Los Angeles , June 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — OOTify, a new mental health hub powered by artificial intelligence (AI), is pleased to announce that former NBA defensive superstar, Metta World Peace has been selected as its Chief Impact Director.
“OOTify takes a holistic, innovative approach so you can get therapy, coaching, meditation or other support, depending on what’s right for you,” Metta said. “It’s really customized and that model of care has worked for me.”
Metta was a pioneer in the sports world to openly discuss mental health with his continued efforts to manage and improve his own mental health with therapy, meditation, and self-care. As depicted in “Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story,” the award-winning documentary, Metta largely credits Dr. Santhi Periasamy for his treatment, which he also announced publicly when the Lakers defeated the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 Finals. This was bold and had never been done before and was an early, vital step to de-stigmatize mental health and equally, highlight the important work that mental health professionals do.
“Our mental health providers are the backbone of our mental healthcare system, and we need to support them with models and incentives that take care of them. Metta’s early understanding of this and his story is what really drew us to him for this partnership to have even more impact,” said Ravi Sharma, a mental health activist, investor, technology entrepreneur and Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of OOTify.
Ravi added, “We actually started with colleges because of the growing need and we knew our new model for mental healthcare could be immensely impactful. According to a Healthy Minds Study, 37% of college students have been diagnosed with a mental disorder at some time in their lives. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the numbers are going from bad to worse. Metta has been a huge advocate for youth mental health and getting help early – so this partnership was a natural fit and alignment in our collective values.”
“We’re excited that Metta shares our vision and is joining the team and our journey,” said Dr. Paul R. Puri, OOTify’s Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder. “OOTify’s approach sees the distinctive attributes of each person and their individual needs. Mental health goes beyond depression and anxiety, and we address all mental health issues, using personalized mental health metrics and AI to provide customized recommendations and resources.” Both clinical and sub-clinical solutions are suggested and psychological assessment data is used to monitor the individual’s mental health and progress.”
With early roots in the University of Southern California’s Marshall Greif Center Incubator, OOTify completed a pilot clinical trial with a college campus, where thousands of data points were analyzed and are the basis of the personalized AI engine. These data points tracked digital phenotype inputs and allowed OOTify to measure the benefits of the clinical and subclinical solutions on the platform. OOTify is the first and only digital health company to demonstrate this on a college campus with a clinical trial, and is pushing for real innovation and science in this space. OOTify is focusing on those who are disproportionately affected by the lack of access to mental healthcare, especially college students. It is anticipated that OOTify will be the new model for mental healthcare to serve colleges and other enterprises.
Ravi also highlighted that the most recent and cutting-edge research supports OOTify’s model, “According to a recent study by Sapien Labs, the issues are multi-faceted and beyond stigma alone. ‘The data largely points to the need for greater clarity in the mental health space to help individuals understand their specific challenges and direct them to the right resources.’ In the US, people don’t seek help due to lack of confidence in mental health treatment (37%), lack of knowledge of what kind of help to seek (34%), a preference for self-care (28%), lack of affordability and access (25%) and stigma (24%).’ OOTify hones in on these issues with our personalized hub – helping you navigate your way to flourishing mental health.”
Metta felt instantly connected to OOTify’s mission and loved the meaning of OOTify, “lift up” in Hindi, which resonated with him because he is always looking to lift up those around him. The OOTify team is excited to move this partnership forward and rely on Metta and his platform to help to create awareness of its services and resources, to further cement their mutual mission of mental health advocacy through legislation, platform, partnerships and brands, and to emphasize the synergy between physical and mental fitness. Both believe in the importance of technology to reduce costs, lower barriers to entry for care, as well as many other issues plaguing the mental health industry.
Metta reflected on the partnership and said, “I really like the team at OOTify – they’re dedicated and determined. Reminds me of my defense and how I always used that to create momentum and energy for the team. With Ravi, Paul and the entire OOTify team, I think we can have even more impact together. I’m excited to take on the role of Chief Impact Director and looking forward to changing the way in which mental healthcare is delivered.”
OOTify has raised funding from the likes of Tidecrest Capital, OSEA Angels, Titan Angels, TiE Angels, Nex Cubed, iBOS Ventures, Anamika Ventures, and angel investors like Vikas Gupta and Rahul Khanna (ex-Uber), Kevin Morris (Tony-Award winner for co-producing The Book of Mormon) and Abhi Mahule (ex-Roku).
About Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, played professional basketball for 18 years becoming an Allstar, and works as a development coach with the Los Angeles South Bay Lakers and as an entrepreneur. In his career he has played for the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls. Internationally he has played with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Sichuan Blue Whales and Italy’s Pallacanestro Cantu.
World Peace has remained an active contributor in his hometown and in cities of organizations for which he has played and has worked simultaneously in global regions that require urgent humanitarian aid.
World Peace also helped Congresswoman Napolitano launch “The Mental Health in Schools Act” in Fall 2010 by participating in a mental health training program and visiting schools which were a part of the Mental Health in Schools Act’s pilot program.
He is also a serial entrepreneur with his endeavors, Artest Management Group and Gradelo and their ventures.
OOTify (Hindi meaning – “lift-up”) is a HIPAA-compliant technology application where members can connect with mental health resources including providers and coaches through video, audio, and text. Members aren’t locked into any subscription fees, so they have the ability to pay as they go and access therapy, coaching, and various sub-clinical resources whenever and however they are needed. OOTify is the future of personalized care and solves one of the biggest challenges in our mental health care system today: evidence-based recommendations.
OOTify has a two-pronged approach to mental health solutions and relies on its technology app as well as its enterprise software that are both available to colleges, universities, enterprises or anyone who is in need of mental healthcare. OOTify uses proprietary digital phenotyping technology to aggregate customized mental health information and then suggests real-time campus, community, and additional proprietary OOTify mental health resources.