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Ten UK startups paving the way to better mental health

Written by Louisa Cook on Friday, 17 May 2019. Posted in Wellbeing, People

Psychological wellbeing is becoming increasingly important. Luckily, many entrepreneurs are launching startups to help give people peace of mind

Ten UK startups paving the way to better mental health

The mind can be a difficult place. Sadly, mental illness is invisible and affects everyone. At times, it may seem like an epidemic that can’t be beaten as workplace related mental illness has reached staggering numbers. However, UK startups are changing our approach to mental wellbeing. 

So we wanted to share ten mental health UK startups and celebrate how they’re benefiting others.

(1) MeeTwo

Being a teenager is particularly tough. Wanting to provide an outlet for teens where they could open up to others, Kerstyn Comley and Suzi Godson founded MeeTwo in 2015. 

The free app provides teenagers with a safe space to discuss their feelings and other users can comment and offer words of support. Undergraduate psychology students also provide advice and information on helplines and charities which are available.

So far, MeeTwo has only raised a seed funding round. The 2018 investment didn’t announce how much cash was injected into the company but the startup’s impact can be seen in other ways. “It’s encouraging that even [from] operating over the past four years we have seen young people become more knowledgeable about staying safe online,” Comley recently told Elite Business. 

MeeTwo is an example of how social media can provide a support platform for youngsters, rather than be the cause of their unhappiness.  

(2) Healios

Both the person affected and their loved ones suffer from the onset of mental illnesses. Luckily, many entrepreneurs are trying to do something about it. One of them is Rich Andrews who founded Healios, a digital healthcare company, in 2013. 

The startup offers support for those with mental and physical illnesses and their families. Healios  does this by matching patients with clinicians based on their needs, who continue to have regular sessions with them via video link. A range of mental health topics can be covered, including psychosis and PTSD. T o help patients‘ families better understand how to best provide care, Healios allows them to attend the sessions via video link together with the patient. 

So far Healios has raised £2.2m in one funding round in 2018. It’s refreshing to see a mental healthcare company that understands the importance of family support on the road to recovery. 

(3) Unmind

 With deadlines and bureaucracy, it’s no wonder the workplace is a contributor to mental health issues. Recognising this fact, Unmind has been developed as a B2B digital mental health platform specifically designed for the workplace.

Founded in 2016, Unmind has so far raised £4.7m across three funding rounds. It’s accessible via an app and provides an introduction to mental health as well as exercises designed to enhance things such as mood and concentration. In collaboration with psychologists, Unmind provides training through videos, audio and interactive content to reduce stigma in the workplace and help employees take care of both their own and their colleagues’ mental wellbeing. After using Unmind, 89% of employees reported an increase in confidence and understanding of mental health. Moreover, Unmind is used globally by clients such as John Lewis, Square Enix and Just Eat. 

With big brands supporting the startup, it’s clear that Unmind shows promise.  

(4) BioBeats

Everyone needs help from time to time to better manage their psychological health. Fortunately, several startups provide convenient solutions for professionals on the go to get the jump on their mental health. BioBeats is one of them. 

This digital intelligence company creates products based on improving mental wellbeing. Founded in 2012, it has so far raised a total of £6.6m over six funding rounds. Its app BioBase is a stress management product aimed at employers to help them manage their employees mental wellbeing.

Not only does it include guides on how to identify symptoms and reduce them, BioBase also provides daily suggestions on how to reduce stress and weekly courses relevant to each employee’s lifestyle. 

The app works alongside the BioBeam watch that tracks sleep patterns and activity to further the understanding of the individuals stress symptoms. Based in London, San Francisco and Pisa, BioBeats helps train companies in both the US and Europe. 

With an outreach so wide, BioBeats is definitely doing its best to beat mental illness.

(5) HealthUnlocked

Finding someone who can help relieve your burdens is what those suffering from mental ill health need. But it’s easier said than done. Enter HeathUnlocked, a health-focused social media network.

Founded in 2010, HealthUnlocked empowers users by giving them a chance to share their personal stories and connect with others going through the same health issues. There are over 300 health topics to choose from and discuss, so users are likely to find someone relatable. Users can discuss their mental wellbeing with topics like depression and anxiety and HealthUnlocked helpfully provides information and advice on them, including what symptoms to look out for and what kind of treatments are available. 

