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New mental health start up launched

May 23, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Written By JOSHUA SANTOS

A Caledon resident has launched a new mental health organization recently. 

Gloria Maxx developed United.cool, a lead-by-example mental health in work enterprise. Maxx said mental health should not be treated any differently than a physical disability in the workplace. 

 “Our economies are over burdened with mental health losses, because people are afraid to speak up,” said Maxx. “I had a breakdown about 10 years ago at an agency owned by one of the top five-billion-dollar global advertising giants. There was no way to ever return – despite the fact that they had healthcare clients.”

Maxx explained the idea was established at Margaret’s, a Toronto community housing agency for mentally ill women. 

Maxx found herself homeless, depressed and on the brink of bankruptcy due to her recent business loses. She, however, found her passion to pursue United.cool while she was in the crisis room at the agency.

United.cool will act as an umbrella organization to three other ventures, a creative agency, impact incubator and a reality televison project, ShelterStart UP. 

“The creative agency and impact incubator will connect people, ideas and companies committed to championing high functioning professionals and entrepreneurs in the creative, technology and film sectors,” said Maxx. 

Maxx wants to prove she and others can deliver, despite their past mental health struggles. She has been working with her mentor Kevin Stolarick, who has guided her to create the first pitch deck for funding by helping her interweave years of work, ideas and her desire to be a part of using her mental health journey to help other realize their potential as Kevin is helping her realize her.

“Without Kevin’s guidance, world class experience and brilliant ideas I would have given up at idea state as I have in the past,” said Maxx. “I am so grateful to him.”

She wants to partner with mental health agencies and homeless shelters in Toronto, San Francisco, Caledon and Sonoma, all places she loves, to create jobs, products and services in which, she hopes, will help end mental health stigma in the workplace, by example.

She believes her team members, with past and present mental health issues, will be able to create and compete projects at work on budget and time. 

“People just hide their shame, their pain, and fear the stigma and job loss,” Maxx said.

For her tv program, Maxx would like to delve into the realities of homelessness in Canada. Maxx is currently in the process of pitching as UNITED.cool develops.   

Maxx was inspired to develop the project while watching Margaret Trudeau speak in 2016. 

“In her talk, she spoke of always being called a drama queen, said Maxx. “That stayed with me. Trudeau instilled a fire in me that night to get help for my own issues and to one day, share my journey, in my own way, so UNITED.cool can trace itself back to that evening.”

“I have been called a drama queen since I was in high school and I now embrace this. I want to unite other people like me, with all types of diagnosis who are medically able to work, and want to create, compete and succeed. I want to be dominant and defy the odds, no matter what.”

United.cool follows her previous initiative, HeartEsteem, which she developed to fight childhood obesity.   

Through HeartEsteemed, she encouraged people to draw hearts as a means of raising awareness of the mental and emotional anguish connected with childhood obesity, including its possible links to problems later in life. She’s also used it as a fund-raising effort for non-government organizations that fight the condition in lands where it’s an epidemic.

“When people read Bill’s article, they either judged me for disclosing I had tried to commit suicide at 12 and 17, or they resonated towards helping my cause,” said Maxx. “Someone even told me I would never again get a job if an employer sees that. That was true in one case, but false in other cases. Bill opened the door to my first attempts to share my mental health issues publicly.”



         

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