Bezyl is a mental-wellness app fighting mental health stigma

ByDana Langer & Amit Lerner Localish logo
Monday, November 13, 2023
Bezyl is a mental-wellness app fighting mental health stigma
This app is fighting the stigma around mental health and making it easier than ever to give and receive help. Sponsored by Hiscox Business Insurance.

PHOENIX -- Three years ago, Esther Howard lost one of her closest friends, Lori Atkins Zettler, to cancer. Shortly before Atkins Zettler passed, she confided in Howard that while everyone saw her only as a cancer patient, she was actually struggling more with her mental health.

"That conversation changed my life," Howard says.

Taking inspiration from her conversation with Atkins Zettler and her own experience living with childhood trauma, Esther began to conceptualize an app that would support people going through similarly hard times. Soon thereafter, Bezyl was born.

"There are so many things that we as people can do to help each other better and a lot of times we just don't know what those things are," Howard says.

Bezyl's goal is to streamline the process of asking for help and to minimize uncertainty about what kind of support people need. By making the act of asking for help less daunting, Howard believes more and more people will feel empowered to seek support when they need it.

A main feature of the app called 'Spheres of Support' allows users to create support groups within which they can select the kind of help they need from a drop-down menu. Some options include assistance with childcare, being given a ride or even just wanting to chat with someone.

"When someone responds and lets you know that they'll help you, everyone else in your sphere knows that you have the help you need," Howard explains.

Additional features include a mood tracker to help users privately track their progress over time as well as a 'Buddy Check' tool that reminds users regularly to check in on their friends.

Throughout the process of launching Bezyl, Howard has remained close with Atkins Zettler's husband Will Zettler, who gave Howard his blessing to create Bezyl in his late wife's honor.

"One of the things that Lori struggled with was, 'What is my impact? and 'What is my legacy? and the fact that Esther is doing this is, I think its really trailblazing and it's something that's really needed and its something that can make a huge difference in so many lives. I'm really, really thankful," Zettler says.

Howard credits Hiscox Business Insurance with allowing her to focus her time and energy on the most important part of her job - helping people.

"It's the last thing that I need to worry about," Howard says of business insurance, "and having a company to work with that just takes that away from me and makes my life easier, just like we're trying to do with Bezyl to help other people make their lives easier, is a huge relief."

"I've loved the experience so much," she adds, "that I've now recommended Hiscox Business Insurance to all my friends and colleagues that are also starting businesses."

While Bezyl is intended to be used by anyone, moving forward, Howard hopes to continue to roll out versions of the app tailored to different communities and experiences.

Originally hailing from an indigenous family in northern Canada, Howard recently collaborated with the Northwest Territories government to provide a version of the app to members of her own community.

The Bezyl team is also currently working on a version of the app that will better serve military veterans suffering from PTSD or depression.

You can learn more about the Bezyl app on their website.

Sponsored by Hiscox Business Insurance.