The Venture Center announced Friday, Jan. 29 that the organization is launching a new mental health program designed to address the mental health concerns of entrepreneurs.
VCHealth is The Venture Center’s mental and emotional health initiative for the entrepreneurial and small business community in Arkansas and around the world. The Venture Center has partnered with Chenal Family Therapy and The Bridgeway to better provide for entrepreneurs going through mental health hardships.
Wayne Miller, the Venture Center’s executive director, recognized the need for mental health support for entrepreneurs when a member of his cohort, who was an entrepreneur in Northwest Arkansas took his own life.
“The ride on that roller coaster can be challenging. We realized that it was a really important time to talk about this conversation. It’s a real issue for entrepreneurs. Add COVID on top of all of this, and it’s even worse,” Miller said.
The BridgeWay’s director of business development Bruce Tremble described his own wake up call when talking with a mental health advocate who worked with the governor in 2015.
“What I learned from that call was alarming. Suicide was the leading cause of injury and death in Arkansas, and over twice as many people die from suicide annually than homicide. Those weren’t just statistics, those were real people,” Tremble said.
“Our goal with this series is to make sure that we’re doing our part to destigmatize mental health. We feel that it’s our duty as an entrepreneurial support organization to spearhead this effort,” said Ashley Jones, the managing director of community programs for the Venture Center. “If you are an employee, employer, business owner, entrepreneur, this series is for you.”
The VCHealth Series will include lessons on topics such as employer toolkits, spouses and partners, suicide, addiction, social media, substance abuse, PTSD, and burnout. The ongoing series will take place once a month. The next session will be Feb. 26, addressing mental health in the workplace.
“We have an opportunity to lead the way with the Venture Center in a way that nobody else is doing,” Ken Clark, Chenal Family Therapy’s founder and CEO, said.
“The way we make connections with people is through vulnerability,” Tremble added. For more information on VCHealth, visit the Venture Center’s website.