Ireland is beautiful, no doubt. But the mental health situation doesn't belong to its beauties. One man is on a mission: an immigrant and ex-google employee, who might have started to change an entire health system.
In times of crisis and pressure mental health deteriorates - the number of cases creep up. In times of crisis mental health support is one of the first thing to be cut. The irony is that the people best equipped to deal with mental health are the ones who need it least.
In Ireland, one is more likely to kill oneself than get murdered!
Krystian Fikert arrived in Ireland from Poland to work at Google Inc. in 2004. Compassionately driven to study psychology rather than tech after losing a friend to suicide. Fikert spans two contrasting disciplines: tech and mental health.
In an interview with nuviun, he says:
"During my work at Google, I was also interested to find out what people are searching in terms of mental health. I analysed search data and figured out that there was a problem in terms of access".
When he saw the numbers and topics around searches that concern mental health he decided to take action. To kick things off, next to his work at Google as a "Search Quality Associate", he set up MyMind.
Fikert worked at Google when he understood via Google's search results that something wasn't right for the Irish mental health service provision.
In 2006 Fikert arranged a free space for Polish immigrants to get help
Within a few months MyMind had several volunteering mental health professionals, a donated space and were giving the much needed help to those who couldn't reach it. Now an Ashoka Fellow - Fikert leads the way for social entrepreneurship. By charging more to those who can afford it and giving discounts or even free access to those who cannot pay MyMinds ensures that they are financially sustainable but also filling the social need.
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MyMind, a registered charity, is looking to scale up to make it 100% financially sustainable. At the moment they are sustaining more than three quarters of their finances. They offer services to corporations at a higher prices to be able to reach out to low income mental health suffers. 5% of MyMind services are offered completely free.
Now MyMind works with mental health professionals in 15 different languages and offers its services to all nationalities. The organisation adds additional supply to a healthcare system with a low level of specialists (which includes the area of mental health too). While public services often have waiting lists of months, MyMind gets you in touch with a professional in 72 hours.
You are more likely to kill yourself than get murdered. You are your own worst enemy, and we have yet to go a long way to understand what drives someone to the extremes of suicide. The power of social support is immense. Immigration is a lonely process - Fikert recognised this niche and gave a practical solution.
40% of clients are male. Fikert is working towards fixing this gender gap and recognises that some men may prefer to be attended by men. With more women mental health professional, this is something they are actively trying to counteract.