Mendü Wellness is on a mission to help communities of women of color thrive in their everyday lives. Our goal is to promote mental and behavioral health in our community of women of color through accessible digital tools and by re-creating the feeling of release after talking through an issue with a friend or writing all your feelings out in your diary.
We’re a team of a therapist and a neuroscientist, who both found through struggling with our personal mental health and working within this space in our professional life that finding help as a woman of color is not that easy.
This is why we wanted to make sure that anyone who wants or needs it has access to quality care whenever they need it—even if that means being able to take care of yourself wherever you are!
Here is the big problem with mental health treatment: there is a severe lack of inclusivity within the mental health space, leading to a large treatment gap between those who need care and those who actually receive it. 1 in 4 adults have diagnosable mental health symptoms in a given year but 55% can’t find help that suits them, even though they want it.
There are systemic issues leading to this such as women of color make up less than 5% of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers available to treat patients and most mental health resources and tools are not made for women of color. We found that this leads to women in our communities feeling misunderstood, neglected, and feeling worse than when they started their journey.
We want these women to have a place to turn to when they need an easy way to better manage stress and mental health in their everyday life.
We've created digital self-care tools for women of color. We make it easy for people to live healthier lives through their smartphones by providing personalized, interactive and behavioral health programs. Having inclusive and relevant content and programs for our users to work through is our top priority – so we are constantly conducting research involving hundreds of women of color to ensure we are meeting their needs.
We all know that the smartphone is a great tool—but have you ever wondered how much your phone could help your mental health? Turns out, it can be an effective therapeutic tool.
We wanted to take advantage of this and merge it with our passion for mental health and wellbeing. We provide guided therapeutic journaling exercises, clinically guided mental health tracking, and wellbeing programs that help our communities thrive.
We’re doing this because Digital products to treat mental health symptoms have already been tested and are known to help patients like a drug and/or make the use of drugs more efficient, so now we want to make solutions like this suitable for everyone.
In fact, A meta-analyses of 15 studies, published in this month's volume of Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, found no significant difference in the treatment outcomes for patients who saw a therapist and those who followed a self-help book or online program
And as a scientist and therapist, we know that guided prompts have been proven to be clinically effective for addressing mild to moderate mental health symptoms and to manage chronic conditions that affect your mental health such as multiple sclerosis (MS), migraines, and more.
The prompts that we create are rooted in evidence based research, and mirrors what was used in the trials.
GOING A STEP FURTHER
Most of us who utilize mental health tools would love to raise any concerns with a physician. But we may be afraid of not having the right vocabulary, seeming “crazy”, being misdiagnosed, or just not being taken seriously. We aim to also transform the mental health care space by pairing our product with physician platforms.
The way it works is the patient is able to manage their symptoms and track their progress through the treatment course as a way to supplement mental health care in between physician visits or for mental health maintenance while the clinician is able to monitor the patient’s condition from their computer and be alerted if they need to intervene.
The physician will be able to see information relevant for them to make a non-biased diagnoses, adjust medication when needed, and more without you having to worry about explaining the nuances of your mental health from day to day.
Although we know that the digital wellbeing space is large, we have been intentional about making inclusivity the core within our practices.
This is because women of color, especially black women are overlooked when it comes to not only mainstream brand and marketing, but also product research and development. We look for scientifically backed therapeutic practices that best benefits the mental health of our communities.
We also understand that there is a stigma around getting help within blackand other marginalized communities. Which is why another large part of our company is education, outreach, and advocacy when it comes to mental health.
My name is Demi Fortson and I am the co-founder and co-CEO of Mendü Wellbeing. I grew up in a small neighborhood in Baltimore, City where I could be found sitting on my Nana’s stoop and scribbling away in my diary. I found so much relief having a place to work through my frustrations, document my triumphs, and my emotions. I can’t remember how I found out about journaling, but it stuck with me since I was 7 years old.
Growing up in my black family, we were not encouraged to dive into the depths of our emotions. I don’t even think mental health was on my parent’s minds at the time. Though I had so many good times in my childhood, I distinctly remember members of my family undergoing mental health crises and it not being discussed. It seemed like mental health symptoms were the elephant in the room we weren’t allowed to talk about or that could be explained away as something else.
Looking back, journaling saved my mental health and possibly my life. Before I knew about therapy, counseling, medication, I had my journal. I am forever grateful that I stuck to that process and know first hand how much self-help can better your mental health.
Mendü Wellbeing is the place where other black girls can find that relief as well. Our goal Mendü is to enter the U.S. healthcare space as a digital therapeutic. I know that I can bring this dream to life with the continued support of our community. It has been a lot of work diving into the business world as someone trained as a scientist. But it has been paying off. Recently, I graduated from The City University of New York’s Public Health Innovation Accelerator and received 1st place in their pitch competition. I have now completed Caress x iFund Women’s crowdfunding campaign program, all while conducting a longitudinal study for Mendü and coding our next product. On top of all of that, I am in the middle of getting my PhD from Columbia University in neuroscience.
Through all of this, I’ve been working hard to make sure that our next launch, it's going to be everything you've been looking for—the best possible experience for yourself or a loved one who needs support in their mental health journey.
Your support for Mendü Wellness will help with research and development of our final product so we can launch in early 2023. It will also allow for us to streamline a lot of our current processes so we can get our next product out faster and be just as secure. Your support will ultimately help us launch into the next phase of our company.
Thank you so much for taking time to learn more about Mendü Wellbeing and supporting our efforts to transform the mental health and wellness space. And we are so grateful that you're with us every step of the way.