Personal experience with mental health issues has led an entrepreneur to mould his start-up idea into a business with a social purpose.
Trevor Lowder was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in late 2007, attributed to having witnessed the electrocution death of his brother 10 years earlier.
Mr Lowder, who had little knowledge of mental health issues at the time, began experiencing suicidal thoughts and severe anxiety attacks that led to his PTSD diagnosis.
“I had no idea what was happening. I was certainly far too ashamed of what I perceived as weakness to share my feelings with my wife, let alone family or friends. Without help, things rapidly became worse and I arrived at the point where I felt I could no longer go on,” Mr Lowder recalled.
“Somehow in that final moment, I reached out to my wife. Help came, but so did the stigma.”
Yet it was a casual conversation with a neighbour that led him to create Craft Beer Coopery, a craft beer subscription service deliberately designed with conversations and connections in mind.
“While working in the backyard one afternoon, my neighbour Jason stuck his head over the fence and offered up a beer. Over the two hours and two beers that followed I learnt more about Jason’s life than I had in the previous five years that we had been neighbours,” said Mr Lowder.
The subscription boxes contain nine craft beers, that include tasting notes and beer snacks to promote the beverages to be shared among mates.
According to Mr Lowder, subscribers can also “craft it forward” by sending a box to a mate and offering to share “a cold one” with them soon.
Mental health among business leaders hit the spotlight in March, with the news that billionaire businessman James Packer had quit his corporate responsibilities to battle mental illness.
In the lead up to Mental Health Week in October 2017, business coaching consultant Ben Fewtrell said mental health problems among business owners are all-too-common.
“Many business owners that come to us have a lot of stress and worry, and this leads to relationship, health and self-esteem issues, and ultimately, bad business decisions. It’s just a vicious cycle that is going to get worse,” he said.
“They get so overwhelmed by deadlines and the pressure to look like they have everything under control, that they forget to stop and look after themselves. It can be difficult to let down their guard and ask for help.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.