Brothers Eric and Brian Nam discussed normalizing the conversation around mental health and creating a safe space for users of their app Mindset during a USC speaker event on Tuesday.
The lack of mental health conversations spurred the two to create a social media platform that openly discusses mental health problems and promotes mental wellness.
Mindset inspires its users by sharing the lives and stories of influential artists through visual and audio storytelling. Users are able to keep up with artists by listening to them retell their journeys and words of advice.
“To talk about something that is as personal, as sensitive as mental health, we thought it’s important for it to come from the artist themselves,” said Brian Nam, CEO and co-founder of Mindset, and younger brother of K-pop star and TV personality Eric Nam.
While the app shares artist stories, it also features daily five minute check-ins for everyday users to reflect on themselves, creating a self-care routine in a quick and easy way. This feature allows users to share their own feelings and experiences in a supportive community.
You can also receive notifications that display words of encouragement and daily quotes on your phone screen as a member of Mindset.
Some other features include expert advice from mental health professionals and professors, accessible through their exclusive library.
Through the mental health wellness app, users have exclusive access to over 25 artists from different walks of life including actor Paul Wesley from “The Vampire Diaries,” Korean rapper Mingyu and singer Tori Kelly.
The app currently boasts 3 million subscribers and over 4 million social media followers, according to their website. Accessibility was a top priority for both creators when making the app to best spread mental health awareness to the vast majority.
“A lot of the content on there is actually free, and we make it as accessible as possible,” Brian Nam said. “It’s to support our communities in ways that haven’t been done before.”
USC students at the event felt represented during the speaker discussions on mental health and were grateful to the creators for coming to speak on campus.
“For me personally, it means a lot because I really like K-pop and him,” said Christine Chen, a junior majoring in global geodesign and economics. “For him to actually come to our school [is] really special.”
Gilbert Portillo, a second-year health behavior research Ph.D. student, shares that he initially attended the event to accompany a friend without much knowledge of the event itself, but was grateful for the experience.
“I appreciated having the space and being able to have this conversation in general with fellow people of color and also any allies,” Portillo said.
USC’s own Dr. Quade French, senior director of consultation and training for Campus Wellbeing and Education (CWE), joined the pair on stage to provide a professional opinion during the event. He discussed the importance of community as an option for mental health support compared to the standard notion of individual therapy.
“Individual therapy is conceptualized in America as a really white and a really privileged way of getting support, [which] it is. And so I think it’s important to really explore the other ways in which support can be found,” Dr. French said. “There are diagnosed mental health disorders that could benefit from psychotherapy or from psychiatry, but there’s a lot of things that can really be supported through community.”
Mindset hones in on the importance of cultivating a supportive community to safely discuss topics of mental health, themes reciprocated by Dr. French.
Michelle Chang, a USC dental student, shared her thoughts in response to Dr. French’s remarks on mental health.
“It really is nice to see people who look similar to me, who have [a] similar culture to me, talk about it [mental health] like it’s normal,” Chang said.