How one man turned his own despair into hope for many

Jake Mills, CEO of mental health charity Chasing the Stigma, tells Working Dads about going from wanting to end his own life, to helping hundreds of thousands with similar issues.

hub of hope


I set up national mental health charity, Chasing the Stigma in 2016 following my own suicide attempt in October 2013. I realised when talking through my own personal experience that many people didn’t know where to turn for help with mental health issues, so I set up the charity and then we developed the Hub of Hope app. Hub of Hope app was established in 2017 and it started as a spreadsheet populated by myself at my kitchen table and then developed into the comprehensive tool that it is today – a location-based app which directs people to all the mental health support available within any given area. I hoped we could make local mental health support as accessible and intuitive as finding a local takeaway!

The ground-breaking Hub of Hope app is the only mental health app of its kind that brings NHS, Samaritans, Mind and more than 5,000+ registered national and local voluntary, grassroots, private and third sector mental health support services together in one place, with the number listed growing on a daily basis.  Hub of Hope is free to download and use, so anyone can get the support they need, wherever they are. People can search for mental health support via their postcode or by concern (for example men’s support, anxiety, loneliness and much more) and all the local support in their area will come up – just like Deliveroo. That means people don’t need a list of different mental health phone numbers as they are all in one place on the app.

The aim with Chasing the Stigma is to bring mental health organisations together, to make signposting clear and consistent, so that people don’t have to think twice about where to look for help. Hub of Hope can be downloaded from the App Store (iPhone) or Play Store (Android), via the Chasing the Stigma website or Hub of Hope also has a ‘Need Help Now?’ button that connects users directly to Samaritans or SHOUT 24/7 text support service and has the numbers for every NHS mental health Trust’s 24/7 urgent mental health line.

To date, Hub of Hope has directed almost 300,000 people to life-changing and even life-saving help. The site has proved particularly popular amongst men aged 25-54, who are often cited as being most likely to die by suicide. Hub of Hope was included in the Government’s Covid-19 Mental Health & Wellbeing Recovery Action plan, and is on the NHS website.

I am now happily married and a dad-of-two, and my aim is to ensure no one falls through the net and gets the support they need which is why we are working with other organisations and mental health services to train everyone with a basic understanding of mental health with our Ambassador of Hope training program and give people the confidence to signpost correctly to Hub of Hope. There is always hope, so I hope everyone downloads Hub of Hope and shares the details with their loved ones and friends.

Mental Health Directory /

HUB OF HOPE is the UK’s leading signposting mental health service directory provided by national mental health charity, Chasing the Stigma. You can access over 5000 mental health services for free to find support that’s right for you, wherever you are. Since its launch, it has directed almost 300,000 people to life-changing and life-saving help. It is available for free online & via all app stores.

Mental Health Awareness training /

In 2018 Chasing the Stigma developed a mental health awareness training program called AMBASSADOR OF HOPE to give people a baseline level of understanding of what mental health is and what to do if you or somebody else need help and support.  You won’t be an expert at the end of it, however, you & your organisation will be confident to openly talk about mental health and to signpost those who need expert help and support by using our HUB OF HOPE service directory.

Read more:

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