Enterprise Coworking Community Spotlight: Ellie Mental Health

This month Brittnay sat down with Brendan O’Brien and Andi Pusavat of Ellie Mental Health. Ellie Mental Health is a franchise mental health organization that was proudly founded on the principal of destigmatizing mental health. The mental health industry is full of barriers, and they’ve made it their goal to fill the gap and find innovative ways to break down these barriers for the communities we serve. Brendan O’Brien and Andi Pusavat own and operate one of the first Ellie Mental Health franchises in Denver and are on track to open their first mental health clinic in Greenwood Village within the next few months!
Brendan is a retired Air Force leader (20 years) and combat veteran. He also answers to ‘Radar’, his call sign from his fighter pilot days. Brendan holds an MBA from Kellogg and most recently spent 6+ years in digital transformation consulting. Brendan believes that taking care of and developing people must be the first priority of any leader. People always come first.
Andi received her BA in Psychology from University of California, Santa Barbara, her MA in Counseling Psychology from Loyola Marymount University, and her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver. Andi has trained and worked in a variety of mental health settings including a residential recovery center, intimate partner violence shelter, university health center, county hospital, detention healthcare service, theology school counseling center, and community mental health clinic. Andi is passionate about providing ethical, effective mental health services that are welcoming and affirming of all people.


Brittnay: [00:00:03] Hello and welcome back to the Enterprise Coworking Community Spotlight this month. We are talking to Brendan and Andi with Ellie Mental Health. Thank you so much for virtually just sitting down with us today. How is your week? 


Brendan: [00:00:17] Very good. It's been great.


Brittnay: [00:00:21] Love to hear that! So as we discussed earlier this week, the community spotlight is a great way to formally welcome you to the community while also introducing you as members and your business to the coworking network. So thank you for taking the time to sit down with me today and welcome to Enterprise. So I did put a little spiel on here about you guys. I said, Brendan and Andy join the Enterprise community here in Greenwood Village at the beginning of August. So if any Greenwood Village members are watching this, you're passing the Ellie Mental Health office, stop by and say hi. But let's get into the questions. You guys ready?


Brendan: [00:01:00] Yeah


Brittnay: [00:01:00] All right. Question number one, can you tell us a little bit about your company and. What you do?


Brendan: [00:01:08] Sure. How about I'll kick it off Andi and then you can pick it up. So Ellie Mental Health is an outpatient mental health clinic. Ellie Mental Health is a franchise. The founders started it in Minnesota about six years ago. They were a couple of social workers that were frustrated but passionate about helping people, but frustrated by working in the county system and not really being able to help people in the ways or as much as they wanted to. So they went off and founded Ellie Mental Health and grew it to, I think, 18 locations in Minnesota now over for five or six years. And just started franchising it last year, about a year ago actually. I went to Minnesota to meet them and in that year they've sold, I think, over 300 locations nationwide. So we'll see lots of Ellie Mental Healths popping up in the Colorado market over the next couple of years and nationwide. So but at our core, we're outpatient mental health therapy. So I'll let Andi talk a little more about you as a clinic, what we'll be doing.


Andi: [00:02:12] Yeah, we'll be providing a wide range of services. So we'll be seeing individuals, we'll be seeing couples, families offering groups. And really our goal is to provide a wide range of services and to fill the mental health gaps so that what I mean by that is making sure that people have access to services that oftentimes struggle to find services or even kind of have difficulty navigating their insurance systems. And so to me, what's exciting is that we are able to serve our community and really do it well with the model that we have.


Brittnay: [00:02:42] Absolutely. That sounds very exciting. I in my own personal experience, I have found that it is difficult to find mental health providers, especially because it is treated differently for varying insurances. So I love that you guys incorporate that as part of your business. It's great to hear that. Let's see how long. Well, I guess you kind of entered the how long you guys have been in business, but how long have you been associated with Ellie Mental Health?


Brendan: [00:03:11] Well, I purchased the franchise, so we'll have three locations in Denver that I will own and Andi will run. There's other owners in the area, but about ten months ago, I guess so. And then we're hoping to open the first clinic in a couple of months, just right down the street here next to the Landmark in Greenwood Village.


Brittnay: [00:03:33] it's very interesting with you guys as business, because I feel like I'm not not knocking other businesses, but this is a need, you know, especially since recovering from things like COVID and just getting back to it. I feel like mental health was highlighted during that time as something that it doesn't have to be stigmatized as something negative. We all need help and somebody to talk to. So I think that's great that you guys are offering that.


Brittnay: [00:04:07] I'm sorry. Sorry. We could talk all day. We could talk all day about it. So this is a little bit more of a fun question, but what would you say makes your company different from other companies in the field?


