Student startup Psykhe matches students with therapists

Hannah Ortega, News Reporter

After hours of phone calls with insurance providers, bouncing from therapist to therapist and facing frustration and discouragement with each strikeout, Mansi Parikh just couldn’t seem to find the right therapist for her. 

As she spoke with other UT students, she found they had similar struggles with finding a therapist that fit their needs. This experience inspired UT alumna Parikh to create Psykhe, a medical match-making service for students and therapists, which, within its seven months of operation, has matched over 60 students.

“Our goal is to help … empower (students) to prioritize their mental health and get the right treatment that they need,” Psykhe CEO Parikh said. 

Through Psykhe, students can list their insurance and treatment needs on an online client form. The Psykhe team will then manually match that student to several therapists using their self-made database of about 150 therapists. The database includes a therapist’s contact information, licensing, communication style and more, said Psykhe CFO Vin Chatterjee.

“One of the reasons we started this venture is because we found online it’s very difficult to find accurate information for therapists,” finance senior Chatterjee said. “Directories like Psychology Today have outdated information, and that ultimately discourages people from seeking out therapy.”

Chatterjee said matches are sent within 48 hours. After the team matches a student with a therapist, they help guide that student to book an appointment. 

Taylor Vest, licensed professional counselor associate at Austin Family Counseling, said she’s had one or two students matched with her through Psykhe. 

“Navigating the process of finding a therapist is really difficult because we have different licenses for different job titles,” Vest said. “Trying to figure out if you need a therapist, or if you need a psychiatrist or a psychologist — they have a lot of overlap. It’s so helpful to have systems in place that help people find the right form of support.”

In a few weeks, Chatterjee said Psykhe will relaunch to serve all Austin colleges. Vest said she hopes the service will expand further because many college counseling centers are often overworked and unable to provide long-term treatment.

“They are creating something that would be useful in all universities,” Vest said. “Psykhe’s going to help with creating easier access to mental health care, and that is so needed right now. I hope that they continue to grow because they have a really good purpose.”

Chatterjee said the Psykhe team is currently working on speeding up and automating parts of the match-making process but also hopes to eventually expand to other universities across the country.

“(We want to be) continuously finding therapists that are willing to work with students or that are seeking out student clients,” Chatterjee said. “Then go develop a partnership with UT, go to other universities in Texas, and hopefully one day, universities around the country.”