By Hanna Sarkkinen

Last April when I was creating my website for my Lets Mind Project, I found the My Big Idea Competition by coincidence. Reading up on the competition, I decided to participate with my idea, “The Mindful Mental Health Movement”. So far I have had a great experience!

My Project: The Mindful Mental Health Movement

The Mindful Mental Health Movement idea was born out of my own personal experience. From my professional experience as a nurse, I already know how prevalent mental health issues are, both in our society and globally. But when I struggled with mental health problems myself, I quickly learned how strong the stigma surrounding mental health issues actually is. This made me realise how people are often undereducated about mental health. Drawing from these experiences, I wanted my initiative to address this gap in education, when it comes to mental wellbeing.

Since starting my website I have heard so many stories of people struggling with their mental health. If anything, these stories have shown me that no one is immune to mental health problems, and how it is crucial for people to know that mental health and physical health often go hand in hand. As the World Health Organisation, WHO, states “There is no health without mental health”.

Research all over the world has shown that one of the most effective tools for both mental and physical wellbeing is mindfulness. It can be used to maintain a healthy mental balance, or improve this balance significantly. Because of this, I wanted to make sure our programme included mindfulness training, and make sure that this training would be accessible and achievable for all.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently revealed that in 2015, 3027 lives were lost to suicide. Every one of these suicides is one too many. I am hopeful that through our programme, we can improve these statistics for the better, and give people the knowledge, tools and techniques to keep their mind healthy, while also teaching them about how to get help when they are unwell. Through the Mindful Mental Health Movement we want to spread the message in communal spaces like schools, universities, workplaces, and community houses. We want our programme to be accessible to everyone, because offering these tools to everyone is the way to tackle the mental health stigma.

My Big Idea Start-Up Bootcamp at La Trobe Business School

On 8 October 2016, I attended the My Big Idea AU bootcamp day in Melbourne that was organised by La Trobe Business School. The bootcamp was an amazing opportunity for us participants to learn about startups and entrepreneur principles. Coaches and mentors from La Trobe Business School shared their valuable knowledge with us and taught us different techniques to test and develop our ideas. The atmosphere throughout the day was one of excitement, curiosity and support. Everyone was delighted to be part of this Bootcamp and embraced the opportunity to make a positive impact on our society. For me personally, the most important message of the day was to be brave and believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid of failure or mistakes because all great ideas have once started from a small “maybe dumb” idea which has been developed to a great success.

The Bootcamp was a start session for the My Big Idea AU online entrepreneur course, in which I am participating too. Since the Bootcamp session my brain hasn’t stopped buzzing and I have millions of ideas in my head about the Mindful Mental Health Movement. The next step for me, is to test my idea with a greater group of people. Based on this test, the next step is to take the concept in the right direction, and to make sure my idea correlates with the needs of the clientele. I am really excited to take these steps, as I learn more about start-ups. I am excited to master the tools to bring my idea to life and make it a success! And, most importantly, I hope that I can make a change in someone’s life.

Hanna Sarkkinen is a 32-year-old nurse from Finland currently living in Australia. She is a passionate surfer, snowboarder, nature lover, and the creator of the
Lets Mind Project.