EGYPT – Shezlong, an Egyptian healthtech start-up has spread its wings to South Africa, bringing its popular psychotherapy platform to the country amid increasing depression and other mental health illnesses.

Shezlong, initially focused on Arabic-speaking nations, will be known as “Upright” in South Africa.  The start-up says its strategic move was due to a “mental health crisis” that forces them to “step up and provide them with the help they need.” Research points to a big demand for e-mental healthcare.

Expanding to South Africa would help reach marginalised populations who are underserved by the health system and are suffering from various mental health issues that are significantly affecting their quality of life, says Shezlong chief executive Mohamed Alaa.

The spike in mental health issues is prescribed to a high rate of gender-based violence, and lack of adequate care during pregnancy and unemployment, among many other factors.

Shezlong has now constructed a website and application under the Upright brand identity. This is just a stepping stone to its larger goal, says Alaa, which is to make mental healthcare available and accessible to each person on this planet as everyone deserves to have the best quality of life possible.

“We are proceeding according to a clear strategy and a firm vision towards expansion and growth,” said Alaa.

“We are aiming to make mental wellness a daily routine for every individual in Africa to help build resilient communities, hence, induce a positive impact on the welfare of the society through innovative, accessible and easy to use technologies.”

The Cairo-based platform’s move to South Africa was founded in 2014. According to PitchBook it had already raised investment from 15 funders with the latest deal amount valued at US$2 million.

The start-up’s platform assists patients to search for licensed therapists, reserve dates, and talk to them without disclosing their identity and keeping their details private, enabling patients to identify their psychological problems and get treatment.

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