Rowan alumnus works to provide mental health services

Modern therapy co-founders Cassie and Brandon Christiansen are bringing mental health into the digital age. -photo courtesy of Brandon Christiansen

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four college students have a diagnosable mental illness. Of that group of students, around 40 percent will not seek help, 80 percent will feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities and 50 percent will become so anxious that they struggle in school.

But a new company co-founded by a Rowan Alumnus is looking to help change that. Modern Therapy, a company spearheaded by Brandon and Cassie Christensen is offering a new way to get therapy, pairing patients up online with licensed therapists via text, email, phone and video.

According to Brandon in an email interview, Modern Therapy offers a variety of virtual talk therapy services through text, email, phone and video. Video sessions and scheduling are done through the company’s in-house Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant software.

The idea for the company came from Modern Therapy’s co-founder Cassie. While working at a private therapy practice, she noticed that it was difficult for clients to deal with the insurance companies and the copays tended to be very expensive. She also noticed that it was impossible to schedule appointments quickly; and that there was trial and error in attempts to find a therapist that clients connected with.

Other issues with traditional therapy included the fact that clients felt embarrassed to sit in a waiting room, and often found themselves having to cancel in-person sessions frequently.

“What began as a way to help Cassie’s clients develope into a mental health movement that is spreading quickly,” Brandon said.

Brandon went on to say that the site pairs users with a therapist within 24 hours of signing up and that the therapist can be contacted whenever the user deems it necessary. The pricing structure is also comparable to a traditional brick and mortar therapy practice.

For Cassie Christensen, Rowan alumni and co-founder of the app, Rowan was instrumental in her success after graduation. In an email response, Cassie said that after graduating from Middlesex County College with her associate’s degree, her time at Rowan pointed her towards what would eventually become her full-time career.

“I took a class at Rowan that went over all of the different professions a psychology degree could lead to and what the next steps to reach those professions would be,” Cassie said. “The professor was amazing (I wish I could remember her name!) and she led me in the direction of a clinical social work degree to become a therapist. She reviewed my admission essays for graduate school and was a huge support.”

Cassie also said that she experienced a minor bit of anxiety while at college about being away from home and that getting therapy would have made the situation a lot better. So by building this app, she hopes to provide others with the resources they need.

For Brandon and Cassie, the final goal of this app is simple. By encouraging conversation about the importance of mental wellness and remove the stigma around seeking therapy, the founders hope to bring mental health into the mainstream.

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