There’s a soft yet bold confidence that describes the personhood of Shaun Andrews. For most of his life, he’s been underestimated. Most college football stars aren’t seen as dimensional. Perhaps not as poets, nor entrepreneurs, nor operators of complex systems of national transit initiatives.
But that’s exactly what makes Shaun’s story ever more the dichotomy that rings similarly to many of us that have pivoted linear professional pursuits into building something formidable.
In Charlotte, he was part of the original cohort of City Startup Labs, an initiative built by Henry Rock aimed to support black male entrepreneurs by connecting them with vigorous business training and access to seed funding. He landed a spot in the second cohort of RevTech Labs.
Shaun traverses from city to city building the framework of InspireInYou; what he says is a global solution for everyday people to improve their mental health but might normally be burdened by the high costs, negative stigmas, or lack of access to traditional therapy.
Here’s how he defines the trajectory of the platform birthed from personal experiences and an innate desire to merge both data and science to help us all become healthier people.
Agenda: Tell us about your company, what it is, and what problem it solves.
Shaun: The technology is an intuitive software platform that incorporates positive psychology, counseling, self-help, motivational messages, and life coaching.
The concept came to life after two of my former football teammates committed suicide after silently dealing with depression most of their lives. Both of these young men were popular in school and seemed to, on the outside, have everything to live for. They were popular, successful, and had families that relied on them for support.
As life progressed, I had my own dealings with depression and quickly understood that issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress do not discriminate and lifestyle does not create a barrier for their entry.
To get through my day I would look up audio content on the web that would motivate me and give me resources to train my mind to overcome negative thinking. As time progressed, I noticed that much of the content was repeated.
There was nothing in the market to asses a person’s mental health and then match content to improve mental health. I made a decision to create exactly what would benefit me and found that it had application for other people.
Features of the app include:
- Anonymous mental health care
- Analytics of user and counselor engagement
- Counselor portals that allow counselors to track progress and administer care
- Customized content specific to specific populations
To effectively help users, our technology matches users to content providers such as certified counselors, trainers, life coaches, therapists, and motivational speakers.
The content is curated specifically for issues associated with improving mental health. The audio content is categorized into channels and are matched with users upon initial registration within the app and assessment.
Students will be able to utilize the app to help them deal with issues that hinder their educational and life success.
By having the ability to attack issues at the direct cause, care is optimized. There are options to be completely anonymous which removes all stigmas hindering people from seeking care.
Agenda: Discuss your work with academic institutions and military bases. Why are these partnerships significant?
Shaun: North Carolina A&T is conducting a research study regarding the effectiveness of the app and its content. By spring of 2017, the app will be research based with hard data.
The team of InspireInYou includes an award winning development team and a management team with experience in military and veteran affairs, primary and secondary education, technology, counseling, and corporate management.
Any individual will find the app useful but we currently have a focus on veterans suffering from PTSD and workers in high stress positions such as police and first responders.
Because of the feature to be anonymous, soldiers can seek care without the fear of retribution and ridicule. As they transition to veterans, the same platform will provide content to help them get reintroduced back into civilian life. The app will provide resources for the families of soldiers as well.
Agenda: You were recently selected to join the StartupHealth tech incubator backed by investor Mark Cuban. What do you hope will come out of this experience?
Connections to large-scale health agencies who otherwise overlook small health startups.
Being part of an incubator like this will aid in helping us to further validate our company and thus the work we’re doing in support of saving lives.
All images courtesy of Shaun Andrews