Empire Building Masterclass: an Interview with Despoina Limniotaki

Kalimera (which means Good Morning in Greek)! My name is Despoina Limniotaki (IG @dlimniotaki) and I’m the Founder and CEO of the Healing Tree community, a social cooperative business in Crete, Greece. The Healing Tree community (@healingtreeproject) acts as an intermediate “home” for people coping with mental health issues and their families. It is a safe space where open communication is encouraged, information and support on dealing with everyday struggles are provided and programs see to the needs of different individuals and groups within the city of Heraklion.

Despoina Limniotaki

I started The Healing Tree community five years ago when I minded the gap that exists between the formal, overwhelmed health services where people turn for help and the patient’s follow-up experience: there was no orientation on the best ways that patients could go on with their therapy, no monitoring of their progress, plus there were limited options given to those who suffer from symptoms as to how they could embrace a more holistic, a less one-size-fits-all approach to their well-being. But first and foremost, mental health had not been a priority to my country for years and I singlehandedly vowed that I would turn the tables on that matter. So here is the Healing Tree community, making noise in my hometown by really helping people learn how to both ask for and give help. It has created a bold community of sharers and strivers within a larger community. After all, I don’t even believe there is progress without cooperation. And I firmly stand for networked mental health visibility.

Tell us and our lovely readers what is it that you do?

I am a Social Psychologist who has been working in therapeutic environments for about twenty years. The Healing Tree community is a recent project that stems from a desire to create bonds and share stories around “the fire” that burns in each and every one of us, the way our ancestors used to do in order to restore and connect the parts that are broken inside. In the community, we offer a personalized approach to mental health, really listen and co-design the best path to recuperation, according to one’s needs and capabilities. We also soothe anxious relatives and allow burnt-out carers to take a break.

Moreover, I have started a series of interviews, videos and podcasts with a #ConversationsWithFriends hashtag that asks different professionals to talk about their work in relation to mental health because I truly believe that, at the end of the day, everything revolves around this topic.

And my latest pet mission is called #SheWorks and asks everyday women entrepreneurs (by “everyday” I mean that you do not have to reach your personal peak or be awarded a prize to be seen and heard) to tell their story in the way they want to – everybody has a story to tell, especially in these difficult times and we should listen, form bonds and create opportunities for each other.