If recent events have put you in a stressful state of mind, it might be time to hit the bar — the MindBar, that is.
MindBar, launching in Austin May 1, the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Month, is a new self-care, therapy, and mental-health platform built on the belief that self-care is not a luxury but a necessity.
Austinites Hailey O’Neill and Barbara Nadalini-Priesnitz, a licensed professional counselor-supervisor, devised the concept because, they say, while most people experiencing stress and anxiety don’t necessarily need medical treatment, they can take advantage of specific tools to help manage their stress. The most important relationship is with yourself, they say, and it should be a priority. (And considering a recent study found Texans to be among the most stressed-out Americans, the timing of MindBar’s launch is apropos.)
Motivated by the idea that the current mental-healthcare model is too expensive and too exclusive, the MindBar co-founders will employ an economical membership-based model — which runs $99 per month — that includes unlimited access to their online and in-person therapy classes, dubbed fitness classes for your mind. (Class passes and one-class drop-in passes will also be available.)
The classes, a blend of group therapy, classroom learning, and guided visualization that are led by licensed therapists, are part therapy, part meditation experience, and are designed not just to help alleviate stress, but to also promote personal growth and encourage members’ connection to the community. Therapy class topics include self-esteem, relationships, work, body, and spirit. MindBar will also host a self-help book club.
MindBar will not maintain a brick-and-mortar location. Rather, the team will host classes at pop-up spots throughout Austin, but the majority of the classes will take place online, making them accessible for members from anywhere.
The co-founders know well that a focus on wellness can be truly life-changing. O’Neill began her mental-health journey in 2015, quickly encouraging friends and family members to seek therapy for its soothing effects, a move that sparked lots of conversation about the struggles we all face on a daily basis. And Nadalini-Priesnitz, a former restaurateur and IT consultant, found therapy to be so helpful that she went back to school in her 30s to become a therapist herself.
“Young professionals especially are so intentional about balancing work and personal life, but their anxieties are higher than any previous generation,” O’Neill says. “And unfortunately, emotional and mental healthcare remain inconvenient and expensive. MindBar offers a modern, affordable, and desirable solution. We want to change the narrative so people are proud and excited to talk about personal growth and mental health.”
In addition to its regular class offerings, MindBar will also work with a variety of specialists to offer members an eight-week deep-dive series focused on topics like sexual freedom and ethics, body image and health, solo entrepreneurship, and manifesting and intentionality.