Using the power of conversation and community to improve Mental health care.
Supporters Include:
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At 54, Shawn Lesser isn't just a father of two and a seasoned business leader; he's also a survivor. His recent struggles with anxiety and depression took him through two treatment centers in early 2023, where he was nicknamed "Shaky." Instead of letting the experience defeat him, Shawn used his inherent resilience and humor to overcome it. Now, he’s committed to sharing his journey to inspire and help other men facing similar challenges.

Professional Track Record:

Before pivoting to mental health advocacy, Shawn had already made a significant impact in the finance world. With over three decades in finance, he co-founded the industry's first Impact Investing Investment Bank for 16 years. Big Path Capital earned Barrons' description as "Impact Investing's Investment Bank." As a trusted advisor and placement agent, Shawn has collaborated with more than 200 Impact Funds and over 1,000 Limited Partners and put on over 50 investment convenings in the US and Europe.

The REAL Deal:

Shawn is the founder of THE REAL Mental Health Foundation, which has a focused objective: to significantly improve the mental health of men and their families. Leveraging his personal experiences, Shawn aims to challenge societal norms, create environments for open dialogue, and encourage authentic peer connections. Visit THE REAL Website for more information.


THE REAL is set on building a global community to support men's mental health and well-being. The initiative aims to make a ripple effect, positively impacting families and communities by transforming the mental healthcare conversation and structure.Shawn Lesser is channeling his hard-won battles into action, showing that adversity can indeed lead to meaningful change.
August 2022
Meet founder Shawn, 54, father of two, husband to Blanca, highly regarded for his success in finance and business.
September 2022
Shawn starts displaying episodes of depression and anxiety. He experiences loss of appetite and loss of sleep, but tries to smile through it.
November 2022
Shawn suffers several major panic attacks. Depression comes to a head resulting in major weight loss and self imposed isolation.
December 2022
Shawn's wife takes over all responsibilities and reaches out to their mutual friend Brent for help.
Minutes Later
Brent responds immediately asking the right questions, and offering to help. In this moment Brent takes on the role of Shawn's mental health sponsor.
January 2023
Shawn leaves the company he previously co-founded. In crisis from identity death, he checks into his first treatment center shaking uncontrollably.
February 2023
Shawn and Brent start meeting regularly for walks to find a way to turn the pain into purpose.
March 2023
Shawn begins making progress in a second treatment center by adopting new routines and keeping a daily diary that he shares with Brent.
April 2023
Brent and Shawn agree that what Shawn went through is real and is happening to a lot of men. They decide to call the new mission "The Real", but have no idea what "it" is.
May 2023
Shawn, in deciding not to run away from his story of depression and anxiety posts about it on LinkedIn. To his surprise, the response is overwhelmingly positive and he is invited to speak to a group in Chicago.
June & July 2023
A kickoff tour is launched across eight cities that helps form the core of what The Real will become, a place to speak openly about mental health.
August 2023
After hundreds of phone calls with incredibly supportive friends and advisors from across the globe, a direction was chosen, and The Real Mental Health Foundation was born.
The actual texts between Shawn's wife Blanca and Brent in December of 2022.
Our story began with Founder Shawn's experience of a mental breakdown which led him to a very dark place.  At the same time, friend and Advisor Brent who had been on his own journey of self-discovery, was called upon to become Shawn's Guardian Angel. Now, having successfully navigated out of the darkness, Shawn is on a mission to raise awareness by candidly shedding light on the stigma surrounding men's mental health, and encouraging others to seek help.

We are asking for your help in spreading our message and reaching out to organizations and congregations across the country. We would love to come and speak to your team, your organization, or your congregation in the very near future. With your support, we can save men's lives and support their families at the same time.