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How to Find the Right Mental Health Provider for You
Episode 347

Mackenzie Drazan, CEO at MiResource

How to Find the Right Mental Health Provider

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How to Find the Right Mental Health Provider for You

Episode 347

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The Upward Spiral

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How to Find the Right Mental Health Provider for You with Mackenzie Drazan, CEO at MiResource | Convert audio-to-text with the best AI technology by Sonix.ai

Saul Marquez:
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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast today I have the privilege of hosting Mackenzie Drazan. She’s the Co-founder and CEO of MiResource, an online platform that connects people to mental healthcare. On her path to founding MiResource, Mackenzie started a non-profit myteam.org providing support and information to friends and family of those struggling with mental health issues. Prior to receiving a degree in Political Science and entrepreneurship from Duke University, Mackenzie had a successful career as a high fashion international model as well as competing for the US as an equestrian and competitive showjumping. A fascinating background for a outstanding health leader today and the number of conversations in mental health has increased and I think it’s timely that we had this discussion with Mackenzie so it’s a privilege to have you on Mackenzie. And I’m really excited to jump into the details. Anything that I left out of the intro that you want to fill in?

Mackenzie Drazan:
I think that was a great summary. Thanks so much for having me Saul.

Saul Marquez:
Hey it’s my pleasure, Mackenzie. Now what is it that got you into healthcare?

Mackenzie Drazan:
So it’s a little bit of a sad story. My freshman year at Duke, my sister passed away from suicide and…

Saul Marquez:
Oh my God.

Mackenzie Drazan:
Shelby struggled with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder and we were really lucky in the sense that my family was really open minded to getting her whatever help she needed. Shelby was very motivated to get help. She never resisted going to therapy. She never resisted taking her medication and she was actually really interested in learning more about the brain to try and learn what was going on with her and why she wasn’t feeling so great. And we really struggled to find Shelby the right care, we ultimately failed to find her the right resources that kept me all of her needs. You know when Shelby attempted suicide we found a great residential program that could treat her suicidality but it couldn’t help her with her eating disorder. So as soon as she graduated from the program we’re back in the hospital again this time for on simple vital signs. And it was just really frustrating to me because I didn’t understand why our physical doctors who were very qualified fabulous doctors were unable to make a behavioral health referral when there’s so many people that need mental healthcare. So this isn’t necessarily something that hasn’t happened before. And when I learned more about it what I realized is that in talking to different mental health professionals and learning more about what goes into making a referral and what information do you need in order to make an accurate referral. And I realized that there is really an infrastructure problem because within behavioral health it’s a little different than physical health and that you can have a therapist that has the same license as not a therapist but they may specialize in completely different disorders and you don’t know that by looking at their training you actually need to talk to them to see what disorders they like to treat and which to sort of say treat. So if you want to keep a database full of let’s say a couple a handful of their staff your hospital and you’re trying to keep track of maybe one hundred therapists, then you’d need an army of people to keep all that information up to date because you know therapist availability fluctuates. They go in and out of different insurance networks because the reimbursement process is difficult. So there’s so many different data points that you’re having to keep track of. And so that’s kind of just how I got interested in my resource. I never thought that I would end up working in healthcare. I come from a family of doctors actually so I had zero interest in going to medical school. But here I am.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. Appreciate you sharing the story very personal story and you’ve taken a deep dive to understand some of the big gaps that exist between mental and physical care. And so no doubt that mental health is front and center and needs to be front center and medical leaders and agendas. How are you and your company Mackenzie approaching this problem?

Mackenzie Drazan:
Absolutely. So our goal at the end of the day and what I set out to do is to make it easier for people to identify the right mental healthcare for their needs because that was the problem that we had. You know we were lucky and we had everything else in place. We just couldn’t find the right therapeutic mix. But in order to do that what I realized is that we have to first help health institutions and give them that infrastructure to be able to manage their referrals so that we can build up a robust list of high quality providers across the country. And then eventually add in all kinds of different mental health resources not just more traditional care like going to see a therapist but there’s all kinds of really fabulous technology that’s being developed right now from apps to you know meditation routines to mindfulness training to all kinds of different, more technical but then also more lifestyle based approaches to maintaining your mental health because there’s another problem to this as well which is that at the end of the day there aren’t enough therapists to service everybody who needs treatment. And then in addition to that, I want to encourage people to think we want to take mental health from not thinking of it just as I have poor mental health right now and I want to get to normal mental health but I want to go from normal mental to my best mental health. And so if we get all those people going to care as well then we’re gonna be in a big problem because they’re just there aren’t enough therapists so we need to start figuring out how we can use all the tools in the tool box to help people live mentally healthier lives.

