International Social Innovation Award: Canadian-based Mental Health Startup Wins

October 1st, 2019. Toronto, Canada. For Immediate Release. Toronto-based mental health startup LinkMentalHealth was announced a winner of the 9th Annual CEMEX-Tec Award. Co-Founder Radwan Al-Nachawati travelled to Monterrey, Mexico on September 27 to accept the prestigious award. He represented Canada at an event that attracted more than 1000 applicant ventures from 67 countries.

The award honours individuals and organizations that develop high calibre, impactful proposals and implement progressive projects in sustainable development, innovation, and social entrepreneurship, and which foster economic development, social involvement of communities, and the preservation of natural resources.

“We’re excited to receive this award and meet other leaders doing incredible things to positively impact their communities,” says Al-Nachawati. “It’s an honour to attend the week-long summit in Mexico, and we learned invaluable lessons from a global community of social entrepreneurs.”


LinkMentalHealth’s online platform matches people to mental health services that best fit their needs and connects them to therapist calendars, shrinking the process from months to minutes. Launched in 2018, the platform was a response to Al-Nachawati’s personal experience with the challenges of accessing mental health supports. While in university, he was diagnosed with anxiety and depression for the first time in his life and then put on a 6 month waiting list.

“There’s nothing more paralyzing than being forced to wait half a year for help you urgently need,” Al-Nachawati explains. “My community never spoke about mental health, so all I understood at that point was ‘there’s something wrong with you, and we can’t help you with it’. Had I known about the health insurance that I got through my student union, I would have found help sooner.”

The process was equally challenging when he graduated and was working full-time, with only 10% of private therapists answering their phones. Connecting with a therapist that fit the needs of minority communities that are under-served didn’t feel like an option.

A group of motivated individuals came together and built LinkMentalHealth, a technology solution to navigate the complexity of the mental health system. The platform matches people to both in-person & video mental health services, and considers important needs and preference that respect the diversity of both client and provider.

With more than 75% of Canadians unaware of their mental health insurance coverage through their work or school, the platform educates those seeking support and links them to help based off what they can afford.

More than 1500 people have been connected connected to mental health services via the rapidly-growing platform. LinkMentalHeatth also provides a portal for employers looking to reduce absenteeism and disability claim costs that integrates their health benefits and proactively gets employees the help they need.