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Beyond Two Percent: Mental Health ft Jayne Sibley & Saira Rahman

"89% of people said that managing everyday money was a major cause of stress and worry for them. So being able to alleviate that in one way or present people with a solution that helps them and takes that away is why we're here" - Jayne Sibley

Beyond Two Percent: Mental Health ft Jayne Sibley & Saira Rahman
Listen to the on all streaming platforms 

In celebration of Mental Health Month, Helen and Julie were joined by two incredible guests:

All four of our speakers discuss how their own mental health struggles affect them as women, so this episode is very personal to them all. In addition to discussing the importance of mental health, they also provided practical tips on building resilience and navigating seasons of uncertainty.

‎Beyond Two Percent: Beyond Two Percent: Imposter Syndrome on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Beyond Two Percent, Ep Beyond Two Percent: Imposter Syndrome - 20 Apr 2023

Transcript

Helen 1:54
Thank you, guys, both for joining the podcast today. I think this is such an interesting topic. And we all know that mental health does not affect men and women in equal measures. So I'm really excited to have a conversation with you guys and see what it means to you.

So that's where I think I want to start, really like asking you, Jayne and Saira like what it means to you.

So Jayne, what does mental health mean to you?

Jayne 2:15
It's really important to me just from my own Sorry, I just say thank you for having me. Actually, it's really nice to be invited along here today.

So yeah, it's really important to me on a on a personal level, then I've definitely found myself in situations where my mental health has been sort of stretched to its its max caring for my mom and dad who have dementia and a young family at the time.

So I've definitely experienced this sort of stresses and strains of, of life that can have a negative impact on your mental health. And not only that, you know, the business that we've set up.

And as it points to women specifically, I think it disproportionately affects us, because of the fact that we face a lot more, we also have to deal with a lot more at home, we are also usually the caregivers, if we decide to have families, we're usually the ones that have fertility problems, if there are fertility problems. So there's just a lot more of a mental burden that we carry. And it's difficult to decide what we're bringing to work and what we're not. So mental health is most definitely a priority to me as well.

Helen

So Saria, if we stay on you like how do you kind of balance that out? Like you sort of mentioned there that women are affected disproportionately when it comes to mental health, especially being the caregivers and in Jayne's position? She's the caregiver, she's she looks after her parents as well as her children. So, like, how do you balance? How do you balance that? What do you balance that?

Saira

Yeah, I mean, it's hard. It's really hard, especially as like a leader at your company, there's, there's this fine line that everyone kind of expects you to border between professionalism and being able to share your vulnerability. I think, from my perspective, I've always wanted to share some of that vulnerability because I want people to feel comfortable being able to talk about the things that make them who they are. So there's, I don't know, there's this grey space between over sharing and not sharing enough and I think more men tend to not share enough and for most women, we also don't really share enough but we try a lot harder to be our most authentic selves. I think for me too. I'm, I'm an Aries and I have trouble sort of like holding things in.

Julie 4:46
So there's moments really I'm definitely more vulnerable than I probably even should be at that point. Which I think is it I'm glad I am a vulnerable person because I think holding that in can lead to potentially bigger issues. But I think women in general, like you said, tend to, you know, let things out more than men who tend to bottle things in.

And again, that can that's just like a tendency. There's definitely women that hold things in and men that lead things out too. But I think that leads to a lot of the ways that we perceive mental health struggles and whatnot,. Have you guys seen, you know, startups out there that you think could help people benefit in this space? I mean, you talk about how many consumers can't pay for an emergency expense. And that leads to mental health struggles ultimately, most lots of time, but from your point of view, like how do you think Fintech is doing things to help here beyond just like companies taking care of their own employees, which we can dive into later?

Jayne 5:54
think there are more and more fintechs popping up to address the specific needs of families here in the UK and the cost of living crisis. And I think it's been a real, I think, sort of digital innovation to help those families can be really beneficial.

Helen 6:15
I mean, I think your startup addresses that. Like, I mean, maybe it makes sense to give them a good elevator pitch on it. Because I think, like, I've heard your story . And I think that is, even though if it's not directly about your mental health, I think you address a mental health problem by creating some stuff.

Jayne 6:34
Yeah, no, absolutely. Just from caring for my mom and dad, you know, that that worry. And the stress that was caused for me and my brother through my mom's mismanagement of her money due to her dementia was incredible, you know, it was out of control, and she was losing money every single day.

Whether that be overspending, or falling victim, or giving her money away that she didn't really have to people on the street, you know that it was incredibly stressful and I think when you are caring for someone living with dementia, you face lots of challenges.

