in various fields. Users appreciate the one-way therapeutic support, with more than 83% of subscribers in the UK keeping their subscription for a year and positive ratings from users on the helpfulness of the program. Payne was inspired to create Help Texts after experiencing support and conversations following her friend’s memorial service and her deceased husband’s suicide a decade earlier.

Signing up for Help Texts takes about five minutes and includes personalizing the texts with details such as the loved one’s name, relationship, important dates, and cause of death. Subscribers can also include two contacts who will receive messages encouraging them to reach out to the bereaved. The service costs $99 for 12 months and is used by individual users, employers, government agencies, hospice organizations, and more. Help Texts are available in multiple languages and used by subscribers in 44 countries. While the service doesn’t engage in dialogue, it monitors messages and responds to those in need of assistance.

Help Texts is not a dialogue-based service with AI, but the company uses limited AI for operations and believes it could train therapists to work with grieving individuals effectively. Payne’s focus on creating a scalable and profitable business from the start has led to financial success, with the startup being profitable since the beginning. Customer growth was initially slow but increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as digital healthcare became more prevalent. The company has six employees and is seeking new funding initiatives with a goal to keep people healthy during the vulnerable time of grief.

The startup has expanded its offerings to include texts for those grieving the loss of a pet, healthcare workers experiencing burnout, and guidance for healthcare workers on comforting grieving patients and families. Payne views bereavement care as a crucial aspect of healthcare that is often overlooked, emphasizing the opportunity to make a difference during a vulnerable time in people’s lives. Help Texts has garnered attention during the pandemic, with media coverage highlighting the importance of digital healthcare services like theirs. The business continues to grow, adding new features and services to support individuals experiencing grief or in need of mental health care.

As a serial entrepreneur, Payne has successfully navigated the startup world, raising over $1 million in investments for Help Texts and maintaining profitability from the beginning. She believes that bereavement care is a public health concern with a significant opportunity to positively impact individuals during challenging times. Through personalized text messages and supportive content, Help Texts aims to offer therapeutic support and comfort to those in need, emphasizing the importance of mental health care and grief support in today’s digital age.

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