Saul Marquez:
Now that’s that’s definitely a good call out Mackenzie. And so tell us about an example of how your company is creating results by doing things differently.

Mackenzie Drazan:
Absolutely. So one of the areas that we are focusing in on right now is university counseling centers. So what we do is we work at the counseling center to help them keep the list of therapists that they were first students to in the community up to date and then we also help them provide a student portal that allows students to be able to log onto the website and to search defined care. But when you first go to look for mental healthcare it’s quite overwhelming because there’s so many different things that you never thought that you have to think about and especially to a students because oftentimes they’re not used to having to navigate the whole insurance space so it can be even more overwhelming to have fear. “Okay how am I going to pay for this care?” “How do I navigate my mental health insurance?” and all kinds of different factors of that sort. Plus you know they’re still trying to manage a full course load. So what we do is we help guide them through that process. And we explain it to them in a way where they don’t have to understand a lot of the clinical terms or get overwhelmed by complex choices we try and really simplify it for them to help them with the filtering process. So then we can help them find care that actually meets their needs.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah you know the navigation of healthcare is definitely difficult. So doing that alone I think will increase the access and friendliness of how they get these resources so that’s super super neat. You guys are doing. So tell us how that works and I had a chance to check out the website. It’s very easy to navigate and it walks you through as a guide. So I really loved that and maybe you could tell us a little bit more about what makes the platform unique and why it’s having success.

Mackenzie Drazan:
Absolutely. So one of the areas that really differentiate ourselves from the only other thing out there really are therapist directories. But those tend to be more in terms of a marketing site whereas what we’re really interested in is really keeping the flow of information constant and up to date. But the problem is that most people have struggled in this area in the past because they’re trying to think about it in ways where they’re not understanding what day in the life looks like for each of the prospective. So for example with therapists, you know therapists schedules are really busy they often are just themselves in their practice and they’re seeing patients all day and the last thing that they want to do is log in to a website and update their availability. You know every couple days. Logging into things even though it only takes 30 seconds in reality it’s annoying to do. You know we’ve all been logged out of our Facebook accounts or different websites and we forget our passwords and it’s just a hassle and it’s just one more barrier when you’re having to juggle so many things during the day. So it makes sense at the end of the day why therapists aren’t logging in to update their information on availability as frequently as you need. So what we’ve done is we’ve just really understood how can we work with a therapist. And integrate into their existing daily routine so we’re not asking them to really change any behaviors. We’re just working with what are their existing behaviors and how can we work with them and keep that information up to date.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Yeah some some great tools and things that you guys are doing McKenzie. Tell us of a time when something broke or you had a setback and what did you learn from that setback that made you and the company better?

Mackenzie Drazan:
That’s a great question. So actually what I just said is our biggest strength was originally our biggest weakness because we fell into the pool thinking like everybody else and assuming that if we could make our user interface just that much easier to use and that much nicer and stick to the best of the best in user experience research that therapist would log in and update their information. But we stuck to the best research out there for user experience but that’s generally not the therapist demographic of who spend the study. So we actually had so many therapists that didn’t understand a lot of the normal functionalities you think would be intuitive weren’t intuitive for therapists and so we had to really redesign the way we approached the features for therapists because it didn’t work. The normal design rules don’t really apply. So I spent a lot of time on the phone with therapists you know just learning their logic and learning the way that they’re thinking about using websites and interacting with the different features on the website. And so now we’ve developed a whole new code of the kind of perspectives that we follow when we go through the design process.

Saul Marquez:
Well it’s awesome. You know you ran into it and everything’s different healthcare so a lot of these rules that you know are tried and true may not always work on on this side. Sounds like you spent a lot of hours speaking to them, figured out a way forward and now you have a great working engine. So how about one of your proudest moments that you’ve had with the company?

Mackenzie Drazan:
One of my favorite moments to date has been it was just a normal workday and I was speaking to a few different university counseling centers and I got this email and this was actually pretty early on in our days and there was a dad that had emailed me. “How do you know my resource email address?” and said “I just wanted to reach out and thank you because my daughter has been struggling with an eating disorder and debilitating anxiety for the last two years and it’s been very very very intense and we’ve almost lost her several times and we could not find her the right program” and he was referred to MiResource by somebody in the community of where we work with one of these university counseling centers and “I had gotten MiResource and had gone through the questionnaire” and he found a resource on there that ended up being a great fit for his daughter and she’s finally turned a corner and is doing really well. And so it’s stories like that that really motivate you and when things are going are tough because starting a company is tough. It’s those moments that you’re putting all this work and energy into and we can help change one life, then it’s worth it.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. That’s so awesome. Yeah that’s really really neat. So it sounds like you guys are honed in on the on the university space. How about younger, younger kids like high school because you know a lot of stuff does tend to happen there too.

