Nationwide, throughout the month of May, Mental Health remained topical in many publications. The Telegraph explored whether working in the City is bad for your health?, BBC One showed a programme called A Royal Team Talk, which bought together five current or former professional footballers, and amateurs, to talk openly with the Duke of Cambridge about the effects of mental health in sport, demonstrating that mental health is no longer a secret folded away in sport’s dressing rooms, and BBC Two showed the mini-series called ‘Depression and me’ where Alistair Campbell candidly talked about his experiences.
Moreover, Stephen Moon, Group CEO, Science in Sport Ltd recently shared his thoughts on the challenge’s executives face in dealing with the subject of mental health – his key question being ‘Is mental health the last taboo in business’? – a really insightful read.
Continuing the theme, locally in Richmond I attended a panel discussion about mental health in sport, hosted by Bella Velo, a south west London cycling club dedicated to women who cycle. The event invited a panel of male and female speakers to talk about their own personal mental health stories following challenging life experiences that have been thrown in their path.
And in central London, The Happiness Index hosted an event at Google called Happiness and Humans – it was truly insightful sharing a day with so many inspirational people and speakers who champion freedom to be human. On a personal and professional level, it’s great to be part of a growing wave of momentum, where businesses and organisations are recognising the importance of investing in employee wellbeing.
Introducing My Arkeo – Fitness for your brain
In December 2018 I was fortunate enough to connect with Jana Dowling. A friend, Matt Phelan, had mentioned her and her business idea in a LinkedIn post and I was keen to hear more, so dropped Jana a note to connect directly.
I’m a firm believer that mental fitness and physical fitness go hand in hand. Yet, at seemingly opposite ends of the scale, whilst mental fitness is less talked about, physical fitness represents a booming global industry of personal trainers, gyms, apps and other wearable technology – all in favour of actively talking about, participating in, and building communities (virtual and in person) to support our physical fitness and to help us achieve our goals.
Which begs the question – What are we doing to support our mental fitness?
From seeding a thought – to seed investment
Pardon the pun, but a seed was sown when Jana and I first met in person in January 2019. Over recent months it’s been extremely exciting to see MyArkeo preparing to step out of the shadows, and into the limelight. Yes, there are competitors out there, and that’s healthy, but MyArkeo is slowly but surely carving its own path, gaining traction and recognition at every turn. The overall objective of MyArkeo is simple – to empower individuals and organisations to take control of their mental fitness.
Built from the ground up, on real-life experience of monitoring and measuring her road to recovery post burnout, Jana built a tracking system to give her insight into how her own actions, food consumption, sleep pattern, level of activity – and a whole lot more – influenced and accelerated her road to recovery. Recognising that her tracking system was the KEY component in her own recovery, she wanted to share her system with others – millions in fact – starting in the UK, with a vision to launch in other territories when the time is right.
In the past six months I’ve downloaded the beta version of the MyArkeo app, used it daily, talked about it to friends and family, fed back on my user experience – as have hundreds of others – delivered a brand and messaging workshop to establish the foundations to build the brand both internally and externally from a marketing and communications perspective, and latterly discussed and agreed seed investment.
This is a completely new path for me, personally investing in a business. But MyAkreo brings together many things I’m passionate about, namely, sport, fitness (mental and physical) and technology – a hattrick of happiness. I feel extremely privileged to be in a position to invest, to contribute my ideas, and to see the business go from strength to strength.
So why did I choose to invest in MyArkeo?
- 9 in 10 UK workers affected by mental health challenges
- 48% of employees in the UK have experienced a mental health problem
- 300,000 people lose jobs over mental health every year
- Poor mental health in the workplace is costing the UK economy about £99bn a year
MyArkeo – the mental fitness management app, facilitates users to ‘TRACK’ lifestyle habits and symptoms, ‘ANALYSE’ and highlight user pattern and trends, ‘SET TARGETS’ to change behaviour and alleviate symptoms, and to ‘TAKE ACTION’.
In addition, Jana is an incredibly inspiring individual. Her personal knowledge and experience put her firmly in the driving seat to speak authentically, and her passion and energy for building a global brand and business are unbound.
Go to market strategy
There are multiple benefits for businesses and organisations who choose to invest in MyArkeo, namely improved mental fitness, less absenteeism, and higher productivity – so in fact a win-win situation all round – for both employees and employers.
In addition to those benefits, the MyArkeo app will help reduce the 300,000 people losing their jobs due to ill mental health in the UK, and increase the number of people actively taking care of their mental fitness.
For individuals (B2C) the app presents a simple four-step process:
- App – self tracking and analysis
- Data analysis – of your stats over time
- Set targets – around what’s important for you
- Take actions – empowered to make choices that serve you
For businesses and organisations (B2B) the app presents a three-stage process:
- Employee tracking on the MyArkeo app – empowers staff to take control, and facilitates self-tracking and improvement
- Data feedback – view aggregated anonymous employee trends and patterns via a company dashboard
- Training – MyArkeo bring in experts and qualified trainers focused on hotspots highlighted in data feedback
Jana and her team of experts have developed an ambitious go-to-market strategy, targeting businesses and organisations, cross sector, public and private, with 250+ employees; that are prioritising employee wellbeing, diversity and inclusion; and are looking to invest to further develop their wellbeing strategy.
What will seed investment be spent on?
Whilst funding rounds continue to secure the £250,000 Jana is seeking to raise, the initial funds will be utilised for app development to build out tech to version 1, to develop UX, and to drive adoption of paid pilots with hero clients and early adopters.
From a traction and growth perspective, with pilots booked with global organisations, NHS Trusts, Financial Services, and Media and Broadcast businesses, and interest from London Sport, the next 12 months are shaping up to be extremely interesting.
My prediction for the future
MyArkeo will become the measure of mental fitness and will become a global fitness brand, and the platform will help organisations measure and support staff in improving their mental fitness.
MyArkeo is so simple to use – it’s informative, it empowers people to make more informed choices about how they support their mental fitness, there’s so much more in the pipeline, and some great features to be revealed in V1 of the app that will enhance the user experience, and provide more insightful data to individuals and organisations.
I will leave you with a quote:
“Rule your mind or it will rule you”Horace