Graduate uses her brain to deliver mental health gift boxes

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A graduate has combined her knowledge of human personality and behaviour with the University’s Changemaker ethos by creating a ‘mental health’ gift box company.

Megan Partridge comes from King’s Lynn in Norfolk but now lives in Northampton and she started BrainboxUK following her degree in Psychology and Counselling at University of Northampton.

The Brainboxes are themed gift sets aimed at helping people kick-start a conversation about mental health (MH), a topic that can be difficult to broach.

The boxes contain items directly related to MH, such as stress busting tips and mindfulness advice, as well as general luxury products such as perfumes and toiletries.

Brainboxes are also heavily discounted, giving people an inexpensive way of approaching someone they think has an MH issue, or as a ‘pick me up’ gift to oneself.

The idea came to Megan during her studies at the University: “I have past experience of living with MH whilst I was studying for my degree. I started an online counselling service but this, coupled with my studies, became too much.

“Thankfully, the University offered me support and advice and what I always carried from this was to never rule out trying something new. So, working with Changemaker, I set about starting Brainbox.”

Megan worked with the University of Northampton’s Changemaker team to help form her idea into a fully-fledged social enterprise business.

Changemaker is an initiative that helps students, staff and members of the community to develop solutions to environmental or social problems to improve people’s lives, either at home or abroad.

Megan is supported by her peers Alanah Love and R’vanneth Brownlee, with all three also contributing to writing a blog for the website about MH, fashion and lifestyle.

Proceeds from all Brainbox sales are put back into the company, with 50% going toward funding the next phase in Megan’s MH crusade – an annual ‘MH camp’.

Set to start in 2019/2020, the event will be a combination of a traditional US summer camp and an English tea party.

Planned events will include physical fitness and sports, a kids’ camp and mindfulness activities, with agenda’s decided by guests rather than the organisers.

The Brainbox team also hope to expand the summer camp event to help people who have severe MH issues by offering free placements.

Megan added: “I’ve always been set on helping people in some way and I’m so glad the University have helped make Brainbox a reality. It is World Mental Health Day today, so I hope people will get behind us and use the boxes to make that important first-step to help someone open up about their MH.”

Brainbox also offer gift sets around ‘growing up’, with products and guidance to help those approaching adulthood. These include essentials to help people better organise themselves or housewarming products for those moving into their first home.

Brainbox’s work has been recognised with a nomination as Best Start-Up Venture of the Year at the University’s annual Changemaker Awards. To be held on Monday 12 November, the awards recognise the most innovative, inspiring and impactful Changemaker projects.

Find out more about BrainboxUK.

Find out more about psychology courses (undergraduate) at University of Northampton.

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