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Meet Ravi Sharma and Michael Quinones of OOTify in Playa Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ravi Sharma and Michael Quinones.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ravi and Michael. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Ravi: After seeing many family members battle mental illness and mental health issues, mental health became very important to us. In 2016, I had lost a very close friend to suicide, and it was at that moment that I knew I needed to do something about it.

After researching the telehealth landscape and trying out some of the currently well known online therapy platforms, I knew that there had to be a better solution to our mental healthcare. After writing the business plan, I quit my job at Western Asset Management Company and set out to change the mental health landscape in America.

I knew that tackling mental health was challenging in more ways than one because you’re not only dealing with a very stigmatized issue but simultaneously, the mental healthcare system right now could not be more fractured. I knew it was going to take a diverse team of professionals and clinicians to address the issue, so I started building a team with unique backgrounds to make sure we were coming at this from a totally new perspective.

Luckily, the conversation around mental health couldn’t be more topical, and the issue hits close to home for so many people. Finding incredibly talented professionals in Los Angeles who are passionate about mental health wasn’t as hard as we thought.

OOTify was formed in the summer of 2017 and after months of beta testing, the mobile product launched in late September of 2018. We’ve grown the platform to over 175 mental health providers and over 1,000 mobile users and 4,000 web users.

Throughout this time we’ve built amazing relationships with different organizations like AIM for Mental Health and Crisis Text Line. We’ve rolled out a ton of engaging content like our animated film with Dr. Marc Weintraub and our podcast with Youtube beauty blogger Teni Panosian.

We’ve been hard at work making a difference in the community by leading discussions around mental health at Greek Chapters at UCLA and USC. We’ve been growing our voice by working closely with mental health pop up talks the Show Up Series and joining the MannMukti Podcast.

We know that mental health services are one of the most important areas in American society today and OOTify has been developed to deliver support to those in need.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Of course not. Every startup has their ups and downs, and there are always challenges along the way. But what keeps us going is the mission to make mental health resources more accessible to the masses. The stories that we hear everyday are proof that we need mental health resources now more than ever.

One of the major challenges that we face is that the current system is failing people. The healthcare industry in itself is big and clunky and often times does not address mental health as a part of our overall health.

We believe that mental health is imperative to our overall health and thus should be treated as such. To make mental healthcare more accessible to all, we need support from insurance companies, hospitals, academic institutions, and private companies to help people participate in preventative mental healthcare.

OOTify has been developed to partner with all types of organizations to support their base. When the system works together in a more efficient way, we have the ability to help people at scale more than we ever could individually.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about OOTify – what should we know?
OOTify is a mental health marketplace that provides mental health resources to millennials and GenZ through educational content, HIPAA compliant technology, and a supportive community of professionals and peers. We’re rebranding what it means to reach out for mental health support and providing easy access to mental health professionals.

The OOTify app is a HIPAA compliant communication platform that leverages artificial intelligence to optimize the best possible provider based on your specific issue. We provide audio, video, and messaging, as well as scheduling and billing so you can develop and maintain a relationship with a mental health professional directly through the platform.

If you want to connect with a provider right now, we’ll try to match you with a provider to address your specific issue using your intake information. If you’d rather search for someone and read more about their approach, great! We provide simple search capabilities, so you can see who matches up with your interests.

OOTify makes it easy to schedule time with that provider right on the platform, so no more waiting for someone to call you back. We know that we cannot solve the mental health crisis in America with just technology. We believe the issue is equally cultural, as it is systemic.

So OOTify provides educational, mental health content that empowers people to learn more about how to navigate the ups and downs of life’s challenges as well as a supportive community that provides a safe space for people to connect through shared experiences totally free.

We believe that sometimes we don’t always know exactly what we need to improve our mental health, but we do know that many times the hardest part can be reaching out for help. We’ve built our community platform to make it easy to reach out in any way that you feel most comfortable.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Emotional intelligence is key to this entire issue because we see mental healthcare as a human right. This isn’t just about insurance, co-pays, and deductibles. Mental healthcare is about people.

We’re all going through unique challenges in life, and we haven’t always been given the tools or support to know how to take care of our mental health. So we believe it’s important that OOTify is the bridge between the clinical and the cultural.

When we have a community of people supporting one another with open arms and providing streamlined access to professional help, we have the ability to change the entire game.

Pricing:

  • Providers pay a monthly subscription of $50 for the HIPAA compliant technology including audio, video, messaging, schedule & billing, as well as access to the marketplace with potential for new clients.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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