This week on my Mums in Business series I’m delighted to be featuring Nuala; the founder and CEO of Moment Health, a new technology company that aims to prioritise Maternal Mental Health and provide new parents with the tools and knowledge they need to sustain good mental wellbeing – from pregnancy through to parenthood.
This story tells of Nuala’s passion for improving health services for mums and their families the world over, and her mission to bring maternal mental health and early intervention for it into the mainstream. Read on to find out more about Nuala’s inspiring story and her top tips for setting up a business.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and Moment Health?
My name is Nuala Murphy, I live in Belfast and I am the founder and CEO of Moment Health – a technology company in the #femtech category working to improve support and services available to new parents who suffer depression or anxiety. We want to provide better access to mental health resources for the world’s mums and dads.
My first task was seeking the right person to fill Moment Health’s CTO role. Gavin Rooney not only has an incredible track record, working with leading Irish-based tech companies including Intercom and Ding, he has passionately stood behind the Moment Health mission from the outset. He is my right-hand man and the heart of our company’s engine room.
In November 2017, we launched our first consumer product – an app called Moment Health that helps parents track any potential changes in how they’re feeling and coping and provides the opportunity for early intervention.
The Moment Health app equips the user with a mood tracker, emotions diary and location tool to allow mums and dads to find support and services in their area. It’s available on iOS and Android in the UK, Ireland, Australia and the US, and we’ll be continuing our roll out to new markets throughout the year.
More recently, we have launched our first corporate offering, which allows businesses to offer the Moment Health app to staff members – either as an item that can be incorporated into their existing health package, or as a complimentary standalone tool.
What were your drivers and motivations for setting up Moment Health?
Probably a combination of where I am in my personal life – I have two young children – and my professional background working in software and health tech companies, which helped me think about potential solutions when it comes to maternal mental health, and indeed women’s health.
When I consider what research tells us – for example: that 20 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men suffer from antenatal or postnatal depression or anxiety; that 70 per cent of those suffering mental ill health during pregnancy don’t recognise their symptoms; that 50 per cent of new mums experience frightening thoughts or hallucinations – yet two thirds hide how they’re feeling because they’re worried about being judged in a negative way; that 23 per cent of women who died between six weeks and one year after pregnancy died from mental-health related causes – I am entirely compelled to do something to help improve things for the world’s families.
Research shows that 70 per cent of women admit they hide or downplay symptoms of mental illness. However, with early intervention, there is an 80-90 per cent recovery rate. Our purpose and mission is to make maternal mental health mainstream by offering parents easy access to resources that help them take care of their wellbeing.
Technology provides an opportunity for parents struggling with mental wellbeing to identify their symptoms, and our app acts as an empowering companion tool for those parents so they can understand they’re experiencing a treatable illness, and can also find out exactly where to go for help.
I worked with clinicians and medical professionals to ensure I was developing a tool that complements professional medical interventions and helps parents find the services they need in order to recover.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
Well, like any working parent, it’s a constant juggling act. I set up Moment Health less than two years ago and I’m learning as I go when it comes to balancing everything.
I try hard to prioritise, and weekends are all about family and very relaxed. My husband and I are both involved parents, and while we really do equally share most of the parenting and caring duties, I do reckon I still carry 100 per cent of the ‘mental load’.
Something that has worked really well for me in terms of ‘juggling it all’ is thinking of it as work/life integration. It’s a learning from Sheryl Sandberg, whose work and life philosophies I’ve been exposed to and admire as a result of my position as a regional leader for Lean In. In my experience, trying to achieve any form of a perfect balance is futile. So much of the time it’s all about going with the flow and compromise, compromise, compromise.
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
Gaining early stage investment and building a team – rallying a great team of dedicated people committed to helping us make maternal mental health mainstream.
Support comes from both inside and outside of the company in many different guises – and collectively we work very well together.
Maternal mental health is such a huge issue and it affects so many. The need is evident, and every one of us at Moment Health is driven by a collective determination to bring early intervention to as many women and their families as possible. That is our number-one focus and priority.
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
It’s going to be a huge learning curve, you have to ride the waves both up and down on a daily basis. Enjoy the journey. Learn from every piece of feedback – good and bad – and try to pay it forward in some capacity whenever you can, it’s good karma.
Thank you so much Nuala for taking part in my series, it was lovely to interview you, and I wish you the best of luck in the future.
If you would like to be part of my Mums in Business then just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in my series: Isabella & Us, Mums Back, and Naturelly.