The Black Founders Fund (BFF) by Google for Startups has collaborated with Chantel Cohen to offer mental health services to the founders of startups. Cohen, a therapist and owner of CWC Coaching, works to better the mental health of individuals, couples, and groups in corporate and therapeutic settings.
During a recent interview with ADW, Cohen discussed her partnership with Google for Startups and why founders are more likely impacted by mental health.
Let’s start by talking about your organization and how it got started?
It started when I decided that I wanted to be a therapist back in the ’90s. I had never envisioned myself owning my own business until right around 2011. I just realized that I didn’t want my fate in someone else’s hands. I wanted to be able to run an organization and to support the people that I wanted to support. And so oftentimes, agencies dictate who you can work with. I work with founders and people of color. And so it’s great that I left the agency that I was working with it, in fact, they’re no longer in existence. It came into being just wanting to serve my community.
Can you talk about your connection with Black Founders Fund by Google?
I can’t say enough about Jewel Burks Solomon. Jewel came to me and said, ‘I’m running Google for Startups and I’d really love to offer the founders therapy.’ It’s needed especially for people of color because only 5% of therapists are people of color. So we do therapy and we work on every aspect of their lives, from their relationship with their significant other and their business. Not all founders have traumas, but they are more likely to have mental health issues. In fact, about 72% over the course of an entrepreneur’s life, they’re more likely to have some sort of mental health issue. And it usually starts with some burnout and some anxiety. And starts to go into some kind of depression, and some real sadness, because their egos are often tied up in the success of their business. So I sit down and find out what the founders need.
How has your connection with Google changed your organization?
It’s been tremendous because by working and having a relationship with Google, we’ve done over 1500 sessions. We’ve gotten really great feedback. It has put my business in a different category. It allows people to look at us, not just as authorities in the therapy space, but authorities in serving entrepreneurs, especially people of color and women.