Dallas-based Mazzy Health is one of 10 North American startups selected for the StartOut Growth Lab, a five-month accelerator program for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs.
Founded by Shawn O’Connor, Mazzy Health is a concierge mental health service catering to adolescents and young adults between the ages of 10 and 22. The company offers “360-degree mental health support,” as well as academic support from Ivy League graduates.
In May, Mazzy Health began offering its services in Texas via its telehealth platform.
J.P. Morgan and StartOut announced the 12th Growth Lab group in early September. As the co-lead sponsor, JPMorgan provides the cohort with access to the firm’s network of global experts and resources.
The lab’s startups are “key players in our economy, creating jobs and developing unique products and services to support local communities,” David Barbee, head of LGBTQ+ Initiatives, JPMorgan Commercial Banking, said in a statement.
StartOut said that 66 early-stage companies have participated in Growth Lab since 2017, raising more than $763 million in funding and creating more than 3,650 new jobs. The incoming cohort spans fields from sustainability to healthcare and includes companies from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Mazzy Health Debuted in Texas in May
Mazzy Founder and CEO O’Connor, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, aims to provide high-quality telehealth therapy to youth.
Troubling national statistics underline the urgency of the initiative for O’Connor, who is also a management professor at Harvard, the startups said in a May news release.
Findings from the National Institute of Mental Health indicate that half of all lifetime mental illness cases begin by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that in 2021, 30% of girls and 14% of boys had serious suicidal thoughts, according to the startup.
In a May news release, Mazzy cited other data pointing to the rise in mental health challenges for youth in the U.S.:
- The CDC notes that one in five adolescents aged 13 to 18 have faced a severe mental disorder. Persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness, indicators of depression, were reported by three in five girls and three in ten boys in 2021, a significant rise from 2011—and now an “all-time high.”
- A 2021 JAMA Pediatrics study showed a jump in adolescent depression rates from 8.7% in 2005 to 15.6% in 2019.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24-year-olds, as per the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Founder O’Connor, who previously turned Stratus Prep into a global leader in educational services, drew inspiration for Mazzy Health in part from his own adolescent struggles. “Having confronted these challenges as an adult, I resolved to address the growing teen mental health crisis as a professional and feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to do so now,” he told Authority Magazine.
O’Connor sees the significant impact of high-quality therapy and aims to increase its reach. “Therapy should be viewed through the lens of prevention and maintenance,” he said, calling its role as essential as routine pediatric check-ups.
O’Connor teamed up with Susan White, PhD, a top clinical adolescent research psychologist, to build a support platform for youth that could bridge the gap in mental health resources, he says.
White, now Mazzy Health’s clinical director, said in May that “mental health challenges for our country’s youth are at an all-time high.”
That’s partly from “stressors related to academics and the high stakes pressures of getting into college, bullying at school, and distortions stemming from overexposure to social media,” she said at the time.
According to White, “tweens, teens, and young adults are at an increased risk of anxiety and depression, eating disorders, alcohol and drug use, and body image concerns, but research clearly demonstrates that these risks can be significantly mitigated by early intervention and prevention, including therapy.”
Teletherapy and other mental health services for youth
The company’s approach to teletherapy allows both parents and their adolescents to select therapists that align with their needs. The service model is subscription-based, equipped with a secure, HIPAA-compliant portal and app, granting clients easy communication with therapists and academic coaches.
Mazzy Health describes itself as a “concierge practice,” and emphasizes the freedom it offers clients to select their child’s therapist.
According to the company’s website, its therapists have years of experience working with adolescents and are committed to using methods “backed by decades of science.”
Services include weekly sessions with a licensed therapist and academic assistance, including who can supplement therapy and offer tutoring and assistance to get teens through tough academic courses that may be adding to their stress levels and anxiety.
Therapy services cover multiple focus areas, from ADHD to anxiety and depression.
Other companies in the Growth Lab Cohort 12
Joining Mazzy Health in the 12th Growth Lab are:
- Applied Bioplastics (Austin): Supplies economically sustainable plant-based plastic alternatives for various items across household, automotive, appliance, electronic, and outdoor equipment industries.
- Hadley (West Hollywood, California): Allows individuals to contribute to others’ 529 education savings accounts via an all-in-one app.
- INSID3RS (Los Angeles, California): Offers an all-access decentralized ticketing platform for immersive audience engagement.
- JOBGRAZE (Tampa, Florida): Provides a healthcare staffing marketplace and hiring platform for nurses and physicians in the U.S. and overseas.
- Moss Amigos (San Jose, California): Cultivates uniquely designed moss plants, accessible to any consumer, with or without a green thumb.
- Motivo Scar Care (Long Branch, New Jersey): Creates inclusive, performance proof, and water-resistant scar tape and topicals to heal and fade scars.
- Orgmatch (Vancouver, Canada): Matches funders and non-profits to increase the speed and equity of accessing and deploying funding in the nonprofit sector.
- SARELLY SARELLY (Mexico City, Mexico): Provides an environment to help Hispanic Gen Z shoppers and trendsetters access luxury products and services.
- WRKiiT (Oakland, California): Aims to empower fitness instructors by providing a supportive platform for self-development, business growth, and community building.
“While each company in Cohort 12 is tackling a unique challenge, they all share a common passion for breaking barriers and supporting wellness and equity in their communities,” StartOut CEO Brian Richardson said in a statement. “We’re excited to once again work with the team at J.P. Morgan to provide mentorship and guidance to our entrepreneurs. We are honored to play a role in their exciting business journeys.”
The Startout Growth Lab program offers networking, mentorship, and education to support business growth and ensure equitable access to the resources and tools for entrepreneurs.
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