“Those times were tough - things got real dark, like solar eclipse dark... I was completely lost, I felt incredibly alone, and probably worst of all I felt like the state I was in was never going to end, and that things would never get better...If you overcome the first obstacles and end up actually getting help, you’re often hit with a new set of obstacles just when you thought things were supposed to be getting better.”
- Amol, Co-Founder and CEO of Ensu
If you have experienced a similar feeling, you’re not alone. For ABSA’s first official virtual event of the quarter, “Destress with Ensu,” we invited Amol, the Co-Founder and CEO of Ensu to discuss his personal mental health journey and development of his company. Ensu is a Silicon Valley mental health start-up that uses music listening as a tool to help people understand and manage their mental health. During these particularly challenging times, it was encouraging and an honor to hear Amol’s perspective on getting through dark times.
What is Ensu?
Ensu is an app that acts like a compass for your journey of mental health. By syncing Ensu with your spotify account, Ensu is able to suggest specific music to you to improve your mental state, catering to your specific needs. Ensu has a feature called “beats,” a new way of expressing and understanding your inner dialogue that you’ve never been able to articulate before. It allows you to connect with your friends to check on each other by sending your mental health state or even sending notes and songs in moments of distress - this is especially useful during social distancing now. Most importantly, Ensu allows you to effectively and efficiently understand and manage your moods and mental health states.
Amol’s Personal Journey & Founding of Ensu
After graduating college, Amol faced serious depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. He grew up in Australia, with an ethnic family, and his parents did not understand mental health. However, he grew interested in contributing to the mental health area because of the difficult times he dealt with. He was able to overcome his struggle with finances, family, identity and finding his purpose by obtaining the right help. Amol learned to be introspective, understand how his own mind works and practice healthy coping mechanisms.
Now, as a successful CEO and Co-Founder of a company he is truly passionate about, he continues to give back to the mental health space. When he first developed Ensu, he had to overcome 9 months of struggles of looking for investors, experimenting, and being comfortable with not knowing everything or even anything at times. Amol expressed, “You’re never gonna know enough, so just go do it.”
Amol has surveyed high schools and found that music was the most common action taken by students in stress. As we face the universal challenges of jobs, exams, and other situations (including COVID-19), we all need a healthy and effective coping mechanism. According to Amol, research has found that before people have processed their emotions and are capable of articulating these feelings to themselves, they tend to use music to regulate these emotions and have a conversation with themselves.
By using music inputs from users, Ensu can draw and map out how that user is feeling. As Ensu keeps track of the music you are listening to, with music therapy principles, it utilizes this data in ways that benefits the user as well as connecting you with other friends in moments of distress. Building these small networks that allow people to reach out to others for help is a unique, but extremely important feature and aspect of Ensu.
Just like what a fitbit does for your physical health, Ensu is able to track mental health - it can show you if a certain type of therapy or even meditation is working for you. As the world is changing, we have no choice but to operate and perform at an increasingly higher psychological level. This is exactly why mental health is just as crucial as physical health.
A huge thank you to Amol for speaking at our event! We appreciate you sharing your experiences so candidly - the good and the bad times - and bringing to light the mental health challenges that are not talked about enough in many minority communities.
Thank you for those that attended ABSA’s “Destress with Ensu” event and we hope this encourages you to seek help when needed, and most importantly, know that you are not alone. As always, we look forward to seeing you at our future events!