02.24.2021

Finding therapy can be hell for marginalized people. This app wants to help.

Finding therapy can be hell for marginalized people. This app wants to help. Photo Courtesy EMS Forster Productions / Digital Vision / Getty Images

Millennials have been nicknamed the “therapy generation,” which makes it seem like all of us are spending hours in our therapists’ offices, when in fact, many of us still struggle to access mental health services at all, let alone those that meet our needs. The cost of sessions plus transportation can pose barriers, and mental illness still remains heavily stigmatized in communities of color. People in these and other marginalized groups also often want to find a therapist who shares, and therefore understands, our identities and the challenges we face as a result — yet data shows that the psychology workforce in the US is overwhelmingly white.

To make it easier for marginalized people to get the mental health support they need, Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Eric Coly developed Ayana, a teletherapy app that connects them to therapists who have the same identities as they do. Users fill out a questionnaire that asks about gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and disability, among other types of information, and matches them with a therapist based on their responses. The app will be available for Android and Apple devices on March 1 of this year.

Read the full story at MIC.