Alum Launches “BetterMynd”

%C2%A0Alumnus+Cody+Samrau+recently+launched+a%C2%A0mental+health+startup+to+help+improve+college+student+access.%C2%A0

 Alumnus Cody Samrau recently launched a mental health startup to help improve college student access. 

Emily Rahhal, Maroon-News Staff

Recent Colgate alumnus Cody Samrau ’14 just launched BetterMynd, a tele-therapy company for college students, in order to help students find an outlet for seeking help on campuses. 

BetterMynd launched last month in September and has since partnered with college campuses, most of which are located in New York state. BetterMynd offers online 45-minute counseling services exclusively to college students. Each partnered college creates a unique portal with BetterMynd. This grants students access to vetted, licensed local mental healthcare providers.

BetterMynd was one of five startups to receive the 2017 Colgate Entrepreneur Fund, which, among other things, awarded founder and CEO Samrau a place in Hamilton to focus full-time on his company and work alongside the Colgate Counseling Center. Samrau plans to work with the counselors at each individual school to help students access both BetterMynd resources and their schools’ counseling resources. 

Director of the Counseling Center Dawn LaFrance understands the importance of increasing the scope of therapy options for campuses such as Colgate. 

“We are particularly interested in students having diverse therapist choices. Because of our rural location, we have very limited referral options,” LaFrance said. 

Samrau was largely inspired by his own experience using the Counseling Center and dealing with mental health challenges in his senior year at Colgate. 

“It was kind of an awkward experience. You have to go into the building everyone knows as the Counseling Center. You had to sit across from other classmates that are dealing with their own mental health issues. There’s a lot of stigma around mental health on college campuses and it’s something I experienced myself at Colgate,” Samrau said.  

First-year Conor Kneafsey reflected on the benefits of having a counseling service removed from campus life. 

“If you have to go to a therapist it can feel like there’s something wrong with you, whereas if you call someone [online] it’s way more casual and you don’t have to be seen going anywhere,” Kneafsey said.

LaFrance and Samrau both acknowledge that this stigma against mental health has significantly decreased in the past few years due to increased accessibility of services and increased visibility of mental health issues in the media. 

As a result, the number of college students seeking counseling services has dramatically increased in the past couple years, which Samrau noticed has created a resource deficit at some colleges and universities. 

The 2015 Center for Collegiate Mental Health Annual Report observed that average counseling center utilization had increased by 30 percent since 2010. In 2016, 35.9 percent of college counseling centers reported having a waitlist for services, according to the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. 

Sophomore Savannah England believes that the Counseling Center has had a positive impact on campus. 

“Colgate has definitely made it easy to seek help. They’ve created a good environment of acceptance of those who deal with mental health issues, especially with the amount of staff members that are willing to help students struggling or at least willing to help them find assistance and resources,” England said.

Samrau explained that students are the most critical element of the BetterMynd startup. 

“Getting feedback from the students is going to be the most important thing as far as what they like about the platform and what they think can be improved,” Samrau said. “We really want it to be a very transparent process.”

These services can be accessed at www.bettermynd.com. Students register using their email address and college to access the college-specific portal. The site is HIPAA-compliant, meaning all information is confidential. 

Contact Emily Rahhal at

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