Takona - Combining cars with mental health to get men talking

Lewis Warren wants to get men talking about their mental health with the help of cars.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 3:40 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 3:41 pm
Lewis's car

Charity Campaign for Living Miserably (CALM) states that suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK.

Statistics from the Samaritans adds that suicide is more common in men aged in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Which is why it is important to talk about mental health.

And that is what Lewis Warren wants men to do.


He founded Takona with the goal to combine cars with a positive mental health message.

Its aims to tackle the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and the issue that men don’t talk about their problems.

“Cars have always been a place I could escape to,” Lewis said.

“Whenever I was going through my own mental health issues I would go for a drive and clear my head and give myself some space.”

Takona design

With a background working in the mental health industry, Lewis saw first hand the impact it would have on people’s lives and decided to do something about it.

“I came to the decision that I would combine my passion for cars with wanting to help people with their mental health by breaking down stigmas and get people talking.

“I have always found the car scene very inclusive. It doesn’t matter if you are 17 with an old, beat up Mini or a millionaire in his 60s with a Porsche. If you have that passion you can just sit and talk for hours about cars.”

The idea was formed in January 2019 and launched in May.

Takona t-shirt

Lewis said: “I know there is a big jump from talking about cars to mental health but you have to start somewhere.

“The biggest problem facing men today is themselves, and the biggest creator of this issue is the stigma that men can’t talk to one another. I want to change that.”

The first event for Takona will be a breakfast meeting taking place in Henfield with more in the pipeline for other parts of the county.

Lewis, who lives in Hove, also sells a range of Takona branded merchandise. This includes beanies, hoodies, t-shirts and prints featuring the brands logo.

“The design ethos is to have subtle automotive themes running throughout, to act as a talking point for anyone interested in cars,” explained Lewis.

“Eventually I want to host more events, put together road trips, raise money for charity and create a positive culture within the automotive community surrounding mental health.

“If the brand can grow in the community to be synonymous with positive mental health, then the community itself can grow to be more positively focused as a whole.”

Ten per cent of the sales goes to a different charity each month. In January it is Heads On. Based in Sussex, it is a community charity that provides a safe space for people living with mental health problems.

Mind states that approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.

In February, Lewis is launching a Kickstarter (an online fundraising platform) campaign to get funds so he can attend car events and shows as a trader.

Lewis said: “As it turns out, gazebos, insurance, and travelling isn’t cheap.

“The Kickstarter is to pay for those and for a surplus of stock to take to the shows. “I would like to raise about £6,000 to be able to buy everything.”

Lewis is also keen to reach out to the community to look for opportunities to spread the word and host events.

He said: “I just want to get people talking.”

As for the name, Lewis said: “Takona was the name of my imaginary super car company when I was about eight.

“But I have since found out it is the name of skin painting and means to leave a mark, which seems pretty apt for what I am doing now.”

For more information on Takona, visit www.takona.co.ukHelp and support is also available at:

Samaritans - samaritans.orgMind - mind.org.ukCALM - thecalmzone.net