Mackenzie Drazan:
Absolutely. The software is applicable for all kinds of different health institutions. It’s a great tool for hospitals. It’s a great tool for university counseling centers. It’s a great tool for middle schools for…

Saul Marquez:
Okay.

Mackenzie Drazan:
Really anyone…

Saul Marquez:
Nice.

Mackenzie Drazan:
Trying to help connect people to mental healthcare. We’re young we’re a new startup so we just decided to focus in on counseling centers. The other great thing about counseling centers is we don’t think we’re qualified really to go in and say, “Who are the best therapists in the area?” just because it’s really hard to determine who’s a good therapist and who’s not like a therapist because a therapist could work great for one person and then not work so well with another person.

Saul Marquez:
Right.

Mackenzie Drazan:
And even if those two people look the same on paper there’s something that we don’t quite understand yet. So working with counseling centers is really helpful for us because they know who the great therapists are in the area and so they’re able to keep the eyes and ears on the ground to know what’s going on and and how students are doing with the different therapists and put in information that’s really helpful to help us try and undercover what types of patient profiles work best with which provider profiles. And that’s kind of rare because you don’t often see people who are in that position of a case manager for a coordinator often don’t have the opportunity to be as hands on with the therapist that they are referring their patients to.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah that’s neat. Not great to know and truly a very helpful resource. I forget what the number is but I think it’s 1 in every 4 people does have a mental health issue and it’s important that we definitely take into consideration the resource that Mackenzie and her team has developed. This is an opportunity to catch things before they go wrong and even if you’re healthy right you can be healthy and have some issues that you need help with mentally. And it’s great to have a resource like this.

Mackenzie Drazan:
I do want her for people to myteam.org. And with that statistic is that you know one in four people will experience mental illness at some point in their life. So statistically we all know somebody who’s struggling and it can be challenging to know as a supporter how can I best support my loved one or my friends through their struggles and myteam is a pocket guide to help educate you on exactly what to do and say to help support someone who’s struggling with their mental health.

Saul Marquez:
So tell us about an exciting project or focus you’re working on today.

Mackenzie Drazan:
An exciting project that we’re working on right now is we are working on enhancing our insurance guide to really help walk you through exactly what to do when you’re trying to navigate the mental health insurance which may not sound so sexy for those of you who haven’t tried to navigate mental health insurance but when you actually go to do it it’s so complicated.

Saul Marquez:
It’s so important.

Mackenzie Drazan:
Definitely and what’s kind of on the horizon for us which is more exciting is that we’re helping health institutions right now. But once we get the therapies density, we can help open this up to the general public and then everybody can use it as a free resource to find what the right care for them is. And that’s what gets really exciting for us because what needs to happen is that when you find a therapist, that therapist may be the right therapist for you in that time. But you know your mental health it’s not locked in. It’s like any other part of your health. It changes over time. So what cares right for you in one moment may not be right for you in a couple months time. So what we want to do is we want to help you understand what’s the right care for me. And is this the right care moving forward and continuously help you understand and track your progress so that you know “Okay maybe it’s time for me to step it up a notch and get some additional care” or “this is worked really well and now I don’t need as much now I can back it back it off again.”

Saul Marquez:
Great stuff. So there’s definitely some some huge value to this. Folks, check out myteam.org. See how this resource can help you or your loved one. I think it’s certainly something that I keep in my Rolodex my digital rolodex of recommendations. So Mackenzie, time for the lightning round. Are you ready?

Mackenzie Drazan:
I’m ready.

Saul Marquez:
All right what’s the best way to improve healthcare outcomes?

Mackenzie Drazan:
I think the best way to improve healthcare outcomes is to really understand patients lives and the problems that they face that are the problems that are really causing the problems that you hope to address. And then once you’ve identified problems keep digging because it doesn’t matter if you have an amazing solution to a problem. But if the patient isn’t actually going to comply with your treatment or your solution then it’s not going to help them.

