While sudden disruption spurred opportunities and frustrations for all ages, parents have experienced the ripple effects of isolation, distance and closures through the lens of a new generation.

As business and education cultures continue to shift, solutions for children that are manageable for parents grow even greater in importance.

This past year, research conducted by Children’s Mental Health Ontario indicated that for over 60% of youth, feelings of worry, sadness and anger have become overwhelming — and are causing uncertainty about their futures.

Lena Schreyer, Founder & Director, Beecuz For those whose emotions may be bigger than their tools, and whose access to resources is determined by circumstances out of their control, Lena Schreyer’s approach to mental health turns the spotlight to parents and guardians, and begins with one critical question, “Would you rather have a lifejacket or a lifesaver?” “When we think about mental health and systems surrounding wellness, we’re faced with lots of programs that take a reactive approach,” said Schreyer, Founder & Director of Beecuz, an online platform designed to help parents seamlessly integrate mental wellness education and tools with proactivity and positivity at the front.

Leveraging her neuroscience education from Western University, Schreyer’s entrepreneurship journey is bolstered by an understanding of the immense value that early intervention programming can produce.

Her venture’s online platform, “The Hive”, aims to create a safe space for parents and children to explore approachable mental wellness activities grounded in positive psychology. By favouring to focus on education as a wellness tool, Beecuz equips kids with an arsenal of skills from emotional intelligence, grit & tenacity, mindfulness, and community-building to combat stigma and lay a foundation for others. With over 40 lesson plans containing fun, fast and engaging activities, Schreyer is determined to get ahead of a mass-youth mental health decline by enabling them to work through big feelings in safe spaces.

Schreyer’s approach through technology offers these solutions wherever and whenever they are needed most, and early intervention is key. “Too often, we’re waiting for children to end up in crisis situations. Why, when we can give them tools to create sustainable change that enhances health and supports parents?”

Awarded as one of the Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge recipients, Beecuz earned recognition as an innovative solution with the potential to mobilize societal and economic prosperity in Southwestern Ontario. As many ventures did in 2020, the startup adapted to new needs with the announcement of school closures. What started as an offering solely made for educators to deliver to students, soon shifted into a means of bringing education home to parents, empowering families to build healthy practices together.

The new business model allows for households to take advantage of the programs at a pace that works for their families. Recognizing that working parents need the right resources more than ever, Beecuz has made their programs available for business leaders to purchase on behalf of multiple users and empower those who may be struggling to juggle the increasing and ever-changing challenges of a newly-merged work and home life.

Schreyer believes mental wellness education is for everyone, and that through accessible programs, families can move north of neutral.

Beecuz is currently offering demonstrations of their program, The Hive, to interested employers and families. To learn more about this proactive positive mental wellness program, visit beecuz.org/program.

“The time for this kind of program is now. We need to act on this urgency, or families, employers and communities may be paying the price,” Schreyer said.