With record numbers of staff turnover and difficulties in recruitment, understanding and addressing mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is more important than ever. Matthew Jenkins, founder of HeadClear, is working to help people understand, control and improve mental health and wellbeing personally as well as in the workplace with an innovative app and web-based platform.

On his start-up journey over the last year, he has accessed a range services from BIPC Nottinghamshire including access to experts, resources and academic networks. Read on for our interview with Matt on his product and how he has accessed start-up support.

“I like to get people excited about the things I’m excited about.” Right now, that’s a mental health and well-being company, HeadClear.

“Having spent almost my entire working life in HR software, running mid to large HR and Payroll businesses in the UK and overseas, I have seen the positive (and negative) impact of the work environment on many lives. I also have two autistic children, who I adore, and they have educated my thinking, taught me many business lessons and a different way to see the world.

“That may sound a little corny, but it is obvious that our view of the workplace hasn’t kept pace with changes in our society and culture. When we are spending 8 hours or more a day at work, we should expect that the relationship between employee and employer to be healthy, strong and supportive. We would expect that in every other relationship that we choose!

“That isn’t always the case, which is why we are now seeing record numbers of staff turnover and huge difficulties in companies recruiting the right people. Evidence shows that 3 in 4 people have experienced poor mental health and the annual cost of mental health to businesses is now over £45bn.

“Being healthy is key to being productive in activities at home and work, it plays an important part in the health of our relationships and allows us to adapt to changes in our life. I believe that the foundation to better mental health is in prevention. That’s why I founded HeadClear.

“HeadClear allows people to understand, control and improve their mental health. It uses a camera in your phone to trace the blood flow in your face. Through this process, we are able to measure, track and predict stress and well-being scores, giving the user actionable steps to improve their mental health and well-being.

“By linking it to an organisation, you can then include planned and unplanned absence patterns along with providing the line manager and organisation with guidance and support steps to help control and support mental health in the workplace. Making small adjustments in the work environment can reduce the impact on mental health in the workplace ten-fold.

“I have no doubt that the developments in mental health awareness and the development of technology such as HeadClear, will create the structure for a better employer and employee relationship.”

How did the Business & IP Centre help?

“The BIPC were able to provide an incredibly useful network, which included links to academics and psychologists, marketing, accountants and start-up accelerators all which enabled us to move quickly in the early stages of our business growth. During this time, I had one-to-one discussions with Mark Dunwell from Smorgasbord in their A2B Accelerator mentoring for advice. They were also keen to provide product feedback and guide us to appropriate funding that could be useful to our business.

“The BIPC team and their partners were enthusiastic, keen to help and always provided a quick reply.”

Matthew Jenkins, founder of HeadClear

Best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?

Many (many, many) years ago, I was working my first job in a supermarket, someone once told me that the secret to success is to be “helpful, useful and kind”. That phrase has stayed with me ever since in every role I have been in.

Being helpful and asking for help is critical to the success of any objective or goal, it isn’t very often that you have a business goal that can be achieved by you alone.

Everyone wants to be productive. In my opinion, the feeling of contributing meaningfully to something is the best feeling of success you can get, and it’s sustainable. The way to a healthy mind is to know that you are making a difference (big or small) and contributing to something.

There is growing evidence that kindness is positively associated with well-being. Not just for those people who receive it, but for those who give it. Kindness is more than just “telling people to be kind” it’s a genuine investment in people and our relationships.

Most likely to be found in/at?

 I’m very family orientated, so doing anything with my wife and children makes me happy. For a little me time, it’s either golf or the gym.

Has there been a book that impacted you?

Yes, “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the creator of Nike“. It’s a beautifully told story and it is thrilling to read. It also captures the tenacity in a business. The ability to act and be decisive even if the path isn’t clear. If you haven’t read it already, I would certainly recommend.

Visit the HeadClear website for more information on the product and team.

@HeadClear website