Date Awarded: September 28, 2023
Amount: $250,000.00

Latinos/x face major barriers to mental health care, with only 35% of those with mental illness receiving treatment. These barriers include stigma, lack of insurance, and a shortage of Spanish-speaking health care providers. Luis Suarez founded Sanarai, an online platform that offers emotional support and counseling to Spanish speakers, to transform how Latinos/x perceive and access mental health care.

Sanarai offers culturally and linguistically appropriate care with a network of credentialed providers from the US and Latin America. A 50-minute counseling session costs $49, with no insurance required. An initial consultation helps match clients with a provider based on specialty, gender, age, and areas of interest to meet their needs. Sanarai also offers next-day availability, avoiding long wait times that can deter Latinos/x from seeking care.

Suarez started the company in July 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic both exacerbated mental health needs in Latino/x communities and uncovered profound racial and ethnic disparities in access to care. The prevalence of depression and anxiety among Latinos/x had grown significantly, and their suicide rate spiked by 6.8% from 2018 to 2021.

Sanarai plans to scale up by exploring partnerships with Medicaid, employee assistance programs, and health care providers. Other priorities are building its provider network and raising awareness to reduce stigma.