5 minutes with...

Jake Mills, Founder and CEO of Chasing the Stigma

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 14th, Dec

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

There needs to be a drastic change in the way mental health services work to make it as easy as possible to find and access mental health support. There are thousands of amazing services across the country offering life saving support, yet almost three quarters of people who died by suicide in the last year were not known to mental health services or had not been seen in more than a year. That's simply not good enough. If the threshold of NHS services are so high that people have to sit on a waiting list for up to 18 months, then we need to do something about it. We want people to stop working in silos. We want new ways of working and new methods of support with a focus on early intervention. That's what we are trying to address at Chasing the Stigma with the Hub of Hope, which recently won the Chamber’s Technology and Digital Award along with our technical advisors, Mashbo. We want to remove barriers and make help as easy as possible to find.

What does a typical working day look like?

The best thing about my job is that there isn't a typical working day. Most days are filled with meetings with people either offering mental health services, or people who want to do more to offer mental health support, whether in the workplace or in the community. I love being able to listen and learn from people and I’m always filled with confidence that there are so many good people around.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Given that I attempted to take my own life five years ago, you would expect the only answer to be ‘speak to someone, seek help, be honest, stop hiding, stop pretending, you are not alone’. Of course there is that, but as bad as my experience might have been and as close as it came to all being over, it has lead me to where I am today. I am stronger now and I am able to help prevent others feeling the same. I'd probably advise myself against some of the haircuts though. And the white shoes.

Where would we find you on your day off?

On a what? In all honesty, if I was a wanted man, the hunt wouldn't last long as they'd only have to go to One Fine Day on Old Hall Street to find me.

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

As a comedian it was that you can't please everyone. That sometimes you just won't be somebody’s cup of tea. That’s not your fault and it's not theirs either. I think that can apply to quite a few  other parts of life. Sometimes you just don't click and that's ok.

How do you make time for self care?

I've learnt recently just how important self care is and just how little people running businesses actual put it into practice. You have to have a cut off. Not only for your own wellbeing but for the sake of your work too. I'm an Everton season ticket holder so the match has always been part of that self care - happy and celebrating or being angry and shouting, it can work both ways!

Who or what inspires you?

Without making people cringe, it’s my wife and son. They drive me on. They're the reason I am here and the reason I work so hard, because I want to be a success for them. It can be hard being away from them, leaving early for meetings or finishing late, but that's why I take self care and time off so seriously now.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

When people around the country ask how and why we have been able to achieve what we have at Chasing the Stigma in such a short time, despite relying so heavily on public donations, I tell them that we are from Liverpool and people from Liverpool are doers. We’re not talkers, we just get on with it. LCR is a region of doers. We get things done.

If you or a friend, loved one or colleague needs help, visit www.hubofhope.co.uk

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