Hey Lemonade App: Theater stars create pep talks on mental health

Theater stars Lucy Durack and Elise McCann were leading busy lives when the pandemic shut down their jobs in 2020.

At the time, Durack was playing Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical and McCann was working for Sarah Jessica Parker’s production company in New York.

“Everything stopped overnight and it was really tricky,” says Durack.

McCann, who was forced to return to Melbourne, met up with Durack for a walk during one of the city’s lockdowns to boost her spirits.

They found that an encouraging conversation had lifted their spirits and decided to create a wellness app that would offer short encouraging conversations.

They called it Hey Lemonade – making lemonade out of their allotted lemons.

“Hey Lemonade is really one of those silver linings of Covid,” says Durack.

The three-minute pep talks are described as “warm, comforting verbal hugs” and were developed with input from experts, including psychologists.

They address everyday stressful moments in life, like nervousness in public, ups and downs in relationships, emotional turmoil and when you need a boost of motivation.

“We try to be really specific about the issues,” says McCann.

“So it can support people at the moment when they need something efficient and maybe a bit practical.”

The pep talks will be delivered by well-known Australian figures such as TV presenter Tony Armstrong, chef and food writer Maggie Beer and transformational coach Chief Brabon.

“Hey Lemonade is a quick chat with a friend and we want it to be like your best friend in your pocket,” says Durack.

Delving into the world of technology and apps was daunting at first for the duo, but they’re proud of how they “busted their butt” at the concept.

They completed a 12-week SBE Australia Accelerated Business Course, applied for scholarships and sought advice from mentors like Zoe Foster Blake.

“We did it because it gave us purpose and purpose — and that really gave us agency again, that we had the ability to create something that was useful for both ourselves and other people,” says McCann .

Durack and McCann plan to expand their Hey Lemonade offering to offer a platform for teens in the coming months and are looking into creating their own podcast.

“We are working with the NSW government to create a high school version,” says McCann. “And we’re also working on a Hey Lemonade live brand, which will be a series of curated live talks with people who are genuinely inspirational.”

Durack adds that the duo are “really proud” of the platform they are creating.

“It all comes down to what we really want to do to empower millions of people around the world on their best, worst and in-between days,” says Durack.

Hey Lemonade can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Visit heylemonade.com.au for more information

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