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BetterMynd grows as mental health of college students is prioritized

Buffalo News - 5/28/2024

May 28—Buffalo startup now working with over 100 colleges and universities

With an increasing emphasis being put on the importance of mental health resources for young people, a Buffalo startup is quickly increasing its presence on college campuses across the country.

BetterMynd, which provides an online platform catering to the mental health needs of college students, has come a long way since founder Cody Semrau moved the company from Rochester to Buffalo in 2020 and then a year later, won a $500,000 finalist prize in the 43North competition.

With 66% growth from last year in campus partnerships, BetterMynd has gone from just an idea several years ago to now serving more than 100 colleges and universities, reaching over 500,000 students.

And it's not just in this region. The company, which employs around 20 people, works with colleges and universities down south and out west.

BetterMynd also doubled the attendance from last year for the 50-minute online therapy sessions offered to its partners, as well as significantly growing its counselor network now consisting of more than 400 licensed and insured mental health clinicians.

Semrau started the company to quickly get students the help they need before they drop out of school or even take their own lives.

"We are proud to provide increasing numbers of college students nationwide with flexible, personalized online care needed to address the broad range and complexity of their mental health concerns," said Semrau, whose company is also part of Launch NY's Investor Network.

"As we look to the rest of 2024, we will continue to focus on expanding our impact through new and strengthened partnerships and making it as easy and convenient as possible for students to receive the online therapy support they need," he said.

BetterMynd supplements and expands on-campus mental health resources to provide more accessible and personalized care to students helping meet their individual mental health needs and schedules.

Around 77% of students on college campuses experience mental health challenges and more than 85% of college counseling centers are experiencing increased demand for online therapy, according to BetterMynd.

The company has partnered with 47 additional campuses over the past year, including more recent agreements with schools like the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Southern University and A&M College System.

In addition, BetterMynd forged business partnerships with Togetherall, Upswing and the Hope Center, furthering the company's reach.

The company is now averaging 1,400-plus students tuning in for the 50-minute sessions every month, helping to meet the increased demand for mental health services among college students.

BetterMynd expanded its counselor network with a 30% increase in the number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and other people of color) counselors and a 15% increase in multilingual counselors.

The University of Albany has partnered with BetterMynd for the last two years.

"We know that students' mental health and wellbeing is of utmost importance to their academic success," said Karen Sokolowski, director of the university's counseling and psychological services.

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Third annual tech and hacking conference coming to Buffalo

For the past several years, Matt Gracie has tried to bring people together in the technology and information security community.

When he realized there weren't many opportunities for meetups or networking, Gracie decided to take things in his own hands.

He founded BSides Buffalo in 2021 and shortly after brought a tech and hacking conference to Western New York.

Now in its third year, BSides Buffalo will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.June 1 at Canisius University's Science Hall with multiple speakers, lockpicking, capture the flag hacking contests, vendors and swag giveaways. It is part of a network of events that happens in 239 cities spanning 63 countries, beginning in 2009 in Las Vegas.

Gracie, who also hosts a monthly meetup to get the tech community together, said BSides Buffalo draws hundreds of guests — anyone from hobbyists and students to security practitioners and chief information security officers.

Speakers will discuss general security and hacking content. There also will be a sponsor expo area and space for community groups like TechBuffalo and Buffalo Game Space.

Tickets are $20 at EventBrite.com or can be free if participants agree to submit a resume to share with event sponsors.

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Springboard seeks applicants

The second round of applications for entrepreneurial competition Springboard is open for organizations and businesses, offering total prizes of $600,000 this year.

The first round was launched in March and attracted 131 applicants — a mix of businesses and nonprofit organizations. Prizes range between $5,000 and $25,000 per winner over the course of three rounds.

Round two applications are due June 21. Ideal candidates will be from the greater Buffalo, greater Rochester and Southern Tier communities and have a product, service, program or initiative that benefits entrepreneurs or businesses with a need for funding to expand or bring the idea to market.

Applications should be submitted online at springboardny.org.

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THE LATEST

SUNY Buffalo State is cutting programs and offering buyouts to close its budget deficit.

A group of homes near the former Medaille University campus are up for sale.

FeedMore WNY is getting cheap electricity for its new headquarters.

A Falconer manufacturer has new owners.

A big affordable housing project is in the works for Dunkirk.

The unemployment rate across Buffalo Niagara remains relatively low.

Evans Bank is looking for customers in the legal cannabis business.

The Old Editions bookstore project hit a snag.

An East Side health care project is moving forward.

Downtown revitalization projects in Lancaster, Dunkirk and Wellsville are getting state funding.

A Buffalo-based employee benefits firm made an acquisition.

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ICYMI

Five reads from Buffalo Next:

1. Do personal seat licenses hold their value? Here's what's happened in other NFL markets.

2. Michael Montante reflects on four years as Uniland CEO.

3. A federal agency could halt construction of a wastewater pipeline at the STAMP site in Genesee County. How does that affect two companies preparing to open facilities there?

4. After years of relative inactivity, the more rural northern parts of Amherst are seeing a surge of new development projects.

5. The push to get more women and minority contractors working on the Buffalo Bills stadium project could pay dividends on other big construction jobs down the road.

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The Buffalo Next team gives you the big picture on the region's economic revitalization. Email tips to buffalonext@buffnews.com or reach Buffalo Next Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.

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