Alyssa Petersel is CEO and founder of My Wellbeing, something she’s built from the ground up since graduating from NYU in 2017 with a Master’s in Social Work. My Wellbeing is an online service that connects individuals with therapists in the New York City area.
Intrigued by the start of Petersel’s journey with My Wellbeing, I met her at one of her favorite coffee shops in Brooklyn Heights. Afterwards, she showed me WeWork, a collaborative workspace she spends most of her time at, and her favorite park, Cadman Plaza. It was inspiring to see where Petersel has spent time brainstorming and creating her business.
When reminiscing, Petersel emphasized that her motivation in creating My Wellbeing originated from her own experiences in struggling to find help.
“I really prioritized finding my own therapist and for about two years had a really difficult time doing so,” Petersel said. “It was a lot of sifting through relatively overwhelming directories, calling people not necessarily receiving calls back, or going to in-persons and not necessarily feeling like there was a great match.”
Petersel knew she wasn’t the only one who faced these challenges.
“I think there’s a tremendous amount of people who are feeling a little bit off or feeling not entirely themselves, or dealing with a tremendous amount of stress but don’t necessarily know where to go,” Petersel said.
After realizing that there was a real need for a service like My Wellbeing, Petersel’s idea started to blossom. As she began to explore the purposes and goals of My Wellbeing, she came to the realization that it would be beneficial not only for the public, but also for the therapists.
“The more I trained in social work and cross-checked with other therapists and clinicians, the more I started to realize it [My Wellbeing] was also needed on the therapist side,” Petersel said. “It felt really natural to go and try to bridge the two communities.”
Her business focuses on bridging this gap through interactive media that helps users understand the different resources available to them.
“We prioritize creating content and writing videos to help people better understand what resources are available, and that there doesn’t have to be so much shame around it, that it can actually be pretty normal,” Petersel said.
Her venture may help people seek advice, but Petersel also has her own advice for balancing mental health and well-being.
“Be proactive not reactive,” Petersel said. “A lot of times, people wait until they’re already extremely stressed out to manage sort of a well that’s been dug and they’re trying to get out of it. But if you can proactively schedule things like exercise, cooking or going to therapy then it’s just in your routine and you maintain more of a status quo and more balance throughout.”
She asserts that the journey to well-being looks a bit different for everyone, and we should stay in tune to our individual needs, especially as students. And for aspiring female entrepreneurs like herself, Petersel spoke about the importance of remaining confident.
“Become as familiar with yourself as possible and have the courage and confidence to stick by your strengths and your values because they’re there, even if they’re different than the stereotypes of what male leadership asks for,” Petersel said. “With leadership and with taking risks come a lot of highs and a lot of lows, so build the support systems around you whether it’s friends and family or someone like a counselor or therapist to be that accountability partner to say when things get a little challenging, to remind you how great you are.”
Alyssa Petersel remains open and humble much like My Wellbeing, and Petersel continues to advocate for mental health and well-being as a social norm. She is incredibly friendly and wise in a way that if you were to meet her, you would be instantly drawn to her.
Finally, she told me about her cool mantra of balance and patience: Rome doesn’t have to be built in a day.
“I think [as] a human and a society we’re pretty used to relatively quick gratification and affirmation,” she said. “Things can sometimes take time and it’s a lot more important to take the authentic small steps to do things that align with your values and philosophy, and to build slowly off a really stable foundation than to take leaps just for the sake of that gratification and affirmation.”
Email Tianne Johnson at [email protected].