In August of 2020, amidst the significant events happening in their homelands and the isolation that transpired alongside the pandemic, three international students found themselves vulnerable to mental health challenges, especially being so far away from home. Alexandra Assouad, of Lebanon; Dalia Ahmed, of Yemen; and Akanksha Shelat, of India, bonded over their experiences as first-generation immigrants, and quickly noticed a gap in mental health resources that cater to multi-ethnic needs.
With unique perspectives and skill sets in different sectors, including finance, computer science, and psychotherapy, the three women co-founded Mind-Easy, a digital venture that provides clinically-supported self-help resources through the use of avatars and advanced technology. Mind-Easy bridges the gap between mental health resources and multi-ethnic workplaces.
“Mind-Easy has taken a huge step forward by bringing attention to the lack of diversity in research, and understanding the implications of using Euro-centric psychology research on the general population,” says Assouad, CEO and co-founder of Mind-Easy. “The mission behind the organization is to understand the unique experiences of individuals and cater mental health solutions based on them, highlighting their ethos of ‘treating the human, not the condition.’”
The venture is relentlessly adaptive and iterative; with a focus on creating products and services that are based on market-needs. With their ability to quickly adapt to the ever-changing trends of mental health services, Mind-Easy presents the most effective and up-to-date solutions to their users.
Since its launch, Mind-Easy has propelled to great heights. However, Assouad reflects back on the hardships that she encountered during the pandemic, and sees it as an immense period of learning and growth. “This motivation to create [innovative] products and services [comes from our experiences as we witnessed the pandemic unfold]. The last 2 years has allowed [us to understand the need to stay adaptive] to the changing trends of mental health services. [Because of this,] we have successfully received traction and funding from various sectors.”
Among the handful of accomplishments Mind-Easy has received, the venture has notably received a full grant of 60,000 USD from the community of Decentraland for the deployment of a mental health clinic on the Decentraland platform. This clinic, successfully deployed on October 10, 2022, focused on getting users to engage in various mental health resources, in a safe digital space that would allow users to understand and introspect on their own mental wellbeing.
For young ventures looking to make a breakthrough in the virtual world, Assouad says that curiosity, patience, and having a strong support system, are key for success. “VR and different metaverse platforms are filled with potential for various industries, and success in any such space requires curiosity, patience as well as the ability to reach out for help and guidance when required. New ventures must recognize the Web3 ideology of tech; ‘for the people, by the people,’ and keep the needs of their users at the forefront of their ideation and creative process.”
When reflecting back on the venture’s journey with H2i, Assouad remarks that working with H2i has, “helped us get in front of the right people to get the help we needed.” She shared that the H2i community is multifaceted and provided comprehensive guidance in a variety of areas, ranging from IP and non-dilutive funding, to product and commercialization. “It is so great to be part of a community that is extremely knowledgeable in the niche health-tech market we’re in.”
Assouad operates Mind-Easy alongside Ahmed, CCO, and Shelat, CTO, and the support of a motivated and diverse team. The team includes includes Aber Abdulle, Head of Community and Inclusion; Dr. Saida Abdi, Head of Multicultural Research; and Khadija Abourawi, Digital Literacy Coordinator.
H2i would like to congratulate Mind-Easy for their achievements, and applaud them for an impressive and revolutionary journey to date! If you are interested in learning more about Mind-Easy, please visit their website.
Curious to hear more about the experience of creating Mind-Easy? Register now for the 2023 FemSTEM Kickoff Event which will include a panel featuring Mind-Easy’s Alexandra Assouad!
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