Mental Health Awareness Month 2024: Advice From Founders Around Supporting Wellbeing

Every May, people from all over the world come together to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month. The month allows us to break down stigmas around mental health problems, and promote better wellbeing across all areas of life.

In 2024, this month is more important than ever. According to mental health charity Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. When it comes to work, the statistics are also concerning. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace.

Now, founders and business leaders across various industries are stepping up, sharing their insights and advice on how to create an environment that prioritises mental wellness, as well as their tips for protecting their own.

Let’s see what they have to say:


Our Experts

  • Laura Phillips, CEO and Founder at ProperPlan
  • Craig Letton, CEO at Hyble
  • Elodie Gythiel, Co-Founder at Live Yoga Teachers
  • Jonny Tyers, Founder and CEO at Threatplane
  • Dr Sophie Mort, Psychologist at Headspace
  • Sean Ruane, Founder at Mind Data
  • Daniel Mansson, Co-Founder at Flow Neuroscience
  • Lauren Chiren, CEO of Women Of A Certain Stage
  • Edouard Eyglunent, Co-Founder at Wecandoo
  • Alister De Ternant, Founder and Managing Director of AE (Associate Events)
  • Ruth Guest, Founder and CEO at Sersha
  • Anna Kalbasko, Founder at Being Aware
  • Carlotta Artuso, Founder at Carlotta PR
  • Primož Zelenšek, Co-Founder and CEO at Chipolo
  • Ofer Shayo, Managing Director at Intel Ignite London
  • Ed Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder ar PushFar


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Laura Phillips, CEO and Founder at ProperPlan



“Over the past decade as an entrepreneur in the e-learning sector, I’ve navigated numerous challenges, especially after launching, our AI-driven project management platform. In today’s economic climate, the pressure is immense, particularly as a tech founder managing our cash runway and as the primary breadwinner for my family.

“The escalating stress can lead to severe mental health issues, including burnout and depression, as I’ve observed among my peers. Some founders even report suicidal thoughts—a stark reminder of the stakes involved.

“To safeguard my mental health, I limit evening and weekend work as best I can. Passion for your work, while invigorating, must be balanced with essential downtime. Despite the demands of my role, I make it a priority to carve out daily personal time. The pursuit of success should not cost us our joy and well-being.

“Effective work isn’t about long hours; it’s about productive hours. Rest is crucial—without it, creativity and problem-solving suffer, magnifying every challenge.

“In striving for success, your health is your greatest asset. Balancing ambition with mindfulness and appreciating life’s small pleasures is key to maintaining both your happiness and  effectiveness. Remember that no achievement is worth sacrificing your mental or physical health.”


Craig Letton, CEO at Hyble


Scottish MarTech firm hyble launches new tech platform and strikes game-changing deal with $25bn US Wine and Spirit Distributor - Scottish Business News


“Running a start-up is disastrous for your mental health!

“My advice to most is be aware of the realities before embarking on this journey.  For me, it’s like wearing a suit of stress all day, or a heavy backpack you can’t take off.  My brain never switches off.  I think about the business when I am sleeping, whilst brushing my teeth, whilst in the shower.  There are peaks and troughs, but some are catastrophically hard.  Losing a customer, having a bad month, having to fire someone, a key employee experiencing death of a partner, running out of money… these are the things that are hardest on your mental health.

“In terms of how I stay mentally well – really it’s two things.  Exercise and sharing the load with others.  I do a lot of high-adrenaline sports like skiing and mountain biking, because they require focus and I find it is the only time I can switch off from business.  Also I share my problems with my wife, others in the Hyble team, other entrepreneurs and a network of friends.  Having experienced burnout several times, I know what to look out for (extreme tiredness and heightened anxiety) and I take immediate action.” 


Elodie Gythiel, Co-Founder at Live Yoga Teachers



“Yoga is the only workout that has an impact on the nervous system and can truly help for anxiety and depression. 

“But the problem with yoga is that you have to practise often to get the full benefits, everyday if possible, which is difficult to achieve when you have a full time job and/or a busy family life.

“This is why we created Live Yoga Teachers, a marketplace for livestream yoga classes: with livestream classes you can practise from home and add more yoga classes to your week and see the step changes in your mood and mental health.

“On the supply side, many yoga studios have closed during lockdown, making it hard for yoga teachers to find places to teach yoga – livestream offers a low cost way to teach yoga, making it easier for them to run profitable classes.

