A new crowdfunded online platform Prodana is combatting unaffordable mental health support issues through the generosity of others.
The Pay-it-Forward crowdfunding platform helps compensate mental health practitioners who take on clients who may not be able to afford therapy.
Prodana receives support from The Forge, a business incubator funded by McMaster University.
Lilach Saperstein is among many who struggled with both mental health and the ability to afford the help they need. “If financial barriers is what’s keeping you from getting mental health services, then this is really something that you should look into,” Saperstein said.
Founder Shalom Shore says the people who supported him through his own mental health struggles inspired him to bring this platform to life.
“Prodana is trying to allow any mental wellness health or professional to create a mini ecosystem where they give first, and allow the person to pay it forward when they are ready,” Shore said.
Prodana allows practitioners to set their own price points.
While Ontario’s health insurance plan (OHIP) does have some mental health coverage, registered psychotherapist Stephanie Davis says the coverage just isn’t enough.
“OHIP doesn’t cover any of it unless you’re going through a medical doctor who is a psychotherapist, and there’s only a few of those,” Davis said.
Without OHIP, Davis says patients could expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $200 per hour for mental health supports.
Shore says Prodana is about being a part of the solution, “every payment that I’m making is not just about me. It’s about the people that I’m helping.”
Practitioners are given a space on the website to input credentials, and testimonials are anonymously collected by Prodana to display on their profiles. Although it is made possible by the Pay-it-Forward model, Prodana does not require users to contribute.