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Health & Fitness: Scot who took year off uni after suffering panic attacks launches coffee firm to help others

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A man who has battled mental health issues has started a social enterprise firm aimed at helping others.

Michael Ellis’s ­Wellbeans Coffee is coffee with a purpose – to promote and support ­wellbeing.

Michael, 25, from Troon, Ayrshire, said: “There is always hope no matter how low you get.”

Michael, who now lives in Edinburgh, graduated in business management and marketing at Heriot Watt University in 2020 and is working in sales for Red Bull but he also runs Wellbeans, selling coffee and ploughing some of the profits into mental health charities.

Every bag of coffee the firm sells, a share of the profits is donated to the Scottish ­Association for Mental Health.

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Michael knows first-hand how bad things can get. At 17, one of his best pals took his own life.

He said: “Losing someone at that age makes you realise it could happen again.”

When he was at university four years ago, he began to develop his own anxieties.

He said: “I was in my third year of civil engineering and started to get panic attacks every day and struggled to sleep at night. I couldn’t wind down.”

After he finally went to his GP, Michael said: “The doctor made it out to be fairly normal and said it was a generalised anxiety disorder.

"At that point I took a year out of university before coming back and switching my course.”

He moved back in with his parents and began to run more.

When the second lockdown hit, he set himself the challenge of being fit.

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He explained: “I ran every day for the 30 days of November 2020 and got at least one person to get involved in every run.” The runs were a huge hit and inspired Michael to take things further.

He said: “In the New Year, I was made ­redundant so I had time on my hands to come up with the concept.

“I wanted it to be proactive and benefit as many people as possible at a time when people needed a form of support.”

The business now has a cafe at Michael’s former university and he runs Wellbeans Wednesdays on ­Instagram, which gives a platform to anyone willing to share their mental health story.

He said: “I have ­experienced it where I felt the world was collapsing in on me and, even if you are not comfortable talking about how you are feeing, hearing others’ stories can help.”

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