“If employers would like their team to practise yoga more often during the mental awareness month, we also offer corporate yoga classes, either online or in-person. We offer 3 types of services: “weekly yoga” (recurring yoga classes during work hours to remove any friction and cost for the team member), “discovery yoga” (5 different types of yoga for people to try different types of yoga and understand what’s best for them), or “one shot yoga” (a one off beginners class for people to try yoga for the first time).”


Jonny Tyers, Founder and CEO at Threatplane



“Initiatives like Mental Health Awareness Month serve as reminders for us to pause, take a moment to reflect and consider how we can be more supportive of those struggling with mental health challenges. We must take opportunities like these to encourage open conversations about mental health.

“Like many of us, particularly post-pandemic, balancing home, family and my business constantly threatens to harm my mental health, and I’ve certainly had times where I’ve been laid low by the pressure. So, I know from experience how important mental health is. I’ve realised that poor mental health directly harms all those other things important in my life, so now it’s a real focus.

“I used to think mental health was for others, but I now know it’s something we all have to deal with at various times in our lives. So, how are you doing this month? How would you score your mental health out of 10? If you’re feeling low, talk to someone you trust about it. Prioritise your well-being. That’s what I did, and it changed my life for the better. I hope the same for you!”


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Dr Sophie Mort Psychologist at Headspace


Dr Sophie Mort - Mental Health Expert at Headspace - Headspace | LinkedIn


“Focus on what’s within our control – We can down what’s on our minds 2 hours before bed. We can go through that list and identify which items we can solve (next to each write what you will do and when), which don’t need to be addressed yet, and which we can let go of.”

” Build a mindfulness meditation practice – In the same way that exposure to stress changes the neural pathways of our brain – making stress our default setting – the opposite is achieved through a regular meditation practice. The more we meditate, the more we activate our relaxation response when we need it. Headspace research shows that just 10 minutes of mindfulness for 30 days can help.

“Keep a pulse on general stress levels – It’s imperative that we find ways to manage our stress during challenging times. Exercising and feeling connected to loved ones can help manage stress levels, as can sharing our worries with others.”


Sean Ruane, Founder at Mind Data


Sean Ruane - Mind Data | LinkedIn


“For my own mental well-being, I practice regular mindfulness, attend therapy sessions, and maintain a support network of like-minded founders. Additionally, I incorporate less conventional techniques such as visualisation, affirmations, and gratitude lists into my daily routine. These practices help me stay focused on the present and maintain a positive outlook.

“When it comes to supporting my team, I prioritise regular check-ins to identify and address any challenges early on. Using a simple well-being scale of 1-10 can provide valuable insights. Leading by example and fostering a culture of vulnerability from the top down is crucial, and I openly share my own mental health experiences with my team.

“Lastly, it’s important to understand that mental health stressors can vary greatly between individuals. For one person, flexibility with childcare might be essential, while for another, weekly therapy sessions may be more critical.”


Daniel Mansson, Co-Founder at Flow Neuroscience



“Depression is a global health epidemic. The WHO estimates depression already affects over 280 million people with an impact to the global economy of over one trillion dollars each year. By the end of the decade, depression is expected to be the leading cause of mortality globally.

“Despite its prevalence, depression sufferers still face limited options. Access to mental health treatment is increasingly constrained- a recent report by the US Surgeon General found that just 41% of people who said they wanted help for their mental health were able to get treatment. And when they can access treatment, it’s often ineffective. Just 28% of people go on to see remission from depression with the most commonly prescribed drugs, with far more experiencing unwanted side effects.

“Technology is rapidly advancing our understanding of the brain, and new evidence suggests that the key to treating depression lies in changing activity in the brain networks, not balancing chemical levels. Treatments like Flow are an effective and accessible alternative that can be personalised for the individual. We’re seeing life changing outcomes for many patients, and  better patient outcomes mean fewer unnecessary visits, which improves access across the entire healthcare ecosystem.”



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Lauren Chiren, CEO of Women Of A Certain Stage


Interview with Lauren Chiren, founder of Women of a Certain Stage - Talented Ladies Club


“Ensuring self-care is a top priority, particularly as a mum and CEO of my business, Women of a Certain Stage, is crucial. Having gone through premature menopause, I have learned that my health directly impacts my ability to care for others, and this has been a hard-earned lesson. As a sole parent living far from family, resilience is essential, so it’s important that I put in steps to boost my mental health. 

