The United States of America is an amazing place, where the power of ingenuity is on full display every day. New advances have drastically altered our lives for the better in countless ways, many that we no longer even consciously recognize.
For decades, America has proudly set the standard for excellence in business and technology. That is a fundamental reason why our nation continues to be a world leader and produce the best and the brightest of the next generation.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and interview an amazing entrepreneur who truly embodies the American spirit of innovation. Not only has he achieved great success helping build and cultivate household names such as Stubhub and eBay but also he is using his talents to create an actionable solution to a serious problem of epic proportions in this country: mental health care.
My Sirius XM 126 interview with American businessman Shawn Kernes opened my eyes to the prevalence of this issue within our country. We are routinely saddened by the all-too-frequent headlines of celebrity suicides. Most of us personally know someone who suffers from depression or anxiety, even if we do not realize it. We might even occasionally battle these demons ourselves. It is shocking to consider that an estimated 50 million-plus Americans are suffering from mental illness or other psychological conditions. That is one-fourth of the population. And even more alarming, at least 60 percent of those—more than 30 million people—are not presently receiving the treatment they need.
How can that be? As I recently uncovered, a number of factors prevent people from receiving care, with the most prevalent roadblocks being cost, accessibility and stigma. And although it certainly serves an important purpose, traditional in-office therapy faces inherent challenges associated with these barriers, and ultimately, might not be the best fit for every individual.
Kernes is taking his technology expertise and putting it to good use by helping solve this massive problem facing our country. He recently created a revolutionary new mental health care app named LARKR, which provides people with on-demand therapy with licensed professionals right from their smartphones.
This development means that moving forward, people will no longer have to worry about how far they live from the closest therapist specializing in their particular area of need. They will not have to stress about the stigma or inconvenience of taking time off work or school to travel to appointments. They can instead access therapy from a conference room at work, in the park on their lunchbreak or even from the comfort of their couches at home.
As someone who grew up in the small town of Marion, S.C., in the Deep South, it immediately stood out to me the remarkable difference that this product could make for those who live in rural areas with limited resources. No longer will they have to spend hours driving dozens (or even hundreds) of miles just to reach a qualified therapist, or forgo appointments because they simply cannot afford that much time away on a weekly basis.
Personally, I am a big believer that everyday commitments such as being self-aware and continually working on physical and mental self-improvement are the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. It is always important to keep learning and developing, to feel that you are making a difference, to live a life that benefits others and to feel good about yourself.
This commitment to constant improvement is important for all of us on a personal level, but it is also vitally important to business and commerce in the United States. Making things better, faster and more efficient is what America is all about and this mantra continues to drive our country forward.
Private enterprise in the United States has the incredible power to produce inventions that modernize and disrupt industries with creative new products that make all of our lives better. It even has the ability to solve some of the most vexing and troubling problems that we face as a nation and a people.
The world is rapidly changing all around us in ways both good and bad. Although the United States is not without its problems, it is heartening and invigorating to see daily new examples that America is still the greatest nation in the world and remains at the tip of the spear when it comes to innovation.
Mr. Williams is manager/sole owner of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year. Watch our Right Side Forum every Saturday Live on Newschannel 8 TV 28 in D.C., 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and repeated at 6:30 p.m., EST.
Follow Twitter @arightside. Visit at www.ArmstrongWilliams.com.