Taking 100% personal responsibility for my own mental health and wellbeing. I don’t believe in outsourcing my mental health responsibility to psychiatrist, therapists, or coaches. I treat them as advisors, but it’s my job to improve my mental wellbeing, not theirs.
As a part of our series about Mental Health Champions helping to promote mental wellness, I had the pleasure to interview Dylan Beynon.
Dylan Beynon is CEO and Founder of psychedelic therapy leader Mindbloom, which is bringing new hope to the millions of Americans battling depression and anxiety every day. He is a three-time founder whose mission-driven, world-positive companies include one acquisition, two market leaders, and hundreds of millions raised. Dylan was recently named a Top 25 Consumer HealthTech Executive and one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Psychedelics.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I grew up in Southern California in a working-class family that struggled with mental illness. My mother was severely mentally ill. She suffered from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and addiction. We threw the kitchen sink at it, but nothing worked. Ultimately, we couldn’t help her, and she spent 15 years homeless before tragically dying of a fentanyl overdose last year. It was a happy but turbulent childhood!
You are currently leading a social impact organization that is helping to promote mental wellness. Can you tell us a bit about what you or your organization are trying to address?
Mental health is the #1 public health crisis. Legacy treatment options like Prozac and talk therapy are failing patients and providers. Finally, there are emerging treatment options available today, like ketamine therapy, and other psychedelic therapies that will be available in the next few years, like MDMA-assisted therapy, that are demonstrating exceptional clinical efficacy and safety for these previously almost intractable mood disorders.
We’re on a mission to transform lives to transform the world by radically increasing patient access to safe, effective psychedelic therapies and building clinical programs and consumer products to help people achieve superior clinical outcomes.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
Watching my mother lose her battle to mental illness, I saw that the mental health crisis doesn’t just affect the afflicted individual, but also their family, community, and the work that they can have trouble doing in the world. Depression is the #1 cause of disability worldwide, after all, and overdose deaths have 5x’ed in the last 20 years.
My life was completely transformed by psychedelic medicine 14 years ago, and I haven’t looked back. Seeing broader acceptance and access to psychedelic therapies has been the change I’ve most wanted to see in the world my entire adult life.
Mindbloom is my 3rd tech company, but it feels like my life’s work.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest them. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
Two quotes come to mind:
- “The world is a very malleable place. If you know what you want, and you go for it with maximum energy and drive and passion, the world will often reconfigure itself around you much more quickly and easily than you would think.” — Marc Andreessen
- “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” — Victor Hugo. When I became a ketamine patient myself, I witnessed personally how transformational this treatment is. However, when I started Mindbloom, it was extremely expensive at about $800/session on average. There is no way my working-class family could have afforded ketamine therapy if it were available when we were trying to help my mom, and I knew there had to be a way to increase access and support people through coaching, content, community, and software to get them even better outcomes and experiences.
It’s possible someone else would have built Mindbloom if I didn’t, but the world needed it and I couldn’t take that risk!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
I’m a student of cognitive psychology, and I think a lot about cognitive biases. One of the biases I abhor most is status quo bias. People assume that the way the world is today is exactly how it’s supposed to be and anything new or different is weird. That is, until the new thing exists, and then we forget that we thought it was weird.
When I told people 3 years ago that I thought we could radically increase access to psychedelic therapy and massively improve mental health outcomes today through at-home ketamine therapy, pretty much everyone outside of medicine told me “you’re crazy.” Today, we’re the largest psychedelic therapy platform in the world, and pretty much everyone tells me “your idea was obvious so you guys must be exceptional executors.”
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
I wouldn’t know where to begin! Everything I’ve built, learned, and achieved has been directly and indirectly through the support of many.
My father Greg Beynon is my hero and provided a loving home where I could grow despite my mother’s violence.
My lifelong friend Andrew Dudum blazed the telemedicine trail building hims & hers and was a major inspiration for starting Mindbloom.
My lifelong friend and personalized medicine physician Dr. Andrew Kibert turned me onto the power of ketamine therapy, which inspired me to build Mindbloom in order to help people like my working-class family be able to access it.
According to Mental Health America’s report, over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?
You just said it. “Mental illness.”
Mental health is not categorical like a viral or bacterial infection. You don’t either have it or you don’t.
It’s dimensional, like height. There are gradients of mental health and wellbeing.
We need to philosophically move from “old medicine” that’s reactive, disease-based, and about treating symptoms to “new medicine” that’s proactive and about helping people become the happiest, healthiest, and most resilient and vital versions of themselves.
In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?
Individuals should shift their mindset to taking 100% personal responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing. They should also make their mental wellbeing a #1 non-negotiable top priority. There are many practices, methodologies, and therapeutics that will work for different people at different times in their lives. It starts with a personal commitment to try them and to achieve exceptional wellbeing both for you but also for what improving yourself will do for your friends, family, and community.
Societies should stop pushing a narrative of victim mentality and victim consciousness onto people. It’s disempowering and counter-productive.
Governments should fund research into breakthrough therapies, fast track promising therapeutics like psychedelic therapies, and reduce regulatory barriers in light of how severe and vast expense of the mental health crisis.
What are your 5 strategies you use to promote your own wellbeing and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- Taking 100% personal responsibility for my own mental health and wellbeing. I don’t believe in outsourcing my mental health responsibility to psychiatrist, therapists, or coaches. I treat them as advisors, but it’s my job to improve my mental wellbeing, not theirs.
- Making it a #1 non-negotiable top priority just like I do physical health, fitness, and nutrition. I set decade-long, yearly, quarterly, and 2-week goals for cultivating a fit body, a calm mind, meaningful relationships, and meaningful work.
- Vipassana meditation. I go on silent retreats, read and study meditation, and practice regularly, but I got my start on meditation apps. I recommend the Waking Up app.
- Consistently reading stoic philosophy, positive psychology, and spirituality literature. Awareness by Anthony de Mello and The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer are my all-time favorites.
- Psychedelic therapy. I do Mindbloom 1–2x/month and another psychedelic therapy experience about 3–6 times/year.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?
- Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
- Awareness by Anthony de Mello
- The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer
- The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer and Diana Chapman
- The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
- Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
If you could tell other people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
For literally 99.9% of human history, the overwhelming majority of people did not have an opportunity to make a large, positive impact on humanity. We are living in the first time ever where you can massively affect change in the lives of an incredible number of current and future humans. How cool is that!?
How can our readers follow you online?
I haven’t had social media in 10 years, so they can’t. That’s one of my mental health and wellbeing practices!
They can follow Mindbloom on Twitter or Instagram at @mymindbloom
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Mental Health Champions: Why & How Dylan Beynon of Mindbloom Is Helping To Champion Mental Wellness was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.