An organization with the mission to save lives sounds ambitious. However, as we take you back through our founders’ story, you’ll start to see where we’re coming from.
Until 2017, our collective view of mental health and wellbeing was typical of our generation (although let’s not reveal too many age-related clues here). Our approach to supporting people who were showing signs of struggling could be summed up in one sentence: “Everyone has a bad day, buddy – get over yourself!” It makes us cringe in embarrassment today. (“Man up!”)
But we weren’t the villains of the piece, just products of our background. Our founding team – Richard, George and Adrian – met through local rugby in the UK, in the main had only known a male-dominated education and workplace, and were more at home with ‘banter’ than speaking about feelings. Between us, we had clocked up hundreds of years of leadership experience (again, let’s avoid the age question) in both the corporate and sporting worlds.
So what changed? It took a series of sad events to jolt us out of our complacency. In the sport we love, we lost some young men to suicide. In our workplaces, we started to see more and more near misses. We had to sit up and make a difference.
Together we set off on a journey, not knowing where we were heading, and along the way we’ve been joined by some fantastic people and partnerships, including our ever-growing team in the United States of America.
The start of our journey went a bit like this:
Where could we have helped more? Were our experiences just isolated cases? Shockingly, they weren’t. As we widened our links with leaders in other workplaces, sports and schools we found many more cases. Yet the support was there and excellent people were ready with the skills to help. So where had things gone wrong?
Identifying the problem
After a lot of reflection, we realized that one of the key problems was the demand on our time and resources as leaders. Quite simply, how could we know who in our teams needed support? How could we prioritize the conversations that matter? It came down to a simple question: “If you only had time to make one call today, who in your team would you call?”
Working out the solution
Very quickly, we realized that doing nothing was not the answer. We identified that people in society today are very open to their online devices. You only have to look at social media like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok, and you’ll see that people trust and open up to their screens in a way that many would struggle to do face to face.
And that is how GoVox Wellbeing was born, although we can’t quite pinpoint a day (we’re dudes, we don’t remember all that stuff). It all started with us challenging ourselves to create a platform that connects people quickly and easily, enabling us to check in with each other, spot who needs help and increase happiness all round, because happiness is our new currency.
The rest is history and the platform has exploded, but it all still comes back to that core mission – saving lives – by focusing on catching problems early, when they are small and easier to resolve.