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Evolved Man Series: Pouria Mojabi

He used his technical expertise to create a space for men to anonymously seek mental health support.

Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s Evolved Man Series, where we highlight individuals that embody what it means to be an evolved man—famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds.

This week’s honor goes to the University of Southern California alum, electrical engineer, and co-founder of Supportiv, Pouria Mojabi.

Pouria Mojabi is the Co-Founder of Supportiv. He started his career at UCSF and San Francisco VA Medical Center, working on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy. He was part of an early team that looked at blood flow calculations in the brain as a biomarker to predict Alzheimer’s disease. Pouria then joined the start-up world and became employee #1 at BaseHealth, building the algorithm and the initial product. He also was the technical co-founder of Vitagene, combining DNA data with blood test results for lifestyle and nutrition recommendations.

After years of struggling with his depression and anxiety, and the loss of a good friend, Pouria made a significant life change and realize that he’d put his technical expertise to create a space for men to anonymously seek mental health support.

Supportiv provides anonymous peer support chats and hyper-personalized resources. It uses a simple, non-stigmatizing question—”What’s your struggle?”—to connect users to others who want to talk about similar topics.

That might be the loss of a relationship, coping with anxiety, or bouncing back after messing something up. The company won SXSW’s pitch competition in 2019 for social and cultural impact, and in two years, the company has passed 300,000 users with more than five million conversations on the platform.

The chats that occur have similar benefits to in-person support groups, but with significant differences: Nobody knows your identity, and you can talk to understanding people 24/7.

They use small group chats (seven people, max) to eliminate any biases or judgments that can occur over voice or video. And because anonymity can spawn trolls, Supportiv includes professional moderators to facilitate positive peer-to-peer conversations.

With little-to-no barriers to entry, they have made it more accessible to more people than traditional therapy. (Supportiv is free for 24 hours, then it costs 20 cents per minute.)

Supportiv also makes a point of making traditionally “feminine” mental health topics, like self-care, accessible to men (see: “Self Care Checklist For Manly Men“), which is vital since 57 percent of Supportiv users are men.

We at the Evolving Man Project wish Pouria Mojabi the best of luck as Supportiv continues to grow in serving those seeking mental health services. Too many men suffer in silence due to mental illness varying from anxiety to depression to PTSD. For those of your out there, you are not alone and Supportiv is here to help. Today, we honor Pouria Mojabi as our Evolved Man of the Week.

Originally published on Evolving Man Project. Reprinted with permission.


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