Under 30 Asia Alum Launches Digital Mental Healthcare Startup Amid Lockdowns And Pandemic Stress

Under 30 Asia Alum Launches Digital Mental Healthcare Startup Amid Lockdowns And Pandemic Stress

Mental Health, Mental Health Care

1/25/2022 12:10:00 PM

Under 30 Asia Alum Launches Digital Mental Health care Startup Amid Lockdowns And Pandemic Stress

After working at two fast-growing startups in South Korea, Justin Kim, a Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia alum from 2020, launched his own startup that aims to make mental health care more accessible for the overworked and stressed-out workers in Asia.

medical journal in October, 76.2 million more anxiety disorders were reported globally in 2020.Over the next 12 months, Kim aims to expand Ami further into Asia, including Hong Kong and South Korea. “We started this company with the clear intention of building this for pan-Asia,” he says.

Asia is home to some of the world’s most overworked countries. The average person in South Korea, for example, worked 1,908 hours in 2020, the fourth most among developed countries,accordingto data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). By comparison, the average person in the U.S. worked 1,767 hours in the same year.

Read more: Forbes »

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Lancet medical journal in October, 76.2 million more anxiety disorders were reported globally in 2020. Over the next 12 months, Kim aims to expand Ami further into Asia, including Hong Kong and South Korea. “We started this company with the clear intention of building this for pan-Asia,” he says. Asia is home to some of the world’s most overworked countries. The average person in South Korea, for example, worked 1,908 hours in 2020, the fourth most among developed countries, according to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). By comparison, the average person in the U.S. worked 1,767 hours in the same year. In Japan, long working hours are so pervasive that death by overwork—called “karoshi” in Japanese—has been legally recognized as a cause of death since the 1980s. And more recently in China, millennials tired of the culture of brutally long work hours, such as the “996” schedule (9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week), are choosing to “lie flat”—or “tang ping” in Chinese—and opt out of the rat race. A businessman sleeping on a bench at a Tokyo train station. YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images Kim, who has also worked in business development at Bloomberg in Hong Kong, knows the risks of overwork all too well. In 2019, he was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which is chronic and excessive worrying. “He is a clear example of a very good use case and a user [of mental health services like Ami],” says Jin Oh, a partner at Goodwater Capital who led the firm's investment in Ami. “That was something that built a lot of conviction for me—that he really understands the market that he’s tackling.” While mental healthcare is still nascent in much of Asia, John Nahm, cofounder and managing partner of Strong Ventures, believes that seeking mental healthcare can quickly become destigmatized in the region. “We have a lot of homogeneous cultures [in Asia],” notes Nahm, who led his firm's investment in Ami. “If one influential person does it, then it catches on.” Nahm points out that mental health practices like Buddhist meditation, which has been embraced by the West, originated from Asia. “I think Asia will catch up very soon to the trend in the West when it comes to mental healthcare,” he says. “And I think it’ll be at an accelerated pace.” Follow me on