These Millennials Want Everyone, Everywhere to Have Access to Mental Health Care

34 under 34:The Rising Stars in Health

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True wellness starts in the mind. These go-getters recognize that happiness is a need, not a luxury, and believe that feeling confident and calm shouldn’t be reserved for people who can afford a pricey therapist. Of course, providing mental health care to the masses isn’t easy, but that’s exactly why these guys are on our list.
Lodro Rinzler
Photo: Courtesy of MDNFL

Lodro Rinzler

Lodro Rinzler

Raised in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, Rinzler has been meditating since he was 6 years old. But the idea for MNDFL, a meditation studio in NYC, didn’t emerge until a few years ago when he was chatting with a friend, who eventually became his business partner. “MNDFL exists to enable humans to feel good,” Rinzler says. “If you feel stressed out, try a breathing class. If you want to set an intention, try an intention class.” Like a gym for your mind, the studio is spacious, filled with green plants, and offers 30- to 45-minute meditation classes in a variety of styles. Rinzler, who has another book coming out in December, wants to make meditation accessible to everyone. “It takes time to sink into the practice,” Rinzler says. “What we do is make students feel supported.” Can't make it to MNDFL? Try Rinzler's 10-minute meditation at home.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a meditation teacher? "I would write plots for comic books like Spider-Man."
Alejandro Foung
Photo: Courtesy of Lantern

Alejandro Foung

Alejandro Foung

Psychology started out as an academic interest for Foung, but it quickly turned personal. “One of my first cousins had a psychotic break, and my family really struggled to articulate what to do," Foung says. The research was there, the desire to help was there, but somehow the solution was still elusive. Years later, after being involved with the successful IPO for Trulia, Foung revisited the problem. "We didn't see any technology solutions," Foung says, speaking of himself and cofounder Nicholas Letourneau. "So we decided to give it a shot. And our path was not to make something up but to connect with a team of researchers.” And with that, Lantern, a digital form of therapy that can help with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, was born. "Mental health is for everyone," Foung says. "It affects everyone, and everyone should have access. Lantern provides that possibility."

What’s your guilty pleasure? "Paying $30 to do Barry's Bootcamp. I love it—it's the best!"

"Mental health is for everyone. It affects everyone, and everyone should have access." - Alejandro Foung

Jenny Jaffe
Photo: Courtesy of Jenny Jaffe

Jenny Jaffe

Jenny Jaffe

As someone who struggled with mental health issues as a teen, Jaffe knows firsthand just how isolating it can feel. "I started Project UROK because it is the organization I wish had existed when I was having some really significant struggles," Jaffe says. The group’s mission is to create funny, honest videos for teens struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, made by people who know exactly how they feel. Jaffe started the site in 2014, and soon after, the organization was acquired by the Child Mind Institute with the hope of reaching an even wider audience. Today the online community gives young people an inclusive place to talk and a strong message: You are not alone.


Have you been to all 50 states? If not, which one would you like to visit next? "I have not! I'd love to go to Louisiana and see New Orleans."
What's one Netflix show you love to binge-watch? "I'm excited to watch the new season of Black Mirror. Also, I genuinely believe Comedy Central's Review is the best comedy show currently on the air."
Peter Shalek and Steve Marks
Photo: Courtesy of Joyable

Peter Shalek and Steve Marks

Peter Shalek and Steve Marks

When Shalek first had the idea for an app that could help cure social anxiety, he contacted his business-school friend, Steve Marks, for advice and feedback. “It started out with Pete selling me on the idea, and by the end I was selling him on it,” Marks says. Joyable officially launched in March 2015. The app, which uses proven cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, brings on-demand therapy to anyone with a phone at a fraction of traditional costs. And guess what? It really works. In fact, a number of Joyable’s earliest clients were referrals from psychiatrists. “We had tapped into something powerful,” Marks says. Joyable has now helped tens of thousands of people overcome social anxiety. The ultimate goal, Shalek says, is “to free the world of anxiety and depression.” That definitely gives us something to smile about.

What’s your go-to cocktail? “I actually just drink gin on the rocks with a twist. My favorite is Corsair Distillery.” - Shalek
What song would you sing on American Idol? “‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’!” - Marks

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