Saul Marquez:
What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Mackenzie Drazan:
It’s a little bit tied to what I just talked about. And I think that one of the biggest pitfalls and things to avoid is to assume that people are going to do something or comply with a certain set of instructions because it’s the right thing to do or because it’s good for you because for all the doctors out there that are listening, I want you to think back to your medical school days. How many hours on average did you sleep per night? Now does that number fall between the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep for that age group. Probably not. And your doctors and you know better than anyone else the importance of sleep and the immense harm that chronic lack of sleep does to the body. But that information isn’t making you get more sleep. So I think that you know it’s so important to really understand how patients are living their lives and what’s what are the underlying reasons behind the things that they’re doing why they’re doing certain things.

Saul Marquez:
How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

Mackenzie Drazan:
I think it goes back to understanding again how patients are living their lives because with the amount of new technology that’s introduced year after year, the way we live our lives and the way we do things is constantly changing. And if you’re not paying attention to all these little nuances and and how what the day to day as your patient looks like then your lifestyles are going to change and the way that they do, actions are going to change. And if you don’t keep up and keep innovating to follow those changes then patients are just going to move with the trends and your company is going to be still stuck in those initial set of assumptions on the way that people operate.

Saul Marquez:
What is one area of focus that drives everything in your organization Mackenzie?

Mackenzie Drazan:
The area of focus that drives everything in our company is the accuracy of matching. We don’t want to just connect you to care. We care about connecting you to the right care.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Super super key. And I’ve got two extra ones more on personal. What is your number one health habit?

Mackenzie Drazan:
My number one health habit is to get enough sleep. I learned very much the hard way that if you don’t sleep it’s definitely going to bite you in the butt. I was up late working and then I had an early meeting and I jumped out of bed and I walked into the bathroom to get ready and I got out of bed too fast and I fainted and hit the wall behind me and got a concussion and spent the next week in bed. So…

Saul Marquez:
Wow.

Mackenzie Drazan:
If I had just moved the one got in an extra you know I wouldn’t have lost a whole week’s worth of hours of work.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Now that’s a big one. Definitely a focus area for me too. How about your number one success habit?

Mackenzie Drazan:
My number one success habit is to stay organized. Stay organized and actually hold on. I just thought about that. Another one that I actually think is important is I talked to a therapist twice a week and I don’t necessarily have anything that’s diagnosable but I think as an entrepreneur with a startup you have so much stress already and then adding another layer of stress is you’re in the healthcare industry. So you make a mistake you know you’re not just letting down yourself and the people that work for you but you’re affecting patients lives. And that’s a lot of stress. And so and more stress you have the more likely we are to make a mistake. Plus then you add on everybody has their personal life too and inevitably they’re going to do things that go wrong and that’s going to add stress, more stress on your plate. And so working with a therapist twice a week, I can address every single little stressor as it comes up and then that decreases my likelihood of making a mistake. And I think that that, that is a huge driver of my success.

Saul Marquez:
I love it some great shares there Mackenzie. And what book would you recommend to the listeners?

Mackenzie Drazan:
I would recommend right now I’m reading a book called The Upward Spiral by Dr. Alex Korb and it’s about how depression can feel like a downward spiral which you know pulls you into a vortex of sadness and fatigue. But in the upward spiral, Dr. Korb walks you through kind of the neuroscience behind what happens in your brain when you start to spiral down and it gives you really straightforward tips on what you can do to prevent a downward spiral but also to trigger an upward spiral. And this is relevant for people who have depression but also for people who don’t have depression because there’s moments in our days when we get down for no reason. You know even that’s just for a short period of time. But we all had those periods in our life and moments in time. And so there’s some really really awesome little tips in there and I’m really enjoying.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Great recommendation and folks for the title that Mackenzie recommended as well as a full transcript and the show notes of today’s podcast just go to outcomesrocket.health and in the search type in Mackenzie or miresource. You’ll find the entire podcast there. Mackenzie leave us with the closing thought and the best place for the listeners to get in touch with you and continue following your work.

Mackenzie Drazan:
I want to challenge you to think about health not as from going from bad health to I’m at a place of average health. When you think about health as being average to being my best and to follow what we’re doing you can follow us at myteam.org. We have an Instagram as well as a Facebook page where we post along updates of what’s happening and the initiatives we’re working on.

Saul Marquez:
Outstanding. Mackenzie, this has been a really great great episode. Finding the right mental healthcare is key. So the work that you’re doing is important and you want to give you and your team major kudos and again thank you for spending time with us.

Mackenzie Drazan:
Thank you so much for having me Saul. It’s been great conversation.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration, and so much more.

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