What is your life’s purpose?
My life’s purpose is to expand access to mental healthcare for every person in need worldwide—approximately 1 billion.
How are you living your purpose?
My husband Oren and I started Talkspace online therapy with the mission of expanding access to mental health care by removing common barriers like stigma, cost, and inconvenience.
I used therapy to overcome challenges in my own life, which was very valuable for me both personally and professionally. The disparity in the U.S. between those who need mental health care and those who actually receive it struck me, and I knew I wanted to be part of the solution.
Talkspace is a web and mobile app that connects people directly with licensed therapists via a new modality called Unlimited Messaging Therapy™. With Talkspace, you don’t have to go into an office and can message your licensed therapist in a private, encrypted chat room— from anywhere, at any time. “Unlimited” refers to the fact that clients can write to their therapists whenever they want—no commuting, scheduling, or waiting around for next week’s appointment. The therapists will respond on a daily basis, in a timely manner and based on the client’s specific needs. Once you sign up (via our website or the mobile app for iPhone or Android), you receive a free consultation with a Talkspace matching agent, who assesses the issues that you’re dealing with and matches you with a licensed therapist who specializes in the particular issue you are dealing with (for example: depression, anxiety, PTSD, relationship issues). After you are matched, you can immediately start messaging with your dedicated therapist in a private chat room.
- Talkspace has flexible subscription plans to accommodate different client needs for therapy, lifestyles, and budgets. Since there are no contracts, clients can cancel their plans anytime. Below are the current plans available for one-on-one private chat:
Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus: $49/week for text, video & audio messaging. Your therapist responds to messages daily, 5 days/week. (Billed as $196 monthly)
- Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium: $59/week for text, video & audio messaging + 1 Live Session/month. Your therapist responds to messages daily, 5 days/week. (Billed as $236 monthly)
- LiveTalk Therapy Ultimate: $79/week for text, video & audio messaging + 4 Live Sessions/month. Your therapist responds to messages daily, 5 days/week. (Billed as $316 monthly)
Couples therapy is also available for $79/week (billed as $316 monthly) or $71/week (billed $852 every 3 months).
Certainly, making therapy accessible and affordable for all makes up a big part of both my professional and personal passions. But alongside my role as the Co-Founder and Head of Clinical Services at Talkspace, I’m very passionate about being a mother and am always committed to my family. As a female entrepreneur, I am grateful to show my daughters the importance of finding their own passions, something meaningful in their lives to work for and dream about. As parents, Oren and I are devoted to raising our daughters outside of traditional gender roles. For instance, Oren is the cook of the family, and we both are equally dedicated to spending time as a family in addition to our work.
How did you find your purpose?
Professionally, finding my purpose unfolded organically. It began when my husband Oren, who is also my Co-Founder, and I experienced a crisis in our marriage. We wanted to give our relationship a chance, so we went to couples therapy.
Needless to say, therapy saved our marriage, and made me aware of my passion for psychology. I wanted to become a therapist myself and decided to leave my job as a software engineer. I applied to and got into U.S. masters’ programs in psychology, which is when I realized that the mental health system in America is completely broken.
Research shows that 1 in 5 U.S. citizens suffer from mental health issues each year. That’s about 50 million people. And yet roughly 70% of them don’t have access to services—that’s 35 million people who need care completely left without it. I wanted to be a solution to the problem.
The second aspect of finding my purpose had to do with my growing discomfort with social media, which I know many of us share. This was about seven years ago, right when platforms like Facebook really began taking off. When I would use Facebook, I noticed an instinct to compare myself to others, all of whom appeared to be having better lives than me. I knew none of it was authentic, but it still made me wonder why we couldn’t have a technology platform that let people be real—where they could talk about their challenges, fears, desires.
All of this led to Talkspace.
Personally, I am committed to empowering my daughters and having a rich family life. I feel lucky that my professional purpose to expand access to mental healthcare feels aligned with my personal one—to live my own life with intention, connection, and self-inquiry, and to support my family in doing the same.
What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
Most importantly, remember that purpose looks different for everyone. Some people want to be entrepreneurs, others may want to move to an ashram to learn yoga and meditate. Some people may feel primarily focused on feeling happy and healthy, regardless of what happens for their career.
My second piece of advice is to let yourself be surprised. In my own experience, my “purpose” was the byproduct of following my gut, taking a risk, and making a slew of sacrifices. At the beginning of my career, I had been working consistently as a software engineer—at a steady, well-compensated job at a big, successful company. At that point, I wasn’t satisfied or happy in my role or life generally, so I began therapy. Then, for the first time, I was able to articulate that I wanted more out of my life. I hadn’t even known until that point that I was unsatisfied.
With that, talking to someone you really trust is often the foundation of exploring what really matters to you. What makes you feel satisfied and content? What gives you meaning?
Your answer to these questions isn’t going to just fall down from the sky. Finding your purpose doesn’t just happen to you. It requires experimentation—which requires patience and a willingness to explore, ask questions, and feel uncomfortable.
I know that when my husband Oren and I wanted to start Talkspace, we faced the tough decision was that we weren’t going to make money for some time—while we worked toward our bigger goal of starting a company. Pursuing meaning isn’t always comfortable. It sounds cliché, but at the heart of it all is willingness. To ask questions. To challenge your assumptions. To listen to others. To not listen to others. To take risks.
What resources do you recommend?
The first and most important resource any of us have is the people around us—especially their stories. We can access such rich information and inspiration by understanding what others want out of life, what their non-negotiables are, what they’ve worked or made sacrifices for—in all facets of life.
Talk with as many people as you can who have been brave enough to do something different—whether that’s a person who moved to India to practice yoga and meditation, someone who started a really cool company, a person who wrote a book you admire. Hear from them what allowed them to break outside of their comfort zone and actually take action. Ask them how it felt. Let yourself open up to those feelings of inspiration and empowerment.
Finally, find a mentor. This can be a family member, a close friend, a former boss or teacher, even a therapist. It’s very important to find someone you really, really trust and who is non-judgmental.
For more specific resources, I recommend the following:
Books by Irvin Yalom, a psychiatrist, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford, and an Advisor to Talkspace:
Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death
The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients
More inspiring Books:
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
The Ego and the Id by Sigmund Freud
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Someone To Talk To by Samanta White (a Talkspace Therapist)
Laurie Dhue – Story of Recovery
Confessions of a Depressed Comic
How to Build a Company Where the Best Ideas Win
The Power of Vulnerability
Getting Stuck in the Negatives (And How to Get Unstuck)
Rethinking Infidelity…A Talk for Anyone Who Has Ever Loved
Dr. Irvin Yalom Explains “The Evolution of Therapy”
Teen Vogue on Mental Health
Healthy Living on The Huffington Post
Roni Frank is a Co-Founder of Talkspace, an online therapy platform and mobile app that connect clients directly with licensed therapists anytime and anywhere. Roni, who serves as Head of Clinical Services, is leading the company’s provider network of more than 1,500 therapists and is responsible for quality of clinical service and therapist network growth. Roni is committed to open access to mental health care for every person in need. Roni and her husband co-founded Talkspace in 2012, while she was pursuing her Master’s degree in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy at the New York Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. Roni earned her degree in 2013. Before co-founding Talkspace, Roni was a software developer at Amdocs, a leading software and services provider to communications and media companies. Roni also received a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, in 2000.