United Kingdom-based entrepreneur Blue O’Connell launched men’s grooming brand Kings this week as a way to help dispel negative stereotypes associated with men’s mental health issues, a struggle he experienced after battling social anxiety and panic attacks. “There’s still a huge stigma with young men when it comes to dealing with mental health issues,” O’Connell told local media outlet Bristol Post. “I feel strongly that we need to open up the conversation and address them [in order] to live healthier and happier lives.” Kings’ first product is a vegan, palm oil-free aftershave that O’Connell is selling, along with ethically made t-shirts, on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. The entrepreneur hopes that sales of these items will generate £10,000 ($13,755)—20 percent of which O’Connell will donate to local charities that support men’s mental health—to help him develop other items to add to the Kings brand. “We want to encourage men to challenge the unhealthy, unrealistic ideas society holds about masculinity,” O’Connell said, “and redefine what masculinity means in 2018.” Once his campaign reaches £20,000 ($27,510), O’Connell plans to develop outdoor “urban gyms” in low-income areas in Bristol, and at the £25,000 ($37,387) stretch goal, he plans to launch his own youth-mentoring program.
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