“To maintain well-being and lead effectively, I implement structured daily routines. I always start my day with hydration and exercise, like running, yoga, or weight training, as this grounds me and boosts my mental clarity, and keeps me focused. These practices foster a calm, focused mindset that guides me throughout my day.

“Connection is equally important. Being naturally introverted, I ensure I don’t isolate myself behind a desk all day. Regular interactions with mentors and fellow entrepreneurs provide idea sharing, connection, accountability and emotional support. And regular networking offers fresh perspectives, enriching my leadership approach.

“By maintaining these habits and connections, I aim to lead with resilience, understanding, and clear communication of my strategic vision, setting a positive example for my team. It’s a constant effort to balance caring for others with caring for myself, but it’s essential for sustainable success.”


Edouard Eyglunent, Co-Founder at Wecandoo


Interview: Edouard Eyglunent, co-founder of Wecandoo - To Do List


I co-founded Wecandoo back in 2017 because I was seeking a career that was meaningful to me and allowed me to follow my passions. Going to craft workshops and spending time with artisans on the weekends or during the holidays was always the highlight of my week, so making this my job and being able to share the mental health benefits of crafting with the masses is a dream come true!

“It’s mindfulness to me. It requires your full attention, preventing outside distractions from creeping in and giving you time to immerse your brain in something new. The motions of sewing, painting and carving and so on can help you find a meditative state which can even lower your heart rate as a sense of calmness sets in. Anyone can build time into their diary to find a new love or hobby, and crafting might just be it.”


Alister De Ternant, Founder and Managing Director of AE (Associate Events)



“During Mental Health Awareness month, I would like to share one of the unique ways I look after my well-being.

“As the founder and Managing Director of AE (Associate Events) – a market leading full-service agency – I work in a fast-paced world of event management and curation. The amazing team and I thrive on creating global events and campaigns for tech giants like CGI and DXC Technology. 

“With high-pressure work you might wonder how I switch off. Well, the answer might surprise you: I tend to a flock of sheep in a rural village of Leicestershire.

“Outside of the demanding environment of my work, caring for my sheep provides me with a complete escape. Together with my family, we look after our sheep, allowing me to disconnect from work, connect with nature, and recharge. The sheep offer not only companionship but also teach valuable lessons in responsibility, care, and respect.

“It’s important for everyone to share the ways they relax outside of demanding professional environments. As a leader, it’s also integral to understand that everyone has individual self-care and well-being rituals and I am always keen to support others’ mental health, without judgment or prejudice.”


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Ruth Guest, Founder and CEO at Sersha



“Staying on top of your mental health is fundamental if you’re looking to build a successful company. Your business won’t run smoothly unless you are at your best, and most mentally resilient.

“That said, being a founder can sometimes be a lonely life! A survey I read recently revealed that founders ranked their job a 7.6/10 for loneliness, and 81% are not open about their fears, stress and challenges. This can be exacerbated in the very early stages, when you are often a one-woman show. 

“For me, two things have helped here. Establishing a healthy work/ life balance is key. This can be challenging, as it’s so easy to just keep going when there’s always something to do! But burnout and isolation is real, so make time to be with your friends and family – and be open with them about how the journey is going.

“Secondly, as your hard work pays off and your business begins to grow, make sure to surround yourself with people who are not only co-workers, but also friends! For me, having a supportive team around me, and an open, honest culture, has been really helpful in keeping me grounded throughout my startup journey.”


Anna Kalbasko, Founder at Being Aware



“As founders, we often prioritise our businesses at the expense of our well-being. However, during Mental Health Awareness Month, recognising the importance of mental health is essential. Practicing self-regulation, exploring inner child work, and embracing vulnerability can significantly help.

“Self-Regulation: Mastering self-regulation is crucial for maintaining emotional balance and clarity. Techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness help prevent burnout, keeping you centered and help to respond to business challenges effectively.

“Inner Child Work: This powerful tool involves connecting with the often-neglected, child-like aspects of your personality that influence emotional reactions. Nurturing your inner child can resolve inner conflicts and enhance a sense of calm and balance, improving your emotional intelligence and leadership style.

“Vulnerability: Viewing openness and authenticity as strengths is vital. In a world that often values perfection, acknowledging your vulnerabilities can be your greatest asset, fostering deeper connections, inviting support, and promoting compassionate leadership.

