The Dabah family, longtime entrepreneurs across the apparel, technology and real estate sectors, have ventured into the field of mental health with a startup clinic called Being Health.
Being Health, located at 76 Beaver Street in Manhattan’s financial center, launched Thursday after a year and a half of development.
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“If you look at the mental health system as a whole, it’s not satisfactory in terms of what’s available for the population,” said Haim Dabah, lead investor for Being Health. “My niece, a beautiful young woman, took her own life seven years ago when she was 26. She was struggling with mental health for several years. She was treated, but evidently not well enough. It was a difficult thing.
“This is about doing something that is really good. It’s a huge financial opportunity but it’s also something that’s really needed.”
“We have created a modern mental health practice — an integrated care model,” said Dr. Allie Sharma, cofounder and chief medical officer of the clinic and a Cornell-trained, board-certified adult psychiatrist, behavioral health strategist and mental health innovator. “We’re taking what is tried and tested in the field of psychiatry and behavioral health, and combining it with what’s new and novel.
“There are a few areas that we’re working in — psychiatry and psychotherapy; ketamine infusion therapy, which is considered novel treatment; functional medicine, which is uncovering the root causes of health; mental health conditions involving diagnostics and nutrition as a part of that evaluation, and wellness, including nutrition and acupuncture,” Dr. Sharma said.
“It’s all these services under one roof,” she said. “We’re expanding the tool kit of what we can offer patients because mental health is not one-size-fits-all. Personalization of care is important.”
She emphasized how difficult it is for people struggling with mental health to advocate for themselves, navigate the complicated health system, and understand what treatment would be the best for them. “More and more Americans are grappling with mental health conditions, with far too many feeling overwhelmed by the burden of navigating their own care.”
“Opportunities for enhancing the mental health care system are rapidly expanding and we see ourselves at the forefront of these innovations,” said Stephen Dabah, cofounder and president of Being Health. “We are creating a new standard for modern mental health care and are developing an ecosystem for the future delivery of novel treatments as they begin to clear FDA approval.”
Being Health has raised $5.4 million in early-stage funding from the Dabahs’ HDS Capital investment fund, the 18 Park investment fund and the founders of the new mental health concept.
Haim Dabah said the vision is to take Being Health national, to street and mall locations, though the business will be “tweaked” over the next six to nine months before a rollout starts. He said another round of funding is in the works. “We envision this as potentially a national platform.”
Being Health has a team of six administrators and 13 clinicians including psychiatrists, psychotherapists, social workers, mental health counselors, ketamine-assisted psychotherapists, certified registered nurse anesthetists who administer and monitor ketamine infusion, which is done through an IV and is thought to treat certain cases of depression and increase neuroplasticity, Sharma said.
Dr. Hudson Elmore serves as medical director.
“Today there are 50 pharmaceutical and biotech companies investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the next generation of mental health products, like ketamine,” Dabah said. “There are 30 products in phase two and phase three of FDA approval. They’re going to come to market in the next three to five to seven years. Most of these, we believe, will require a complex protocol to oversee their delivery [involving] office clinics under doctors’ supervision with repeat monitoring,” and won’t be about simply contacting a telehealth provider for a prescription at the pharmacy. “There isn’t a platform that exists to receive all these products and properly deliver them to patients. Hopefully in the national setting, Being Health will be able to use these products and provide them to patients.”
Sharma said anxiety and depression rates have skyrocketed. “In times of collective trauma, let’s say a war or a pandemic, mental health conditions rates always increase. The great thing is a lot of people are investing in start-ups to find solutions to mental health.”
During the interview, Sharma and the Dabahs cited statistics from KFF, the Kaiser Family Foundation, which engages in health policy research, polling and journalism, that one out of 10 U.S. adults reported symptoms of depression or anxiety in 2019, but by 2023, three out of 10 were reporting these symptoms.
“Social connectedness is key to mental health, and the digital era of social media has played a part. It can band you together but could also split you apart,” Sharma observed. “When people are on their devices for too long, especially young people, that does increase rates of anxiety and depression, self-esteem issues, even suicidality. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people, 18 to 34. Things have shifted a lot in the last five years.”
Being Health, with 22 rooms for patients, spanning 7,000 square feet over two levels, is sizable by clinic standards. The center is designed “to ensure a calming and welcoming environment for patients,” said Stephen Dabah. “We utilize research-based colors, music, and furniture to help patients feel comfortable and at ease while at Being Health. Each treatment room is soundproofed to aid in patient privacy, and we have added advanced bipolar ionization filters into our HVAC system to maintain clean air and a healthy environment.” Online therapy sessions as well as in-person services are offered.
“There has been a reduction in the stigma associated around those seeking mental health,” Stephen Dabah said. “Hopefully it evaporates in the near term. You’re seeing more people reporting symptoms of mental health conditions.”
Haim Dabah and his family have a history of starting, investing and running businesses in fashion, retail, technology and real estate, including investments in Stylitics, an artificial intelligence-fueled digital merchandising platform, to create automated styling and product recommendations for e-commerce websites, and formerly Regatta, which developed labels for retailers such as Simply Vera by Vera Wang and Daisy Fuentes for Kohl’s, and Karl Lagerfeld and Ellen Tracy for Macy’s. Along with his brothers Ezra and Isaac, Haim founded Gitano, which peaked into a major denim label for the mass market in the 1980s. In 2021, the Dabah family entered the industrial real estate market purchasing distribution centers via the formation of Box Equities.
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