By all accounts, Melissa Ng is a success. By her mid-20s, she had founded Melewi, a successful product and digital design studio working with clients such as McDonald’s, Visa and Samsung. The twist? She and everyone on her team were digital nomads, scattered across the globe and working on a fully remote basis.
Foreseeing the potential in remote working before it was even a thing, Ng got her name in publications worldwide, including the front page of The Straits Times, and was invited to speak at international conferences. But she was not able to enjoy the fruits of her labour.
“I’d laugh awkwardly when people told me I was brave or successful, dodging compliments while feeling like a barely held together wreck. No amount of adventures or wins ever distracted me long enough from the struggles in my head. The anxiety attacks were getting worse, year by year,” she shares.
That led her to her next venture, Bravely, an app that goes beyond guided meditation and motivational quotes to bring its users science-based methods for managing mental health. “The idea of building something to help people with their mental health was one that I couldn’t shake. I needed it, and I know I wasn’t alone,” she says.
“Access to common forms of help are so inaccessible and unapproachable. In this day and age, technology should be bridging some of these gaps. If we have countless apps for photo filters and cryptocurrencies, how are there so few mental health apps that truly help? This needs to change and I hope to make it happen.”
At the time of writing, Bravely was still in its beta phase, having suffered a delay due to the biggest test of Ng’s life: leukemia. But she wasn’t about to give up. “We started Bravely in 2019. Just two months in, I was diagnosed. One of my first thoughts was, ‘what about Bravely?’ I was so excited about the vision. Even with my life on the line, I couldn’t let it go.”
Today, having survived the ordeal of cancer, it seems like nothing can stop Ng. “I’m back and fully focused on bringing Bravely to life.”