CAREN is spreading mental healthcare so that girls can spread their wings


<Interviewee Profile>
Representative- Momoko Matsuura

Joined a bank as a fresh graduate. She worked in personal sales dep’t as a life planner. After retiring, she enrolled in a design school. While working as a freelancer in charge of web, print media, and SNS design for the mail order industry, someone close to her suffered with mental health issues. That prompted her to start learning about psychotherapy, therapy, and counselling, with a focus on mindfulness, from experts in Japan and abroad in 2019.  She then decided to launch her brand Caren and started to collect funding for it through crowd funding. After launching CAREN, she has been selling original products including CBD products and providing services such as mindfulness-based psychoeducation, group therapy, counseling, and retreats.

This article is copy-righted from Life-Tech KOBE.

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<Service Introduction>

Offers MINDFULL LIFE THERAPY a 3-month short-term curriculum. Through group and individual sessions, the program offers mindfulness-based psychoeducation and therapy. The program is designed for women in their 20s and 30s who have low self-esteem and are prone to problems, and it helps them gain confidence, self-acceptance and ability to resolve their problems. Another attractive feature of the service is the formation of a closed and safe community, through therapy and WS that focuses on lettig participants share their feelings through communicating with each other. In the future, the company plans to develop services centered on mental health care, including the sale of notebooks with the theme of writing meditation for self-dialogue through writing.

I want to spread awareness for mental health care to the world

CAREN is bringing mental health care closer through its service

-Please tell us how and why you started your own business.

After retiring from working at the bank, I went into studying what always interested me-Design. While working in jobs related to design I started wanting to be involved in designing a service or a product in the future. When a member of my family suffered from mental illness, I began to learn about psychotherapy, therapy, and counselling, with a focus on mindfulness related to mental health. As I practiced what I learned, I realized that these ideas, which are useful in preventing mental illness, should be more widespread throughout the world, and this is what prompted me to start the services I now offer in CAREN.

-It seems that the idea of mental health care is more widespread overseas than in Japan. Do you think there is a particular reason for it?

Mental health care has become the norm, especially in Europe and the U.S., and the market in the mental health area is growing rapidly in those regions. There are many opportunities to learn about mental health in daily life, such as mental health classes in schools and mindfulness programs in companies. Because of this social trend, sharing one’s mind and being open about one’s weaknesses are more common than in Japan. So it is more accessible there, people tend to go to counselling or seek help when they need it more openly. I would be happy if mental health care spreads in Japan like abroad in the future.

Creating an environment where people can live according to their uniqueness

-What made you decide to participate in the SDGs Challenge?

When I was wondering whether I should continue to operate my business as a sole proprietor or make it more widespread. That is when I learned about the SDGs Challenge. I felt that my current business aligns with the SDGs in a way it makes it easier for people to live and work. Some challenges are challenging to tackle on my own. So I thought of having other entrepreneurs around me and also having a mentor that the SDGs challenge provides would be helpful for my business. Therefore, I decided to participate in this event.

-What are some of the progress you made through participating in the program?

Before I participated, I had imagined other participants to be very foreign to me because of the scale of their businesses and even the things we do, and our thinking. I imagined that they were from a completely different world in terms of the way they thought and what they did. However, when I actually got involved and then got to know them. I realized that the issues we all face and the things we are all thriving to solve are a accumulation of small changes that we are all creating. And that we were all creating services that have an impact on the world through a series of small efforts. Also, once a week we have a meet-up time with the participants, and one of the entrepreneurs suggested the idea of developing a business-to-business service. I could not have come up with that idea on my own. I can say that my business and my world have  expanded since participating in this program.

-What services do you want to provide to society in the future?

During my 20s, I was always very worried about relationships, how to handle money and work, and what to do with my life. I did not have a place to discuss such nor a place to learn to solve them, So I was suffering and solving the problems on my own. Now, I am often consulted by people in their 20s who are facing the same problems as me at the time. In addition to mental health and psychotherapy, I would like to expand my services to include other topics of worry such as work and finance. And offer a service where people can learn valuable and practical knowledge to face and solve their problems. I would like to create an environment where people with problems do not have to be alone but can consult with someone about the issues they are facing and gain knowledge to solve them so that they can build a life that is uniquely their own.