“This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s integrate these practices into our routine. By prioritising self-regulation, engaging in inner child work, and practicing vulnerability, we will not only boost our mental health but also set a positive example for our team, enhancing the overall health of the startup.”


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Carlotta Artuso, Founder at Carlotta PR


Carlotta Artuso - Founder - Carlotta PR | LinkedIn


“Practice Mindfulness: start your day with mindfulness practices like meditation or a nature walk, instead of diving into screens, to set a positive tone. Movement boosts mood and clarity, anchoring you for the day ahead.

“Focus on What You Can Control: Instead of dwelling on things beyond your control, focus on what you can influence and take action accordingly. This can help reduce feelings of helplessness and anxiety.

“Set Boundaries: Learn to say no when necessary and establish boundaries to prevent burnout. It’s okay to prioritise your well-being over work commitments.

“Maintain Work-Life Balance: establish boundaries on work hours; while the passion may drive you, overworking leads to burnout. Also, dedicate a day each week, ideally on weekends, to disconnect from emails and work-related tasks. Rest and leisure are necessary for a healthy business.

“Stay connected: Building a support network is essential. Connect with fellow founders or professionals in your industry to share experiences, challenges, and successes. Building strong relationships can provide a sense of belonging and support during hard times.

“Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Celebrating progress can boost motivation and morale.”


Primož Zelenšek, Co-Founder and CEO at Chipolo


Primož Zelenšek


“While the importance of mental health has become more prominent in today’s society, we are still being riddled with perfectionism wherever we go. Our abilities, skills and appearances are chronically being scrutinised – causing anxiety and depression cases to skyrocket.

“Our aim at Chipolo is to encourage people to recognise that our imperfections are a part of who we are. To spread this message, we recently launched our ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ campaign, which acts as an affirmation to embrace – and celebrate – these flaws that make us unique.

“As a leading brand in the item tracker market, we created a limited edition wallet finder made from flawed plastic that would have been thrown away otherwise, but it was perfect to design products that also work perfectly.

“As an extra step, we’re donating $1 from every product sold to three organisations that support people with different kinds of imperfections. We firmly believe that our imperfections don’t lessen our value; they make us human. So this Mental Health Awareness Month, we encourage people to start with themselves – whether in the morning as you start the day or just before bed. Making a positive impact on mental health starts by embracing our uniqueness.”


Ofer Shayo, Managing Director at Intel Ignite London 



“I was fortunate to have a co-founder who, still today, is also my best friend outside of business. However, we experienced a conflict with our third co-founder, who left the company during our journey. These months of dispute were the most stressful time I experienced as a founder. 

“Maintaining honest, transparent relationships with your co-founders can alleviate stress created by the challenges of building a startup. Creating a peer infrastructure to share your experiences with other founders and leaning on individuals outside of your business, like mentors and spouses, for emotional support can help build mental resilience and mitigate the loneliness founders face.

“When relying on others, acknowledge others’ contributions to your mental health and development, and communicate openly about their challenges as well. This is a critical piece in managing the mental impact of the entrepreneurial journey on your loved ones.

“Only 23% of founders turn to a psychologist for support, likely due to the stigma around mental health support. Entrepreneurs face higher rates of mental health issues than the average person due to the pressure of building a business, so it’s important to seek professional help. Fortunately, more therapists are becoming attuned to the unique challenges that founders face, and getting help is possible.”


Ed Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder at PushFar


Ed Johnson, Co-Founder & CEO, PushFar - The G&T Sessions -


“Recent data has revealed that workplace stress could be at an all-time high, as searches for burnout reach their highest level in five years*. To combat work-related tolls on mental health, there are certain things to consider. Firstly, engaging in a positive workplace culture. The environment and people you surround yourself with at work can have an impact on your stress levels. Try to avoid situations such as gossiping and taking on negative information unrelated to your job. Instead create healthy connections with co-workers. It’s still important to engage with one another as this can inject energy into your workday and create a support network but ensure the means of doing so is a shared positive experience.”

“Secondly, establishing limits helps combat workplace stress and ensures a healthy work-life balance. Learning to delegate tasks is key to alleviating workload and staying organised. If you feel like your workload is becoming too much to handle, and delegation isn’t possible, speak to your line manager as soon as possible, and raise concerns about capacity and the impact this could have on both the quality of your work, and your wellbeing.”



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