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Meet the Catalyst Finalists: MindRight Health

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Titus Cornell

With one part-time social worker for every 500 students, it didn’t take long for Ashley Edwards to realize the school where she was working wasn’t meeting the mental health needs of its students. She founded MindRight Health to help fill the gap in the support system provided by social workers and school staff.

Ashley’s experience in education in Newark, New Jersey made it clear that the education system was failing to address the needs of students who were dealing with complex and normalized trauma. After growing up with parents who were raised in inner-cities and experienced trauma from daily exposure to violence, Ashley has a personal conviction to ensure that no child has to grow up without the mental health resources they need.

She understands that today’s youth need someone caring and relatable to support them in life, so she set out to create a service that empowers and uplifts them.

MindRight Health is a digital mental health coaching service that uses SMS text messaging to link low-income and underserved youth to leaders, role models and other useful resources that can help brighten the lives of marginalized communities. By sending a simple “hello,” young people can reach out and connect to their team of coaches whenever they need someone to talk to about school, feelings or other factors that affect our mental wellbeing. Prevention is at the forefront of MindRight’s operation as they maintain a consistent line of communication before, during and after assisting their users.

We’re checking in with people every single day, seven days a week, three-hundred sixty-five days a year to make sure everyone feels seen and heard by one caring adult.
Ashley Edwards, CEO, MindRight Health

Personalization plays a critical role in their service as coaches provide culturally-responsive and trauma-informed mental health coaching that matches the needs of the user. Coaches work with clinical advisors to base their coaching model on evidence-based interventions, including trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Through their service, they provide their partners real-time data on student emotional wellness to drive predictive analytics and to help prevent mental health crises.

MindRight prioritizes “genuine, sustained and trusting” mental health coaching and equips youth who have experienced trauma with personalized care through trained and vetted coaches. MindRight has served more than 600 young people in New Jersey, New York and D.C. and plans to scale their business throughout the Northeast region. Their work has garnered support and recognition in the media, most notably from Forbes, which named Ashley as one of its 2018 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.

MindRight exists so that America’s youth have the resources they need to maintain their mental and emotional health. The care and unconditional support MindRight brings to communities ensures that our children know that they are never alone and will always have a shoulder to lean on. We are proud to have MindRight Health as a Catalyst semifinalist, and we look forward to seeing them grow.

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