And often there are solutions out there, so Mum couldn't remember to take her medication every day. So we set up a telephone reminder service, you know, there was a solution to that problem that we had when it came to managing her money, there was no solution, which added to the stress and worry. So that's what fueled us to create Sibstar, which is a way for people living with dementia to manage their money more safely, and not lose it or give it away unnecessarily.

And when we looked at the wider market for whether there was a market for more, more than me and my mum, for this product, you know, 89% of people said that managing everyday money was a major cause of stress and worry for them. So being able to alleviate that in one way or present people with a solution that, helps them and takes that away a bit is why we're here, really.

Saira 7:58
I mean, I think Sibstar is one of those rare, beautiful fintechs that support something in the mental health space.

Generally, I think a lot of the products that FinTech creates, helps alleviate, you know, different different methods of being able to assist with debt. I think those types of FinTech products help on the mental health side. You know, I also sometimes contemplate if Fintech is making it a little bit too easy to also help curate some mental health problems, particularly when it comes to trading and whatnot. But I'm still kind of sorting through exactly where I sit on the fence with a lot of the products that we have a out there,

Helen 8:37
I think that's really interesting point, like, we gamify everything, like from dating to fitness to finances, and there is a real, you know, correlation between this kind of like mental health stress and like how, how we look at our finances now, or the easiest way to look at finances?

And I guess that's a really interesting question around product, like, how do you kind of tow that line between making it easy and accessible and fun for everybody to, to work to use, but also making sure that there are things in place that address some of these kind of like, darker sides of, like, gamifying, everything that we do? What do you think's doing?

Jayne 9:21
Yeah, you know, I guess the product we've built is it's about simplification, actually. So it's about stripping away some of the the sort of functionality that you don't need and coming right back to what do you need, you need a daily spending limit, you need the ability to turn off cash point withdrawals, for example. And actually, you have that certain amount of money that's sitting on that card only. And, you know, that's where you manage your everyday money.

So actually, it's about getting rid of the complexity and the confusion of this direct debit coming in and that direct debit going out and up. I got to pay the window cleaner that and I've got to get cash out for this, you know, that is making it easier for people and families, which I hope we do. So I guess we're operating in a slightly different space. It's about stripping it back and keeping it simple.

Helen 10:13
Yeah, I guess for you, you're you're trying not to gamify it, I'm making it as simple as possible because of the user audience. So what's your experience with that? Like, how do you feel like how do we kind of like balance those two lines between, I guess, gamification, trying to get like financial inclusion, but also making sure that we're not causing a cold, different mental health crisis? As you alluded to?

Saira 10:38
Yeah, I think it's tough because there's a misalignment of incentives sometimes depending on who you're talking to. So some platforms want to make it seamless so that you can have a seamless experience from start to finish during your transaction of whatever sort that is, but the seamlessness and the low friction ends up, increasing the likelihood that you're going to want to do it multiple times that you're going to want to gamify it that you're going to want to try to win, which isn't always necessarily the actual goal behind what you're trying to do.

You know, I think, somewhat alluding to different styles of investing apps, which I think are the ones that are probably the most problematic within the FinTech space, depending on who you're talking to. There are some that are incredible, that are extremely educational, and very beneficial to the end user. And there are some that I think, intentionally work to have you execute the most transactions possible, which is undoubtedly not an alignment of incentive between an investor and the actual platform itself. But I

Julie 11:42
guess we can take this onto like a personal level too. Like I've had mental health like ins and outs since high school, probably because, you know, being a high school girl is just so fun.

But I guess throughout that journey, I've never once really like turned to FinTech in particular to like, make me feel better. Partially just because like financial finances, were never a reason that I had mental health issues, it would be other things. But I wonder, you know, if companies, in general, are taking care of their employees and offering things that, you know, would help with mental health, I have seen like throughout my career, albeit sure there is more of an emphasis, like mental health Fridays, or, you know, offering one free therapy session a month and things like that, is that something so rare that you're seeing more companies in our space offer, or at least from like a US perspective, and then Jayne can offer more of a European lens, I feel like

Saira 12:33
it's definitely becoming more of a baseline, especially if you're remote work companies think about the larger companies in the US and how they do offer lots of mental health support, just because you almost have to, especially when you have so many people that are isolated and alone, and you know, working, working literally from home. So I do think that there's been an uptick in types of mental health support, and increasingly just better and better health insurance offerings, in order to sustain their employees is a benefit.

