Empowering mums to safe-guard their mental health
Can you introduce yourself and tell me about your current role?
I’m Sara Campin, I’m the founder and CEO of Nourish, a mental wellness app for mothers. In my previous career, I spent 13 years working first in IT and then strategy consulting for the life sciences industry. I’ve worked in both the corporate and charitable sectors, in both in-house and external roles. I was Head of Research Strategy at Cancer Research UK when my successful career collided smack bang with new motherhood! All the things that helped me excel at my career, seemed to make motherhood harder.
It is from my own personal struggles with my mental health in motherhood (both as a new mum and in juggling the pressures of work and mothering), and the transformational impact that self-care has had on my wellbeing and my ability to show up more often as both the mum and colleague I want to be, that lead to the idea behind Nourish and gives me the drive and passion to support other mums.
Can you tell us more about the Nourish app?
At Nourish we empower mums to safe-guard their mental health, so they can find more love, joy, balance & calm in motherhood and show up more often as the mum they want to. Self-care is hard for all of us, but particularly for mums who find it really difficult to put their own needs first or have the time! So, our aim is to make self-care easy, acceptable, and relevant for mums.
The Nourish app offers a multidisciplinary, on-demand self-care toolkit and compassionate, empathetic support team in mums’ pocket. The current app is a specially curated library of unique meditation videos and quick reads across a range of different wellbeing disciplines, such as, mindfulness, yoga, psychology insights, breathing exercises and much more. All the content is created by a team of mental health and wellness experts, who are all mums themselves and understand the struggles of modern parenthood first-hand.
In the future we want to develop new product features to help mums create and embed positive, life-changing habits.
What stage are you at in the development at the moment?
We launched the first version of the app in 2019 on a shoe-string budget, off the back of a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and kindness and support behind the mission. We raised Pre-seed investment in 2020 to start testing marketing channels and further validate the product market fit. Now, we are looking to raise a Seed round to grow the team, invest in the product, demonstrate impact through research and transform and accelerate user growth.
Is the app for women who have just given birth?
No the app is for all mums, not just new mums and in the future we plan to support dads too. Our vision is to be part of a parent’s tool kit from the birth of their first child, all the way through; supporting them through the rollercoaster of parenting.
Having said that, we recognise that in those early months of motherhood, mums are particularly vulnerable and face specific challenges, so there is specific content to support those new mum struggles.
What made you decide to create the app, what inspired you?
Research by the NCT suggests 50% of mums struggle with their mental health during pregnancy or the first year after birth and 50% go undiagnosed and untreated due to the stigma and fear of ‘failure’ and so every year millions of mums across the globe struggle alone, without support.
I was one of those mums. I struggled with my mental wellbeing after the birth of both of my children. The first time I did not identify with having a mental health issue, but in hindsight I now know I did, albeit on the mild to moderate end. Our mental health is on a spectrum and we all struggle from time to time. Second time around, I did reach out to my GP for support, but I wasn’t ‘ill enough’ to be offered tailored support by the NHS. I was prescribed anti-depressants and a group CBT course for generalised anxiety. I felt frustrated by the lack of support tailored to my needs as a mum.
Work and mothering
A couple of years after returning to work after my second, I struggled again and was close to burn out. Pouring all my energy and mental resources into my work, leaving nothing left for my kids, and I certainly wasn’t practising self-care to refill my cup. I was shouty, irritable and stressed out much of the time, consumed by feelings of guilt and failure. I woke up one day and thought, this is not the mother I want to be! And set off on a mission to find more love, joy, balance and calm in modern motherhood.
For the first time since becoming a mum, I decided to invest in myself. I started working with a coach to explore how I could find more balance in my working mum life and reignite the passion for my work. I also started practicing mindfulness. This was the beginning of my journey with self-care – which ultimately transformed my life as a mum and had an enormous positive impact on not only my wellbeing but that of my kids and the relationships with them and my husband.
My biggest regret is not having the knowledge and practical wellbeing tools on the app, that I now use daily, at the start of my motherhood journey. My personal mission with Nourish is to give other mothers easy access to that gift of self-care tools.
What challenges have you faced so far?
Many! Being a small core team with limited budget is really hard, especially when juggling kids at home as well. It is hard to know which way to go as there are often so many different directions and opportunities; but you have to prioritise / make a decision to just keep moving forward, especially when you have a small team.
What advice would you have for others who are creating a healthcare app?
Building a team of advisors / champions around me to cheer me on through the tough times and keep me accountable, whilst also giving input along the way has been key. I think this is important and any stage – and recognising that that support team will probably change and look different at different stages in your journey.
It can really help to find an accelerator that is relevant to your area. We have been involved in a couple, including one focused on Femtech and one focused on London health-tech start-ups. They have been great for building networks with both relevant founders and advisors. It is also important to have strong passion and mission that you really believe in to keep you going through the rollercoaster of entrepreneurial life.
Finally, I am so grateful for having the Nourish app and all the self-care tools at my fingertips. I have learned first-hand, the importance of looking after my mental health every day – as a mum and a founder!
Do you have plans for any future developments of the app or anything new?
Yes, plenty. Our vision overall is to transform the wellbeing of parents and their families across the globe. To date we have been mainly focused on mums in the UK, but our ambition is to scale globally and expand to parents. In addition, we want to create and launch regular new content, including courses, and develop and launch new mental fitness features on the app, to support behavioural change and facilitate the creation of positive, life changing habits. Finally, we are also planning to collaborate on some research, to generate robust evidence demonstrating the positive impact the Nourish app has on mums’ wellbeing.
What’s the best advice someone has given you that’s helped you in your career?
The importance of networking, relationship building and collaboration. Finding advisors to support you, but also giving back and sharing your learnings with those coming behind you. And shifting your mindset from competition to opportunities for collaboration.
What do you see for or hope for, for the future of digital health and health care aps?
There is a huge need and opportunity, accelerated by the pandemic, for empowering digital health technologies to really transform care and deliver a more patient centric approach; as well as to empower patients to take charge of their health and wellbeing. I hope there is continued innovations in this area. I am interested to see how the tech evolves to combine and balance both the technology driven and human elements of care and support.
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