Founder of a behavioral health organization. Army veteran.
These are two phrases that partially describe who I am. They're also two phrases that lead to the natural assumption that I co-founded SonderMind because of personal experience with post-traumatic stress disorder or other struggles related to deployment to a combat zone. Fortunately, I have not experienced these issues or others directly related to my time in the military. My reason for going to therapy is because of different struggles and opportunities for personal growth.
I do have a number of very close friends from my days in service who have endured the significant effects related to trauma from our deployments. I've seen some of their lives derailed because of the inability to access therapy and use their commercial insurance or VA benefits.
When you witness high-performing individuals who did not “come home” with any apparent mental health conditions and years later become triggered by a life event that creates a downward spiral of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, you start asking questions about whether or not they sought or received appropriate treatment. When those questions are answered with something to the effect of “I tried to find a therapist, but it was going to be months before one was available, so I tried to ignore the problem,” it becomes apparent that we have a real problem.
It pains me even further to know that this problem is all too common across the country for our veterans, as evidenced by the fact that approximately 30% of personnel returning from a Middle East deployment have a mental health condition requiring treatment and more than half of those individuals do not receive any treatment, as well as other service professionals, such as our community first responders.
At SonderMind, our core value proposition is to address the overall lack of access to appropriate, in-network behavioral health options for the average American who needs to use their insurance and other healthcare benefits for care. Our broad community of highly-trained therapists, plus our suite of technology applications gives us the tools to transform the long, painful process of finding a therapist into something that literally only takes a few minutes on your computer or phone. Within a day or two, you are scheduled with the appropriate therapist who is matched to your specific needs and practices in a relatively convenient time and location.
We’ve taken this a step further with our exciting partnership with ResponderStrong, an organization dedicated to supporting the mental health of first responders and their families. For those therapists who aim to dedicate a portion of their clinical focus on the needs of first responders, we ensure that they complete the rigorous certification program by ResponderStrong. We are then able to enter those credentials into our matching algorithm to prioritize ResponderStrong-certified therapists for those first responders who are seeking high-quality, customized behavioral health treatment.
As a veteran, my personal interest in ensuring adequate care for those individuals who risk their lives in support of our local and national safety is paramount.