Brendan: [00:04:20] Well, I'm going to tackle that from the from the business and the team side and let Andi tackle the clinical side. This is the thing that drew me to Ellie Mental Health as a business. Is Ellie Mental Health really at its core, just as much as we're about improving access to care and creating greater innovation and care for our clients. We're really about creating the best possible place to work for therapists, and that's what gets me excited. It's about creating a better work life balance, competitive pay and benefits, flexible scheduling, the ability to see the types of patients that you want to see and in the end we'll create a better workplace for therapists, which will hopefully help reduce the attrition in the career field, which is pretty bad right now. So which will then hopefully help solve the lack of supply of therapists that need it for that's out there. So that's what gets me most excited is that we have as our goal and we will get there, that we will be the place to work for therapists in the Denver market. Absolutely.


Andi: [00:05:26] I think what I would add to that is I've been a therapist for 27 years, almost 28 now, and I've spent the last 17 training folks. And one of the things that I see over and over again is people coming out of school, not being paid what they had hoped for or even what they should be being paid for and then being burnt out early in the career. Unfortunately, it's a norm in mental health. And so when I first met Brendan, what I noticed was that we had the same kind of language that we were talking about how do we want work to look? What do we want our folks to feel like? And so to me, this is kind of an extension of what I have been doing in the sense of supporting people throughout their careers. But really what I love about it is we want people to feel valued and I think the service will be better, right? So if you are happy at work and they feel good and they feel like they have the resources and they're compensated well and they get to choose what Brendan was saying, who they see when they see people, then we know that they're going to be happier at work and for me that just is with my values. So when I saw Ellie's values, it was like, yes, that is exactly what I want people to feel like at work and I want to get on board with this.


Brittnay: [00:06:31] And it's very interesting to think about the mental health supporters need mental health support themselves. So it's like, I love to see that dynamic. You don't want to go to a therapist who's like burnt out here or there the other day. I love that.


Brendan: [00:06:46] It's more like you don't want to drop your car off or your kid off or yourself off. Yeah, anywhere to get work done and have that person who's taking your kid or something or not be happy, right? So I see it as my number one job and Andi's number one job is to create a great workplace and keep a happy team. Yeah.


Brittnay: [00:07:08] I love to hear that. That's great. Let's see what we have. I'm jumping around because you guys are answering a lot of questions all at once. But I love that. This one is of my favorite questions. Why did you choose Enterprise Coworking?


Brendan: [00:07:25] Awesome. Well, when I. Well, first of all, Brittany, you are part of the reason I really enjoyed when you gave me the tour and we got to walk around and see the space. The space is great, coffee is tasty. And I like the flexibility of the space, the openness of it, like the big windows. And no matter where you are outside and the sunshine's coming in. Then also it was close to where we're going to be opening our office. So once our buildout starts, I can walk 5 minutes to there. But there are other places nearby, but I liked Enterprise the best. For all those reasons.


Brittnay: [00:08:01] I love to do that. Thank you. Andi, what about you? Do you have anything you want to add?


Andi: [00:08:09] I'd also like to try. I think you are incredible at what you do. Right. Made us feel welcome. Definitely gave us a tour. We know what's available here and it's just very easy to come here and people here are great. I found that folks are very welcoming and and like Brendan said, I mean, location was great. But I also think that we have everything we need here. And so I appreciate your. Thank you.


Brittnay: [00:08:31] If anything ever changes, please don't hesitate. We always talk by the coffee station anyway, but I'm here for input, both positive and negative. Or just, I don't know, to make the space better if you have any ideas I am definitely open to that too. So thank you very much for that. I appreciate it. So lastly, this one is directed to the viewers out there, but where can people find you? How can we get in contact with Ellie Mental Health or when is the big opening or what's up? What's up with that? 


Brendan: [00:09:07] Our opening date is not set yet, but we will be just a couple of blocks away from here in the Crestline building, which is literally walk out the back door and you're at the Landmark. Right. So so we should be opening in a couple of months. In the meantime, we're on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google. elliementalhealth.com is the national website and you can find our location page there. If you just look up Colorado and the Denver Tech Center you can find out more about our clinic and our team as we hire them. We'll be adding their profiles there. So but I always joke like everybody goes to Google whenever they're looking up something first. And so if you go to Google and your search, of course you're going to find us.


Andi: [00:09:49] The other thing is we're offering telehealth services now. So that's that's another thing that folks can call. Even though the physical office isn't open, a lot of people prefer telehealth. And so just want to make sure that they know that I'm already I'm already in practice.