Roni Frank: Normalizing Mental Health, the Elephant in the Room

December 7 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Lack of Access

Things are almost always different than they appear. Take mental health: We know the basics, like how at $100+ an hour, many can’t afford to sit down with a therapist once, let alone consistently. But this lack of access to affordable healthcare stretches beyond an hourly rate. Oftentimes, offices are only open during business hours, so if you’re working an inflexible job or an hourly one, you lose money by going to therapy. And what if you’re a mother? It’s hard to share and strategize about postpartum depression when you have to bring your colicky baby with you. Nothing can replace seeing a licensed professional. Draw yourself a bubble bath, give yourself 15 minutes of self-care and figure out how you can make it work.


When you’re diagnosed with a mental health issue, you assume that part of your strategy is to go to counseling. It’s not as simple as it sounds, though; The National Alliance on Mental Illness says that 1 in 5 people have been diagnosed with mental health issues, and 1 in 25 adults live with a serious mental health condition like schizophrenia. Unfortunately, only 30 percent of people have access to therapy. That means people have to turn to unreliable sources like Facebook groups to connect, where everyone thinks they have an MD. (Newsflash: They don’t).

WOMAN TO WATCH: Roni Frank, Co-founder & Head of Clinical Services at Talkspace

When today’s Woman to Watch, Roni Frank, was in graduate school studying psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, people would come to her with their problems. She learned through her coursework and interactions that people want to talk about their mental health, but they’re not always so fortunate to be able to access such services. So, she and her co-founder (AKA her hubby) started Talkspace.

Roni heads clinical services at Talkspace, the online therapy platform that lets you access licensed professional therapy through the ease of clicking your mousepad or iPhone screen. As one of TIME’s “50 Most Influential People in Health Care,” Roni and her biz have been abuzz by millennials, and rightfully so. For those without insurance, Talkspace offers an affordable alternative, and for those busy bees on the go, Talkspace’s unlimited texting option makes checking in with your mental health a breeze.

Millennials are the ones who might just firmly squash the stigma of mental health. We aren’t afraid to ask for what we want, and what we want is to be joyful in our everyday lives. Roni recently took a stance about how employers can help their employees develop better coping mechanisms and stress-reducing techniques.

One way Roni implements this philosophy at Talkspace? She encourages employees to take no-questions-asked mental health days. No more faking a cough on the phone to your boss! Roni suggests bosses get ahead of their employees’ burnout by defining self-care and encouraging—but also demonstrating—when and how to tackle workplace anxiety. Roni emphasizes there isn’t a divide between personal and professional anymore. On the whole, we need to care about one another’s well being.

When Roni discusses what mental health means as a woman, she says it means self-care. She urges women to recognize this as a priority; create a calendar event for self-care if you need to. Neglecting your needs doesn’t help your relationships, health or happiness. One way to make sure you fit self-care in? Speak up. Demand it. And don’t take no for an answer.

Self-care is important when you’re hustling. Check out our three ways to stay sane when you’re in the throes of a high-stress biz by clicking here or, if you’re listening via podcast, head over to!


The thought-provoking writer Anaïs Nin wrote:

"Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country."

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