Originally from Poland, Krystian Fikert came to Ireland in 2004 with a degree in Clinical Psychology. On seeing the difficulties faced by people seeking mental health services, Krystian set up an affordable and accessible psychotherapeutic service. By drastically reducing admin costs, and giving clients rapid access to counsellors and psychotherapists, MyMind allowed people to quickly talk to a mental health professional, and so avoid the prohibitive costs of private services or the long waiting lists of the public sector.
A key moment in the development of MyMind came in 2009 when Krystian was recognised by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland as an emerging social entrepreneur. This recognition gave Krystian access to a wide network of business supports that helped develop MyMind. In 2010, MyMind was awarded funding by ESB Electric Aid and The One Foundation, and became a recipient of the David Manley Award for social enterprise. In the same year, MyMind first received support from the HSE, through the National Office for Suicide Prevention.
With the help of all of these partners, MyMind grew each year, supporting more and more clients. From impacting 398 lives in 2009, by 2011 it was reaching 2,032 people.
The support from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland continued in 2011, when Krystian became an awardee of the Elevator Award which provides social entrepreneurs in the early stages of a project with funding, support and training to enable them to develop and scale their idea and maximise their impact. This helped MyMind reach even more clients. A new centre opened in Dublin’s Northside to accommodate demand, while the centre on Dublin’s Southside saw an ever increasing number of appointments.
Grants from the Arthur Guinness Fund and collaboration with BoehringerIngelheim propelled MyMind’s growth in 2012 as its social enterprise approach to the provision of mental health services became increasingly well known.
The addition of web-based mental health support through the innovative MyMind Online platform vastly increased its ability to reach more and more clients. People can access individual counselling services via video conference, and free of charge online consultations.
MyMind expanded outside Dublin when Minister Kathleen Lynch opened the Cork centre in 2013. Crucial to the most recent expansion of MyMind has been Krystian winning the SEI Impact Award in 2013, which helps entrepreneurs already delivering an effective solution to some of Ireland’s greatest social and environmental challenges to scale their organisations. Since the Impact Award, MyMind has opened a new centre in Limerick and the number of appointments has grown to 1,200 a month in October 2014.
MyMind’s goals for the next two years involve maximising the potential of existing services, expanding its network of services and reaching financial breakeven by 2016. To date, MyMind has been able to generate 73% of its own finances, and with the growth of its services is on track to meet the goal of self-sustainability in two years time.
Mental Health in the Workplace
The most recent addition to MyMind’s services is MyMind at Work, which seeks to promote mental wellbeing in the workplace through talks, seminars and workshops. In 2014, over 15 companies used MyMind at Work to help employees develop emotional resilience, a number that is sure to grow in 2015.
From its origins in a community centre in North Dublin, MyMind has grown to four locations across Ireland, with a thriving online support service and a workplace program impacting over 14,000 lives to date.