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European Founders & Mental Health At Work

Here we open up conversations with two European company founders about how they manage mental health in the workplace.

 

Our mental health at work affects the way we think, feel, and handle the ups and downs. Managing mental health can help open up conversations, improve work lives, and build a supportive environment where people can thrive and get the most from their jobs.

Here we talk with two European company founders about how they manage their own mental health in the workplace, and that of their teams: Ally Fekaiki of Juno, and Iulia Ghita, Co-Founder at Zitamine.

Juno is a global platform on a mission to put the power and flexibility in the hands of employees to make their own decisions about their wellbeing and mental health. Zitamine is the first service in Romania that helps people create a vitamins and supplements plan, tailored to their needs. Here’s what they had to say:

 

What does your business do to support mental health?

Ally: “There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to mental health, and everybody has their own happiness and health journey to go on. Instead of employers only offering a set menu of options, Juno has hundreds of thousands of options for someone to build a programme to suit their own needs and support their mental health in a way that’s meaningful to them.”

Iulia: “Every person that visits our website goes through a 4-minute questionnaire where we ask questions about their mental health: stress level, anxiety, burnout, depression, and mood in general. Based on their answers we recommend them natural supplements to support their mental wellbeing.”

 

How do you manage your own mental health at work?

Ally: “As the founder of a startup, the impact on my mental health is complicated. I’m forced to reckon with the irony of my company helping teams avoid burnout whilst running towards burnout myself. With that being said, I’m a practitioner of self-care and practice meditation, daily exercise, and counselling. Smaller things like not having messaging apps and LinkedIn on my phone really help me, too.”

Iulia: “We’re a small team, and on top of our access to the benefits of natural food supplements, we stay in close touch with each other. We have a daily meeting where we share whatever’s on our mind, what keeps us up at night, and what prevents us from having a great day.

We also have a weekly meeting that we start with a personal check-up. Every person shares what they’ve been up to since the last check-up, how they feel, and what bothers them in their personal and professional life. As founders, we set the tone and always share the good and the bad of what we’re going through.”

 

What advice would you give to other business owners for looking after their mental wellbeing?

Ally: “It’s important to recognise that business owners build companies in their own image, which means a high-stress leader creates a high-stress culture. An emotional leader creates an emotional culture, and so on. Be mindful about how you set the tone in your company, and set the example by remembering that balance and being able to switch off are essential and will yield positive results.”

Iulia: “Stop whatever you’re doing, acknowledge what you’re experiencing and share this with people you trust and that can relate to whatever you are going through. Accepting is the first step, sharing is the second, and being understood is the third. And never hesitate to ask for help, whether it’s in the form of therapy, natural food supplements, or a shoulder to cry on.”

Remember, you can chat with our friendly V-Hub Digital Advisers for 1-2-1 support around mental health awareness and resources in the workplace.

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