With over two million users, HeathUnlocked unites people globally who are facing the same struggles and has so far raised £5.7m across seven funding rounds. We’re looking forward to see the startup grow. 

(6) HelloTomo

Sometimes, being appreciated for your accomplishments can give you a much needed boost, which is what HelloTomo hopes to make easier. 

The startup’s product is an online peer-support network, accessible via an app. Founded in 2016, the company has raised £350,000 over a seed funding round which took place in July 2016. Using behavioural activation, which is used in cognitive behavioural therapy, the app helps users understand how their behaviour affects their mental wellbeing, provides scheduled habits to stick in order to improve people’s mental health. Once they’ve completed a task, the app prompts them to upload a photo as a reminder of their progress. The photo is then shared anonymously with a small group of people to celebrate the progress with others and motivate everyone to achieve their goals. 

Social media for good – who would’ve thunk it?

(7) TalkLife

Expressing yourself can be difficult, especially when growing up. Acknowledging that it can be hard to talk to family and friends, TalkLife provides a peer support network for youngsters to express themselves. 

Founded in 2012, the social network encourages young people to open up to others about their feelings. Users can post about anything that’s on their mind and other users can comment words of encouragement or advice under. TalkLife’s 24/7 safety team provides further support. It also has other resources focusing on mental health issues, including eating disorders and self-harm. 

While it can be difficult for young people to process their emotions, it’s great to see TalkLife provide a much needed outlet for them. 

(8) Spill

While sharing problems works for some, others need professional help. Designed specifically for the workplace, Spill is an app that provides message-based therapy from professionals. 

Founded in 2017, Spill raised a £650,000 seed funding round in 2019. Spill is accessed through a monthly subscription, which the company claims is roughly half of what a single face-to-face therapy session would cost. It also aims to abolish ridiculously long waiting times to get help. Employers can access Spill on their browser and employees on an app on their phone. For the first week after joining, Spill gathers information on employees – such as how many will be taken on and which topics need to be dealt with – and then matches the employees with the right councillor. Spill’s clients include digital bank Monzo and property website Rightmove

Spill is certainly revolutionising mental health care by making the it easier for employers and employees. 

(9) Mind Moose

While you may think mental illness isn’t a topic to be discussed amongst children, Mind Moose wants to change that perception. 

Mind Moose is an online platform designed to educate kids between the ages of seven and 12 about their mental health. Founded by Zoe Ross in 2017, Mind Moose has raised £70,000 over two funding rounds. To encourage a focus children’s mental health as well as their physical one, Mind Moose uses colourful characters and interactive activities to teach children how their mind and emotions work. The startup is available to schools and families. Once Mind Moose’s activities are completed, children should experience improved self-esteem and a better control over their emotions. The startup claims its services are particularly useful for children who are being bullied, moving schools or have autism. 

We can only applaud Mind Moose’s emphasis on improving the knowledge surrounding mental health for kids. 

(10) Calm

With the stresses of daily life, it can be hard to switch off. That’s where Calm comes in. Founded in 2012, Calm has raised over $116m over eight funding rounds so far. In February 2019, it became the world’s first mental health tech unicorn and for good reason. 

Michael Acton Smith founded Calm after experiencing mental illness first-hand after he was left feeling stressed out from running Mind Candy, creator of online game Moshi Monsters. Calm provides relaxing techniques for a better mental wellbeing, including meditation, mindful stretches and relaxing music. The startup has truly blossomed and is currently partnering with airport spa business XpresSpa  across US airports. Calm has also published a book of the same name that contains advice on how to reduce stress as well as a sleep mist that contains calming lavender oil to sooth customers.

For anyone feeling stressed or anxious, Calm’s got you covered in most areas.  

While mental illness can be isolating, these UK startups represent the help that is available. With mental health awareness increasing, we can only expect more startup talent from the UK to join the fight against mental illness. 

About the Author

Louisa Cook

Louisa Cook

As editorial intern, Louisa has joined the Elite team looking to progress her career in publishing and journalism. Apart from being passionate about writing, she is a feminist and a cat lover. 

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