So I do think that that's becoming more prevalent, but I mean, I still think we have a long way to go in the general industry in terms of mental health, I think that there's a significant shortage of doctors when it comes to mental health moving to California and switching my doctor's was just a clear indication of how, how bad our healthcare system is. So it's something that I something that I worry about, but I do think it's something that's gradually improving,

Helen 13:43
When I when I was 21, for instance, and I found it really, really difficult to go to work.

So I mean, I lost my dad at 21 When I was in university, and for me, I was grieving.

And I was quite open about the fact that I was grieving and I feel like I still grieve like he was my dad.

But I think grief is something that people associate with like older people, I found work the workplace or entering the workplace really, really difficult because it was like my first I guess, mental health crisis.

And to be honest, I didn't know what I was doing, nor do I still know what I'm doing. Nor do I know what I'm doing now. And nor is it something that I still necessarily feel like I have a full grasp on. But I say that to say like, you've all been in the workplace or you've all experienced what the workplace looks like, in any form.

And I guess I have a more like freelance career now. But I guess I would just want to open it up and say, you know, I know you're a CEO now but when you are in the workplace or you as a CEO, like how do you support people going through something and it doesn't necessarily have to be grief, but I think we all Have I like seasons where things are harder? And like, what does that look like?

Jayne 15:06
Yeah, I think as people are better educated about mental health, and the conversations more open around mental health, your own and being able to spot the signs and other people who might be struggling, then that can only benefit all as a whole, you know, that can benefit our friendship groups, our families, the places where we work, and only by we education, those open conversations, can those organisations, for example, pick up and put strategies and plans in place to support their employees?

You know, because of my personal experience, if someone in the team is experiencing something difficult at home, and I naturally have a very empathetic approach.

So it sort of runs through the lifeblood of what we do. Both outwardly to the customers, we help. And hopefully, as we grow our team, internally as well, that's really important. We should be leading by example. In that sense,

Julie 16:14
I think one other way that I can now recently relate to is just the way we treat maternity and paternity leave, like obviously, the UK has very good or like good maternity leave policy, maybe not good paternity leave policy, as Helen and I have discovered, but the US is still shit for lack of a better word.

And that's one of the most emotional and stressful and when you're the most prone to having mental health issues, and we're like, oh, yeah, like, you're not gonna get any paid leave.

Like you're lucky if you live in a state like New York or California that does offer you like four weeks, or whatever it is, but like,

Are you kidding me? It's just, at least we have some companies in the FinTech space that are offering better leave. But it's still not that great to just like thinking through that, and then the fact that you're expected to work up until you actually deliver the baby or like a month or two before you have the kid like you go away, because the last month or two is very stressful. And the last thing you need to be doing then is working.

Saira, you're kind of like going through this a little bit right now. What are some of your thoughts on this? And like, do you think we're actually gonna be able to improve this in the next year or two? Or is this something we're just going to keep, like, you know, knocking our heads on,

Saira 17:30
this is what I struggle with. I'm fortunate because the company that I work for right now actually has an incredible maternity and paternity leave policy relative to the rest of our country. That being said, there's there's a lot of things surrounding like fertility and returning and maternity leave within our country that I absolutely hate, I struggled very deeply to get pregnant.

Getting pregnant at all was a surprise for me. And even still, we don't have a bereavement policy for women when they have miscarriages.

I will never forget multiple times in the middle of a fundraise for another company and I, there's just like, the level of stress that your body goes under, in order to bear a miscarriage as a woman is is painful, both emotionally and physically, which is something that nobody addresses.

And I know that I have friends that go back to work the next day, and I just don't know how they do it. At least at a bare minimum. I was fortunate that I worked from home for the last several months, but that's something that I think about a lot. In terms of the actual maternity leave, I don't know what that's like, because I haven't been through it myself.

Again, I feel like it's different for people that work from home. I'm like fortunate in that sense. I honestly can't imagine for the people that do have to go to the office every day. Like, it's already hard for me to get off the couch, I just can't imagine. And I'm only I'm only like between six and seven months at this point. So it's just a very different situation.

But in terms of the policy and in terms of the mental health piece.

Living in California has been hugely beneficial to me because I have tonnes of mental health support. It's fully covered by my insurance.

I don't think that exists in other states. I suffered a lot when I was living in Washington in addition to living in Denver, working for different companies at that point. And yeah, I can't even imagine being this far along and not having the support that I do, both from my family and externally from therapy. So it's just much it's very difficult to manage that work life balance when you're pregnant. And you have trauma in the background from your history so I just I feel for people that have are going through it and don't have the support that they need because I know that that exists almost everywhere in our country. And it's, I would imagine, it's impossible.

