Robert Salt is a 21-year-old entrepreneur from Green Hill Drive, Bramley, who is living the dream of running his own business despite battling anxiety and depression. Here, he tells the powerful story of how he’s challenging the stigma surrounding mental health and making a success of his life.
I am a young entrepreneur from Leeds and I own a new business which is just over six months old and is going great so far.
It is a food business called Mr Pitta – trading out of a trailer on Commercial Street in Leeds city centre every Monday and also at local events such as Leeds World Feast, Kirkstall Deli and much more.
I sell Greek style pittas and make the pitta bread from scratch on the day so it is totally unique.
A fresh pitta beats a shop bought one any day! Fillings include Halloumi, Falafel, pork and chicken. I am very grateful for the wonderful feedback I have had so far from customers and I have already had moments where I have completely sold out.
After watching a recent documentary on BBC Three featuring Professor Green called “Suicide and me”, it has inspired me to tell you my start-up business story.
I really want to help inspire people. I am a long term sufferer of severe anxiety, which has sometimes caused serious spells of depression.
I would just like to make people more aware and remove the stigma around mental health as suicide is the biggest killer of men in the UK and this needs to change.
The biggest issue is that men do not talk about how they are feeling, often meaning that even the people closest to you do not even realise there is anything wrong.
I have always suffered with anxiety ever since I can remember and it has always held me back in life – avoiding tasks just to escape from the anxiety. It takes over your life and removes the enjoyment – the fact that it holds you back in life causes you to be depressed.
I had been wanting my own business and to work for myself ever since I got my first job – I hated the fact that I was being controlled and I felt trapped – I felt like I didn’t have the option of controlling my anxiety.
I had experimented with various business ideas and they didn’t work out – again, I felt like my anxiety was holding me back.
It got to a point where enough was enough – I went to the doctors and got help.
This help has enabled me do things that I have never been able to do – getting help has allowed me to gain more control of my anxiety and ultimately allowed me to start my business venture.
Although I am still getting help for my anxiety and I often still struggle, it would be brilliant if I could even just inspire one person to go and get help so that they stop being held back by anxiety because I know if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my dream of owning my own business.