Jodie Cariss, CEO, Co-Founder & Therapist at Self Space

Self Space

In this Q&A you’ll hear from Jodie Cariss, co-founder and CEO of Self Space, a mental health startup normalising therapy for everyday maintenance. With four walk-in clinics in the UK and two more on the way, Jodie – a practising therapist – shares why she felt determined to overturn taboos and explains her goal of Self Space becoming a cultural institution.

Tell us about Self Space.

Jodie Cariss: Self Space is the world’s first on-demand mental health service on the high street. We provide fast access to over 100 qualified therapists – who speak 16 different languages between them – with no waiting lists and no contracts.

People can come once, weekly, or whatever works best for them. We’re open seven days a week from 7am to 7pm online or at one of our four locations: Shoreditch, Soho and Borough in London, as well as Manchester.

We want Self Space to be a cultural institution: a service that’s woven into the fabric of communities and placed on busy high streets across the country; a home for people wanting to look after their mental health; somewhere people can go for mental maintenance 365 days a year.

What led you to pursue this opportunity?

JC: I think it was a prolonged feeling of disenchantment with the mental health space. It was the constant requests for good therapist numbers, being asked to host company talks but being told not to mention “mental health” or “feelings” and realising that something bold needed to be done to shift culture.

Combined with the constant issue of long waiting lists for the NHS, rigid appointment schedules in private care and grubby clinical settings – which don’t lend themselves to positive feelings – I felt confident I could do something useful in this space.

I wanted to offer a contemporary approach to mental health, pushing the stigma by putting aesthetic spaces on the high street where people see a qualified, professional therapist without having to join a lengthy waiting list.

Changing the way people viewed mental health support was also important, empowering them to take a preventative approach and moving away from it being an intervention when struggling or in crisis. Just as we go to the gym to take care of our bodies, mental maintenance helps us get stronger and build resilience, finding buoyancy for when times get tough.

How did you turn your idea into a company?

JC: Going into a business, you have to know that it’s going to be tough. You need to be prepared to commit, roll up your sleeves, do the graft and surround yourself with brilliant talent who can sweep you along when you need it.

We launched in a tiny stable in 2018 with three therapists. We did no marketing or PR because we were waiting for the brand name to build by word of mouth. Since then, we’ve grown to three in London and a fourth in Manchester.

In just four years, the team has grown from five to 100, spanning a diverse range of qualified therapists and counsellors across the country.

To date, we’ve facilitated more than 70K sessions. With the brand’s latest and largest site (launched this September in the heart of London’s Soho), we’re making a further 17K sessions available to people each year. And we’re delighted to have just secured £2.25M in seed funding from Redrice Ventures, enabling Self Space to offer another 34K sessions in 2024 alone.

Key moments of this whole journey include:

  • Bringing on B2B partners from inbound recommendations
  • Chance [Marshall] joining as co-founder – the success of the business is down to the integrity of our partnership
  • The lovely testimonials we receive, some that I’ve overheard in weird and wonderful places like on the train

How big can this get?

JC: The more people who have the courage to walk across the therapy threshold, the better the quality of relationships will be in the world.

In that regard, the opportunities are huge for a brand like ours. We plan to be a trusted nationwide name for mental health support – a go-to where you can be sure of the quality you’ll receive, with a branch on every major high street.

How do you reach your core customer?

JC: Self Space enables individuals and businesses to take a proactive approach to mental health support. We work with global brands and companies as well as families, couples, young people and everyone in between.

On top of delivering outstanding clinical support, we grow our customer base through brand awareness, word of mouth, events and social media.

What’s next on the roadmap?

JC: Our recent funding will be used to open two new sites next year (we’ll be launching our next location in Kings Cross, London soon) and growing our brilliant team by hiring 75 new therapists, psychotherapists and counsellors.

We currently work with more than 150 businesses, including Red Bull, Omnicom, Papier, Huel, Depop, Google and Havas. The new funding also means we can reach more businesses committed to supporting their employees’ mental health, from one-to-one therapy sessions to staff training and psychoeducation workshops.

Looking ahead, we’ll continue our disruptive approach to mental health, creating culture-shifting therapy across the UK and Ibiza – like pop-up sessions in our converted VW camper coming to Manchester – as well as expanding our in-person offering and launching a new digital platform.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers?

JC: Have a read of our book How To Grow Through What You Go Through. It is packed with everyday ways to practise mental maintenance with sustainable, realistic tools that can help you feel more confident, hopeful and anchored through life’s ups and downs.

If you’re interested in having your company featured in our Q&A series, send an email to

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