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Feals Co-Founder on trying to take out stigma around mental health

Alex Iwanchuk, Feals Co-Founder, joins Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Kristin Myers to discuss ways the company is supporting employees' mental health and the company's stellar growth in 2020.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: It's Mental Health Awareness Month. And according to our next guest, far too often, men aren't speaking up about mental health or getting the care that they need. We're joined now by Alex Iwanchuk, Feals co-founder, CBD wellness brand. So Alex, you wrote an op-ed titled, "Why Men Should Speak Openly About Their Mental Health." So I just want to ask you that question. Why should men speak up about their mental health? And what happens when they don't?

ALEX IWANCHUK: Yeah, thanks for having me here today. I think it was really eye opening for me. I was diagnosed with depression when I was in high school. And it really wasn't-- it didn't catapult me to some understanding about depression. But I think as the more I comprehend what depression is and how I can talk openly about it, it really allowed me to be more transparent with the people around me, but also understanding that it's always a work in progress. It's something that I'm going to be working on for the rest of my life and building a better relationship.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, I think we're all a work in progress, right, Alex?


ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Let's talk about how companies can play a part in this. What's their role in helping to keep their employees healthy, both physically, but also mentally?

ALEX IWANCHUK: Yeah, I think it's a great question, and I think something we've really tried to strive for at Feals. And I think there's, one, it starts at the top. I'll personally admit, I took a mental health day this year. I woke up and realized that today was not the right day for me. And so recognizing that that it's no difference between feeling a common cold and having that mental health capacity to be able to step up and be open with it on yourself and with the people around you.

And I think as a company, we're also-- we're trying to take the stigma out of it. So we openly are giving stipends to our team members to have therapy sessions to reach out and have that ability to talk to somebody, which makes things a lot easier.

KRISTIN MYERS: Now I want to ask you about your company Feals. How can CBD help those that are struggling with anxiety or depression or some other ailments?

ALEX IWANCHUK: Yeah, I think anxiety is really what comes to mind. And it's really interesting that a small dose of CBD really can take some anti-anxiety feelings out of your everyday thoughts. And I think as we've explored this plant, it's incredible how powerful it can be. And I learn something new every day about what our consumers are taking the product for. But for me, it was really-- it was a big difference taking CBD and realizing I could use something other than prescription medications to manage anxious thoughts. And it's really-- it's not what you feel, but it's what you don't feel. So it's a very subtle feeling, but incredibly powerful for our consumers.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I know you said, we all have baggage. And on your website, I found that you are doing something called a Feel Good Kit. Can you tell us about that?

ALEX IWANCHUK: Yeah, absolutely. So we partnered with the Painted Brain, which is a nonprofit out of California. And this month, we're donating 100% of our proceeds to this Good Feals Kit. The kit comes with a 600-milligram bottle of our Feals CBD oil, also a 500-piece puzzle, and a lovely Baggu bag. And on the side, as we all do, it has Good Baggage on the side, which is incredible copy. And it really speaks to take the stigma out of it. But we all have baggage.