Let me start off by saying that I understand why people come to this conclusion with Courage Box.
There are quite a few products out there for people with mental health issues that claim to be able to "cure" you for some outrageous amount of money. On top of that, capitalism is awful. Or maybe it's people that are awful, or both. Too many businesses profit off of the oppressed. Maybe they outsource production to impoverished countries and pay their employees little to none, or their advertisement strategy is to point out fake problems their product can miraculously fix.
I'll be the first to say that I hate capitalism, even as an entrepreneur.
Is Courage Box profiting off of mental illness?
This is a difficult question to answer. It's one of those "yes, but" answers that make people roll their eyes.
Technically, Courage Box does profit off of people living with mental illnesses. That's the clientele we serve, and we have to charge for our services. We are run by a single person, and this is their full-time job. It takes time and effort to run a business, which means Shawn needs to get paid. Shawn needs to eat and pay their bills (unfortunately). Shawn needs to purchase the shipping supplies and products for the boxes. Shawn is doing their best to operate under capitalism.
If you read our About page, you'll see that I (Shawn) have been living with mental illness my entire life. I've gone through multiple diagnoses - depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and depersonalization-derealization disorder. As you can probably tell, I have significant lived experience with mental health issues.
At one point in my life, I reached a life-threatening low. I wasn't suicidal again like I was in high school. I was having near constant panic attacks, and my body felt so frozen and sick that I couldn't eat. I survived off of meal replacements for more than two weeks. I probably should have been hospitalized, but I was fortunate enough to have a close friend step up and take care of me.
As I was recovering from this, I looked for something like Courage Box. I was having bad experiences with professional resources (long waiting lists, unhelpful counsellors, queerphobic doctors, etc.), and I wanted to find something proactive that would help me learn the tools I needed to cope better, without feeling overwhelming. I needed something more than what I was getting, but all I could find were bath bombs and face masks and aromatherapy.
I made Courage Box because it's something I wish I'd had access to. I do this while recognizing how much of a privilege it is to subscribe to this box, as well as my own privilege as a white person who was lucky enough to start up their own business. I also do this understanding that many people are going to take one look at this company and decide it's run by assholes who just want to profit off of people who are suffering.
I want my subscribers to trust that that is false. I am struggling too. I have been my entire life. I know what it feels like to have anxiety and depression, and I know what it feels like to not have the resources you need. Courage Box is an attempt to add to those resources - it is made by and for people living with mental illness. It is not made to profit off of them.