Name: Dylan Beynon Title: Founder & CEO, Mindbloom Based in: NYC; Austin Age: 32
Dylan Beynon and I met in May of 2019 at a mental health and workplace discussion and dinner we were both invited to (c/o Alpha Club, through which founders of mental health enterprises and related companies of all stages gathered together to discuss and share constructive ways and know-hows for improving mental health in the workspace. Mental healthcare service provider Alma, community platform for dads and parenting advice Fatherly, amongst others were there, along with Dylan, the founder of a psychedelic medicine healthcare startup that was then just coming out of stealth mode. Since formally launching in March, Mindbloom now offers remote-enabled psychedelic therapy to residents in New York, California, Florida, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania and it’s looking ahead to rapid growth as a leading psychedelic medicine provider.
I reconnected with Dylan to see how he and Mindbloom was doing and am excited to share with you the vision behind and shaping Dylan and Mindbloom. Here’s our chat on everything from all you need to know in advance of pursuing ketamine therapy, mental health support, to breaking through the adversity of having a parent with acute mental illness.
1. In your own words, describe who you are.
I’m a 3x tech entrepreneur who has built companies that increase access to local democracy, civil justice, and mental healthcare. Right now, I’m Founder & CEO at Mindbloom, a venture-backed brand helping people with depression and anxiety achieve life-changing results with clinician-prescribed psychedelic therapy from home.
2. The services Mindbloom offers is still relatively new to the consumer space. Tell us the benefits of ketamine therapy.
- Achieve outsized clinical results. The average SSRI antidepressant is only effective for 30-37% of people, takes 6-8 weeks to work, and causes mild to severe side effects. Ketamine is significantly more effective across all three vectors.
- Radically increase patient access to care by making treatment more approachable, affordable, and available. Ketamine therapy historically has had an inclusivity problem due to high costs and lack of availability outside major US metros.
- Create transformational client experiences. From the therapeutic content to the software to the clinicians and coaches who care personally, an artfully crafted experience creates both better and more delightful client outcomes.
Our clients are guided through every step of the process, from screening to integration, by expert guides and licensed clinicians. Our Guides help the client set their intentions before their session, which can be questions like “What’s holding me back?” or “What would I like to change in my life?”
Integration is equally important to the client’s outcome. Our structured integration sessions help our clients unpack the medicinal experience through exercises like journaling. Journaling immediately after a self-guided session, and in the days following ketamine therapy, provides a point of reference throughout the therapeutic journey.
3. Can you explain how ketamine differs from antidepressants and when it might be appropriate to pursue one over the other?
Compared to traditional SSRI antidepressants like prozac and lexapro, ketamine works faster (immediately vs. 6-8 weeks), usually has no negative side effects, and is effective for people 70%+ of the time.
The neuroscience of ketamine shows that it affects different neurotransmitters and receptors than medicines like antidepressants (e.g. SSRI; NDRI; SNRI). The pathways ketamine affects are shown to increase neuroplasticity [our brain’s ability to create new neural pathways], rather than increase the concentration of serotonin.
4. What was your first therapeutic ketamine experience like?
I’m not a believer in attempting to describe indescribable experiences 🙂
What I will say is that psychedelic therapy has been a pillar of my growth and development for over a decade. I wouldn’t be who I am or where I’m at without it. For me, ketamine’s therapeutic impact has been equivalent to other psychedelic medicines, and having the privilege to work in safe settings with trained clinicians and healers has helped me get even more out of treatment.
5. You lost your mother to addiction and schizophrenia growing up. How do you encourage youth struggling with mental health illness in their family?
I’m not qualified to give advice to kids with mental illness in their family. It’s a wicked problem. Al-Anon is a resource that could help.
I can only speak to what worked for me:
- Being open. I think most kids hide their adversity at home out of fear or shame. I was extremely open about it with friends, coaches, and teachers. Everybody knew. It eased the emotional burden, and I received generous support and understanding from others when I needed it most.
- Letting go of resentment. At some point I realized that humanity is fundamentally good, everyone is trying their best, and my anger was only hurting me by affecting how I interacted with others. When I accepted that painful events weren’t happening to me, they were just happening, I was able to achieve more peace.
- Taking ownership. As a kid, I never felt like I stood a chance at helping her (and I didn’t). Instead, I avoided the drama and never let myself feel like a victim. I focused on what I could control: school, sports, and my friends. I became proud of what I was overcoming. I thought about this line from The Count of Monte Cristo nearly daily throughout middle and high school as a reminder.
“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout…. Do your worst, for I will do mine!”
6. Any morning, afternoon, or evening routines you have to keep yourself well and mentally healthy?
I’m a biohacker nerd. I’ve built my routines over a decade by absorbing what is useful, discarding what is useless, and adding what is specifically my own. Instead of writing you an e-book on my dorky routines, I’ll share the #1 issue I see others run into: not making mental wellbeing a non-negotiable top priority that comes before everything else.
7. What are the next steps for Mindbloom?
- Increase access to treatment for more people by expanding where our partner clinicians treat (more states) and what they treat (more conditions).
- Double down on building the most clinically efficacious and transformational client experiences through technology, content, and human care.
Grow our mission-obsessed team – we’re hiring!
8. Letters to My Younger Self: If you had any advice to give your younger self, what would it be?
I subscribe to Amor Fati, or love of fate. No way would I risk disrupting the space-time continuum by telling my younger self to start building things, prioritizing my relationships, and studying the philosophy of happiness earlier. Too risky! Where I’m at now is perfect 😎
Interview by Susan Yoomin Im
Complement Dylan’s story with RAW Artists CEO Heidi Luerra’s experience of growing up with a schizophrenic mother. For more discourse on alternative forms of medication, read about the difference between NDRI and SSRI antidepressants, or alternative forms of healing with homeopath Danielle Zinaich, and check out an exploration of Buddhism and Western medical practices with Former Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Nick Ribush. For more interesting facts on how our brain works, read our extensive piece about the gut and how you can make changes to it now to improve your mental health.