Helen 20:06
Thank you so much for sharing that. Like, I think, I think a lot of people, I mean, I think a lot of people can relate to kind of the struggles in the way you put it

Because before I lost my dad, for instance, I don't think I was very empathetic, to be honest with you. I mean, to be fair, I was 20 years old or whatever.

So but to be honest, like, I looked back, for instance, at other people who potentially could have been going through things, and I even remember apologising, like when I lost my dad, just because of, I just didn't think I was very empathetic to like, like, people situations, or what other people were going through and these types of things.

And I think when once you've kind of been through something, you recognise it more. And you also, like, appreciate when people like, share it with you, because you know how hard it is for someone to go through something I was gonna ask you actually like how you cope, I mean, I don't know how to phrase it, but like how you cope, like, I tried art therapy yesterday, actually I'm not good at art at all.

But I did, I went to this like bereavement art group, which was weird and fun. And I was quite surprised that what was in my brain to be honest.

And I was wondering, actually, like, what, and actually I should also say, like, I am a grief facilitator, so I do, like, help other young people through their grief.

And yeah, I was wondering, you know, in terms of your struggle, I don't wanna say struggles, but just seasons. And I guess in terms of your seasons in life, should we say like, how you cope, because like you have all shared like your women, your mothers, or soon to be mothers, you've gone through, you're going through all these different elements like Jayne's looks after her parents, and also her children.

And Julie's just had a baby. And Saira is about to have a baby. So these are like, different seasons, like so how do you kind of cope with all these things happening?

And yeah, like, like, how do you have, like, what does it look like for you?

Jayne 22:09
Yeah. The big question, I don't know, if there is an there is an answer, I think, I think being able to recognise when you are finding things difficult, and when you know, and when things are ticking along, okay. And life is actually for for a while, quite manageable, for being able to recognise when it is overwhelming.

And being able to see the signs is definitely the first step to say, actually, there's quite a lot on my plate, I keep dropping the ball, I keep forgetting things I'm not sleeping, I think being able to recognise the signs is definitely the first step.

Because if you don't recognise the signs, you can't do anything about it. So I think that having that self awareness about how you react to the stresses and strains of whatever's happening in your life is really important.

And then you can take action. And I think it's about definitely asking for help sharing your story or whatever is going on for you at the time. Being kind to yourself and giving yourself a bit of a break.

And going back to some of the things that were for me, you know, that might be doing things that help you feel better, whether that be the art therapy, or cooking or a walk in the garden, or it can be really small things.

And I think that's another thing for me. And it has to be a small thing that's going to help me manage a difficult situation, if I lay down a challenge to do an hour's yoga every day is never going to happen.

I've set myself up to fail. But actually saying I could spend 10 minutes doing yoga every day. Well, no, I'm doing that that's achievable. So it's putting those achievable little things in place that keep us on a level ground.

Saira 24:05
Yeah. Just kind of going off of what Jayne was saying. I mean, I think it's twofold. For me, it's first and foremost, offering the space to anyone that wants to have a conversation about something that they're going through and get letting them share if they feel comfortable sharing or if they need to share in order to feel better for them and also allowing them allowing anyone that needs to have the time to go heal in whatever way that they need.

I think those are probably the two most important that I've learned over time. And that's like, as much or as little time as you need and as much or as little that you feel like sharing. It's just something that that you offer to anyone that's going through something and then yeah, I mean anything beyond that, like from a personal perspective, I always encourage people to talk to someone that's not involved in the situation as well whether that's a therapist or someone outside of the immediate situation that they're dealing with, just to make sure that they have said everything that they need to say, to help themselves heal.

Julie 25:12
Yeah, and I guess just in closing, I would just say that, for me, it's dependent on, you know, what I'm grieving and what stage of life I'm in what I need might change, it might be a really good boxing class just to like, punch some stuff and sweat it out. It might be a really good cry with a friend.

It might be, you know, just taking a long walk and getting some alone time and making that part of my routine and might be therapy and might be some sort of medication.

So really just like being open to whatever you might need in that moment, I think is super important, then, you know, I thank you guys for taking this discussion. I know it's not something that's always easy for people to talk about. So I appreciate the vulnerability, both coming from various tough situations. So Helen and I both really appreciate you guys opening up with us, of course,

Saira 26:00
thank you so much for having me. Thank you.