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Entrepreneurs set up creative businesses to improve their mental health

Creative businesses Photo: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

Two North East entrepreneurs have focused their energy on setting up creative businesses in order to improve their mental health.

Emma Quinn from North Tyneside and Simon Bourne from Wearside both hit crisis point with their mental health in the past four years, but now they are running successful businesses, which they say can help others who live with mental illnesses.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Emma Quinn was suicidal last year, after having a severe episode of depression. She also lives with OCD and has had difficulties with her mental health since her teens.

Now 26, Emma found salvation through creative arts. She started producing copper animal pictures and now she makes special art and craft boxes to help people find mindfulness and peace through art therapy.

The point where I was truly suicidal there was no emotions attached there. I was like really empty, almost like I was living life underground and you could hear everything, but you couldn't quite see everything clearly. It was just muted and there was just you, so that was really isolating... Art just gives you that release of peacefulness, especially if you've got a lot of self-loathing thoughts.

– Emma Quinn, Piffy & Egg
Emma Quinn Credit: ITV News

Simon Bourne runs the Hand Dyed Shoe Company and has lived with bouts of depression and anxiety since he was a teenager.

At his lowest point, Simon ended up in debt due to setting up his business and became extremely low. Business eventually picked up and he was able to focus his creativity in a therapeutic way, enabling him to deal with his depression through his craft.

It brings relaxation, almost a form of meditation. It takes your time away from over thinking things that would kind of cause the anxiety. It's not just the polishing of the shoes, the finishing of the shoes and the making of the shoes, it's more the entirety of the business, the thinking about marketing, thinking about PR, employment, everything that kind of comes with running a business.

– Simon Bourne, The Hand Dyed Shoe Co.
Simon Bourne Credit: ITV News

Simon told ITV News he thinks the whole way mental health issues are communicated needs to change in order to prevent stigma in the work place.

He said "If I am on a camera talking about anxiety, people's immediate response to that is that I'm brave and this word 'brave' about talking about it, we need to get rid of this. We need to lose it because if it is deemed or perceived as 'brave' then people are going to hold back more, because they will feel they aren't brave. It's not brave, it's just normal".