Ellie Mental Health Makes Services More Accessible Through Franchising
The launch of the Ellie Mental Health franchise couldn’t have come at a better time, but its services were in demand way before the pandemic caused a worldwide mental health crisis. According to a scientific brief released by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. “The isolation and anxiety of the pandemic created a perfect storm of mental health issues,” says Hallie Corbett, Ellie Mental Health’s chief operating officer.
But the pandemic isn’t the only culprit. Prior to the pandemic, mental health issues have been rising at an alarming rate, especially for adolescents. The New York Times recently reported that today’s teens are wrought with anxiety and depression and the number of teen suicides has more than doubled since 2007. Social media, social pressures, poor sleep, and a lack of exercise are also contributors.
Mental Health Awareness
One glimmer of hope in the crisis is that mental health is becoming less of a forbidden topic of conversation. The stigma associated with mental health issues slowly decreases as awareness increases. “More athletes and celebrities are talking about their own mental health issues. This is creating a greater social acceptance,” says Corbett. “When Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles disclosed her mental health struggles during the Tokyo Olympics, she helped put the spotlight on the importance of mental wellness.”
But even with increased awareness, people aren’t receiving the treatment they need. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, nearly 450 million people worldwide live with a mental illness. Yet, nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental illness never seek treatment. Ellie Mental Health seeks to change that.
The Story Behind Ellie Mental Health
High school friends Erin Pash and Kyle Keller (top photo) joined forces to change the way mental health services are offered. Passionate about helping others, they both originally pursued careers as social workers but became increasingly frustrated with the red tape and lack of innovation they experienced.
With a mission to destigmatize mental health services and make them more accessible and approachable, the millennial duo launched Ellie Mental Health in 2015 in St. Paul, Minn. Taking a fresh approach, they created a welcoming environment with a more humanistic feel, starting with the design of each location. “We intentionally designed our clinic spaces to feel cozy, like you’re visiting a good friend’s house rather than a sterile medical environment,” says Corbet. Ellie Mental Health even offers swag with lighthearted messaging that creates a fun feeling about mental health.
Ellie takes a modern approach between the client and therapist. “We have removed physical barriers to create a different experience,” says Corbett. “Gone are the days of the patient lying on the couch with the therapist hovering above.” Ellie’s system ensures a good fit between client and therapist. “We focus on the best clinical match. Not everyone clicks with their therapist,” she says.
The Ellie Franchise Opportunity
With a franchise system behind Ellie, mental health services are better for all involved. “By offering backend support to handle everything from billing to calls, therapists can do what they do best. It’s a win-win. Our clinicians are freed up to focus on the patient and avoid burnout from trying to do it all,” says Chris Pash, the company’s Chief Business Officer.
With Ellie’s innovative offerings and the demand for mental health services, it’s no surprise that the franchise opportunity has taken off. The brand has grown to 16 corporate locations (with four more in development) and started offering franchise opportunities in October 2021. Since then, they have signed almost 100 franchise agreements. Locations are set to start opening in June 2022. Pash says the demand will keep growing. “For every therapist out there, there are hundreds of people who need services.” But as far as Pash is concerned, Ellie and the franchise opportunity are ready to take on the growing need. “We are staffed up and ready to go,” he says.
Ideal Ellie Mental Health Franchise Owners
According to Pash, there are three essential qualities that make an ideal Ellie Mental Health franchise owner: An entrepreneurial spirit; a passion for mental health; and a commitment to their local community. Interestingly, no prior mental health experience is required. To get started, the franchise owner hires four to six clinicians but needs no other employees. “There’s no receptionist or other staff needed. It is a lean business model,” he says.
What makes Ellie really special to Pash and Corbett is that it allows people to enter the mental healthcare industry without prior experience. “There are so many people who have a passion for mental health and now there is a business opportunity for them. Whether their passion for mental wellness comes from their own struggles or from a loved one’s, people are joining Ellie as franchise owners for all the right reasons,” says Corbett.
For more information, visit the Ellie Mental Health franchise website. Ellie Mental Health recently announced a strategic investment from Princeton Equity Group and is supported by REP’M Group, a franchise growth and sales organization that helps franchise brands grow in a sustainable and responsible manner. For more information, email Info@repmgroup.com.