The importance of looking after your mental health at home and at work has never been clearer. Two University of Birmingham graduates, whose start-up business promotes good practice in the workplace, share their tips for both employers and employees.
Bloomwise was created to provide proactive mental health support to people at work by current PhD researcher Frankie Lewns (BMedSc Biomedical Materials Science, 2019) and Dr Paris Lalousis (MSc Brain Imaging and Cognitive Neuroscience, 2017).
Bloomwise helps employers support their team's mental health in three ways: an in-depth Mental Health Plan; workshops to educate and empower people to feel confident when looking after and talking about their own wellbeing; and a mental health app that benefits both employers and their employees.
Paris and Frankie have their own experiences with mental health. Paris was diagnosed with panic disorder at the age of 14 and adds: 'Now I work in the field, I have always tried to destigmatise the way people talk about mental health by being open about my personal circumstances.'
Frankie says: 'I have had more friends and family members experience poor mental health than not, and have also been in a workplace where I felt there were little to no initiatives, so the issue struck a chord with us as a topic we are both passionate about.'
Paying forward the support to get started
Bloomwise was further developed as part of the UoB Elevate programme for start-ups, receiving funding to create the workplace app. Frankie and Paris are now returning the favour by offering their perspective and guidance to those thinking of setting up their own business.
Bright minds: the interns who became part of the Bloomwise family
Bloomwise took on two interns through the University of Birmingham Start-Up Scholarship, a programme funded by alumni donations.
Saba Shahzad (BSc Business Management, 2023) and Millie Cullis (BSc Psychology, 2023) helped create the mental health workshops so successfully that they both returned to the company to deliver the workshops as full members of the team.
Frankie adds: 'The interns were absolutely amazing in creating an entire product for us that is currently our biggest revenue generator, and for which we get terrific feedback from those it is helping in their workplace.'
Such was the success of the scholars that Bloomwise took on another three new interns through the scheme. Paris says: 'We highly recommend getting University students working for your business. The pool of candidates is outstanding, they're all highly motivated and the level of work they provide exceeds expectations. It's an amazing resource.'