Written by: Alicia Hatcher | Posted: 21 November 2018 | Modified: 21 November 2018

This Black Friday we’re doing it differently, donating not discounting. 

Our co-founder, Emile Bernard has suffered with mental health issues throughout his life and wants to lift the lid on the taboos around this for men. This Black Friday weekend, we’re making it a Calm Friday. We will be donating 10% of all website sales to support our chosen charity, CALM, to support their mission to end male suicide. Which is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. 

Find out how Emile deals with the pressures of the business and dealing with struggles of anxiety.


When did you first experience anxiety?

"I’ve had different variant degrees of depression most of my adult life. Sometimes mild and manageable and sometimes not, but I didn’t really understand/come to terms with what my thoughts or feelings actually were until I had my first panic attack and started having morbid thoughts few years ago."


What do you think triggered this?  

"I still don’t know if there was a single trigger that started it all. I’ve always remembered having feelings of inadequacy, which probably played a big role in having low, sad, moods. Most of all, bottling emotions probably had a snowballing effect as those thoughts and feelings got worse as the years went on."   


What made you talk to someone about it? 

"I knew I needed to start talking about it when my suicidal thoughts were becoming more frequent. I had to speak to somebody who knew, who understood and who could help. But I couldn't bring myself to."


How long did you have to wait to speak to someone? 

"It was years before I first openly spoke about it; but when I did - I felt this immediate sense of relief and it made me realise, you just have to open up."


How do you feel now? Do you still struggle? 

"I’ve got a totally different outlook on it all now. I definitely have my days where my mood is low every now and again, but after months of one on one sessions and cognitive behavioural therapy, I feel well equipped to understand my triggers and how to deal with them when they come up."   


How did you feel starting your own company? Did this make your anxiety worse or better?

"If anyone tells you they don’t have any anxiety when starting or owning a business, they're lying. I also think being proud and passionate about something can really help those negative emotions."


Do you think enough business people are open about their mental health?

"No, I feel that the stigma around mental health is still way too much of a barrier for people to get past."

What would you say to those men who are struggling right now?

"Just talk! Being vulnerable to mental health issues is not the same thing as weakness, I think that’s an important distinction for people to understand. There’s no shame in asking a medical professional for help if you’ve broken your arm so that same kind of rational should be used with mental health issues. The first time you talk to someone about it, you’ll feel a huge weight lifted."


Do you think enough is done to support men who do have mental health issues?

"There’s definitely more attention than there ever has been, but there does need to be more. It’s shocking to find out just how many guys are just begging to talk to someone, it’s like they’re bursting at the seams. Since I’ve been more open and talking about my own issues to my friends, I’ve been amazed at just how many of them have just been waiting for someone to start the conversation about it, so they can talk about loneliness/depression/anxiety. It’s been really eye opening."


Do you think being creative with flavours and ideas at your company has helped to improve your mental wellbeing?

"Working creatively means I live inside my own head and thoughts a lot, where can sometimes be a dangerous place for someone dealing with mental health issues, but I really do love the work I do and creating flavours and experience that other people can enjoy whilst having a good work environment really improves my mental wellbeing."


Help us raise as much money as we can this Black Friday, shop all your favourite alcohol confections over on our shop.

For more information on our chosen charity, CALM, head over to their website.

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