January 14, 2021

Social Media & Mental Health: A Conversation with Alyssa Petersel of MyWellbeing

Christina Sirabella

The conversation about social media and mental health is one that has been gaining traction for years now. From comparison anxiety to news overload to sheer amounts of screen time, there are so many levels on which social media and the internet as a whole negatively impact our mental health. In fact, 80 percent of people who took an anxiety screen in September 2020 scored with moderate to severe symptoms. Especially since the pandemic began and quarantine isolated people even more, the discussions around this topic have increased exponentially.

Alyssa Petersel, a recent guest on the All the Social Ladies podcast, is one of the people leading the way in this space. In addition to being a licensed social worker, Alyssa is the founder and CEO of MyWellbeing, a platform that connects people to therapists based on needs, skill set, and style. After she graduated college with a degree in psychology, she crowdfunded a year of research and writing in Hungary through Kickstarter. There, she connected and held in-person interviews with Jewish adults who were mostly grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.

It was after these powerful one-on-one conversations that she realized she wanted to train as a therapist upon her return to the States. So, she earned her MSW and began meeting with clients. Some of these clients weren’t necessarily the picture perfect fit from a skill set perspective, though. After intake sessions, she would often end up referring them to other therapists who were better equipped to deal with their specific issue areas.

She thought to herself, “There has to be a better way.” And this was where My Wellbeing was born. Said Alyssa, “There are a million and a half dating apps, but there aren’t any dating apps for therapy. Why shouldn’t the most vulnerable people—who are susceptible to the most choice fatigue—have the same resources we have to, say, get a personalized recommendation for which Chinese food restaurant to order from?”

Four years later, My Wellbeing is a huge success. Not only is the company helping thousands of people through its matching service, but it is providing support through resource-sharing on its blog and social media channels as well. Alyssa herself even started posting therapy and mental health–themed TikToks. Here are a few of our favorites:

The low financial barrier for accessing sometimes life-changing resources is one of the best things, in Alyssa’s opinion, about social media. And with more movers and shakers in the space, as well as more funding, Alyssa thinks that “we’re approaching a new wave of innovation and creativity, and really viewing this like an important and powerful place to be.”

So, what does the future of social media look like as it relates to mental health? We don’t know for sure—but we do know Alyssa will be a part of it.


Listen to the full interview (and all of the other episodes of All the Social Ladies): Apple Podcasts | Anchor | Stitcher | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Tags: Leadership, Mental Health, Social Media, TikTok

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