Our Story

I’m Caleb Podhaczky, founder of Sayf. I’m a local to the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, a small business owner, suicide survivor, recovering alcoholic, and mental health advocate. This is my story, and the story of how Sayf came to be what it is today. I hope by sharing this with you, it may be just the nudge you need to do the thing that seems the hardest to you right now – ask for help.

Since about 2015 I’ve lived with mental health issues. Perhaps I had experienced these issues for longer, but for the first couple of years I didn’t even know. I just couldn’t seem to fire up. I was drinking daily. From here, things just kind of snowballed.

After 4 years of living in the US I came home and just wasn’t myself. So much so, my Mum asked me one day if something had happened while I was away. But, like for so many others, it was nothing specific that I could put my finger on. Like all good Mum’s, she recommended I see a doctor. After some fuss, I did. At this point,  I didn’t have a good understanding of what depression was. I definitely didn’t consider it to be something that I would have –  I thought it was something that ‘other people’ had, but not me.

Over the next couple of years I was out of control. Addicted to alcohol, suicidal and fighting to see the next day. I attempted to take my life in 2017 and from there I spent the next 2 years in and out of hospital, the Frankston hospital psychiatric ward and APARC.

In 2019 I had a moment of clarity and made a decision to change the course of my life. One of the hardest decisions I have ever made. The amount of work, determination and heart it took to get myself from rock bottom to sober, alive and thriving is hard to explain. Now, some days are easier than others, but the bad days are getting fewer and further between.

Like so many others, one of the hardest things to do in my darkest times was ask for help. Sometimes it felt like I was being a burden. Sometimes I just didn’t know what to say. Sometimes I just felt too embarrassed or proud. And sometimes I wasn’t physically able to.

After a hiccup in my recovery,  I wished for an easy way to tell my support crew how I was doing, without having to actually say anything. This is where I got the idea for Sayf, a mobile app that will, at the push of a button, say “I’m feeling good”,  “I’m feeling average – check in on me” or “I’m not OK – I need help”.

Something so simple, yet direct is exactly what I needed during my hardest times. The ability to get the help I needed, without the overwhelming feeling of needing to call someone up and ask them to help me, can be no short of a lie, a life saver.

I have found, going through my own journey is that this constant reassurance to my support crew also helps them. I have never been made to feel like a burden, but this app lets me keep them updated and keep their worry and anxiety over my wellbeing in check.

This app is more than that. To me it is a gift from myself, to myself, and all others going through their own journey. Everyone is at different stages on their own journey, but now, hopefully, we can all have the same access to help when we need it most.