JASIRI brings on mental healthtech Vimbo to support entrepreneurs

The JASIRI Talent Investor programme, supported by Allan and Gill Gray Philanthropy, has brought on mental health offering Vimbo Health to support August’s new cohort of young entrepreneurs. 

72% of entrepreneurs struggle with mental health issues

Founded in November 2019 by CEO Tafi Mazikana and CSO Sherrie Steyn, Vimbo Health aims to help entrepreneurs through their easy-to-use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)-based platform. 

Mental health support by Africans, for Africans

In a study named “The prevalence and co-occurrence of psychiatric conditions among entrepreneurs and their families” published by Small Business Economics, worrying statistics show that while 48% of non-entrepreneurs struggled with mental health, that number climbs to 72% for entrepreneurs. 

“There is a 92% treatment gap for mental health conditions in SA due to issues of affordability and stigma. Even teletherapy carries a high cost that puts it out of reach of many,” said Mazikana in a statement to Ventureburn.

The app allows JASIRI cohorts to learn mental health basics, develop coping strategies to tackle problematic behaviours and anxieties and learn meditation and journaling.

Even if participants don’t feel like they need immediate support, the app is designed to help the user at every stage of their mental health journey.

“Our self-guided digital therapies act to reduce the symptoms commonly associated with depression and anxiety. They provide a less stigmatising alternative for people to make their first step with mental health treatment, where and when is convenient for them, and at an affordable cost,” explained Mazikana. 

The app also provides anonymous feedback to the JASIRI team, allowing mentors to gauge the overall mental health of the cohort as the year-long programme progresses. 

“Accelerators benefit from the moral good of helping the entrepreneurs in their programmes, but also from anonymous data insights to enable them to take regular “temperature checks” to understand the wellbeing of the cohort and corrective actions that can be taken. Employers benefit too, and overall, there is vast evidence that improved mental health leads to improved productivity and outcomes,” detailed Mazikana.

“Only 3.4% of mental health apps are backed by research, and we’ve undertaken what we understand to be the first South African research study of its kind, in partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). This proves our local use case and effectiveness of our platform,” explained Mazikana in conclusion.

Read more: Top startup web events in SA this week [02/08/2021]

Read more: New African VC aims to aid SMMEs with early-stage funding

Featured image: Tafi Mazikana, co-founder and CEO of Vimbo Health (Supplied)

Lauren Daniels, Editor


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