Akris is proud to honor Roni Frank, a true woman of purpose who saw first-hand the broken nature of the mental health system and was inspired to create a solution. In 2012, she and her husband Oren founded Talkspace and defined it as a “Therapy for All” with an underlying belief that mental health is a human right.
Today, Talkspace is the leading telebehavioral healthcare company that makes therapy and psychiatry accessible and affordable to people across the globe. As the Head of Clinical Services, Roni is leading the company’s provider network of more than 1,500 therapists. She is committed to open access to mental health care for every person in need. Roni is the perfect example of an Akris woman who is committed to making a difference and live a life with purpose.
What inspired you and your husband to create Talkspace?
The inspiration behind Talkspace came when Oren and I experienced the benefits of couples therapy in our own marriage. After realizing the positive impact therapy had on our lives, and learning more about how broken the mental health care system is and that millions of people left without treatment, we wanted to create a platform to bring therapy to all. The stigma around mental health and the lack of resources available to address these issues can be overwhelming - we founded Talkspace to overcome these obstacles.
What ways do you see Talkspace continuing to help increase awareness around taking care of mental health?
Our goal is to normalize mental health issues so that no one is afraid to speak up and seek help for the difficulties they are facing. This means making Talkspace an inclusive platform where every patient feels safe, empowered, and supported to speak up about what is troubling them. One example is our partnership with world champion swimmer Michael Phelps, who shared the story of his mental health struggles and how therapy helped save his life. This partnership is about increasing mental health awareness and inspiring people in need to reach out for help.
During the trying times of quarantine, what tools did you find helpful to boost your positivity?
For me, it is really about what I can learn from this crisis - a reminder about what really matters, what are my values. Such a perspective is very helpful, I am more mindful now and more present with the most basic things such as family dinners, and there is something beautiful about it. It is also a wakeup call for all of us that we are all vulnerable and that we need to come together and support one another. It teaches us about the importance of community and support systems, and about the value of human connection. I see a lot of kindness and support which is uplifting.
What advice would you have for other female entrepreneurs who are just starting out in the workplace?
Innovation requires us to embrace failures. As entrepreneurs this is even more important because with innovation you cannot immediately find the right solution and the perfect product. It takes time, and it takes experiments until you figure it out - you are going to fail along the way. Failures build your resilience. Once you stop being afraid of failing, you immediately give yourself access to new ways of thinking, and new opportunities. Failures are part of success. I learned how important it is to care deeply about the mission, to do something that is aligned with your values. That is what allows you to deal with the bad days and extreme challenges of building a company. If you are passionate about the mission, you will stay motivated even when it’s difficult. This is my biggest advice to entrepreneurs, solve a problem that you really care about.
What makes you feel empowered?
My family - my husband and 2 girls are number one for sure! Working on an important mission - my work, Talkspace’s mission gives me meaning and purpose which is for me very empowering. I realized how important very simple things are: sleep well, eat well, carve out time to relax, and spend time with family. I also use Talkspace and have worked with a therapist to learn how to manage stress better. That was very helpful, and as a result empowering.