Foremind, an employee wellness startup, has raised $200,000 in seed funding from early-stage investor Skalata Ventures.
The money will be used to improve access to mental health care in the construction and construction industry.
Co-founder and engineer Joel Anderson was inspired to build Foremind after a bad experience with an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Each year, around 200 Australian construction workers die by suicide – more than from work-related accidents.
Anderson said Foremin’s mission is to ensure companies can provide quality mental health care and wellness to their employees.
“We are a generation of people who are hesitant to call,” he said.
“So when someone is on top struggling with their mental state, the hardest thing to do is pick up the phone and talk to a stranger about it.”
People using Foremind can self-evaluate their anxiety level by answering a series of assessment questions and also suggest steps for support.
Anderson said this is vital as claims for mental health compensation have increased by 50% over the past six years.
“There are 66,000 small construction businesses in Australia where worker support programs are often non-existent,” he said.
“Foremind wants to make mental health care as accessible as possible for employees by making the platform available on any device, anywhere, anytime.”
The startup is already working with construction companies including Roberts Co, Intermain, Connect Resources and MAX Build.
Anderson said addressing mental health issues provides better financial ROI for construction employers through better employee retention and fewer lost workdays.
Skalata Investment Manager Tom Smalley said Foremind’s mission to transform mental health in a notoriously tough industry was inspiring
“The ‘she’ll be right’ attitude is costing our community hundreds of lives, and to a much lesser extent, billions of dollars in lost productivity each year,” he said.
“We look forward to the social good that can be achieved by putting mental health in every construction worker’s pocket.”