Mental health is often a trending topic on social media, print, and television. As the issues surrounding our nation’s mental health crisis are becoming more recognized, there is still much work to be done on the front lines. The mental health industry is at a crossroads, and the old ways of delivering services and working with mental health clients are due for a much-needed upgrade. With waiting lists for new appointments reaching six months or more, change is necessary. Today we are joined by Robin Harvell, LPC, who has dedicated her life to developing and implementing the changes to our mental health systems that are so desperately needed. Harvell and the company she co-founded, Azira Mental Health, LLC, are quickly becoming the nation’s leaders in making a positive difference in how mental health clinics are run, both for the clients and the staff. Azira Mental Health, LLC is turning to the franchise model to scale its operations nationally, and we are lucky enough to be joined by Robin Harvell for an interview. Below is the transcript of our interview with Robin.
Thank you for joining us today to talk about mental health and what you are doing at Azira Mental Health as you make the transition into franchising. What made you decide to franchise?
After decades of being overworked, underpaid, and unsupported in the mental health field and witnessing my colleagues experience the same struggles, I am so happy to be able to work with a team of creative, passionate people who support one another! Our like-minded mission to practice self-care and have a great life/work balance has proven to work in the clinic setting because our team members have the resources to give to their clients from a full emotional cup. So many clinicians are emotionally drained, and this affects the treatment of our clients. Being able to create a place where our clinicians are happy and fulfilled allows them to walk alongside clients as they heal in our positive environment. Clients and team members all say they feel the good vibes when they walk in the door at Azira, and I want more clinicians and clients to experience the Azira difference so they can get back to loving their career while making a difference in the world every single day. It made the best sense to the franchise and expand our reach because it will allow us to help more and more struggling clients while also creating wonderful places to work for the clinicians and successful, profitable businesses for the franchisees. It’s a way where everybody wins while still keeping the Azira standards we’ve worked so hard to develop.
How did you find your passion in mental health?
Intergenerational complex trauma deeply impacted my family, and I have always had the heart to understand it. It was through this mission to understand it that I found my calling to help others through their own tough experiences. I wanted people to know that trauma often brings shame that is not theirs to carry, and trauma does not have to define their lives. People can heal, thrive, and live the life they want to live. Having the privilege to work with clients throughout the past few decades has been an honor, and as I watch people heal, I’m forever grateful to be in a position to witness such healing. I love it, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
What makes Azira different?
There are many aspects of our clinics that are different from what one normally thinks of when they think about seeking therapy. When you come to Azira, you feel the good vibes from the minute you walk in the door. We focus on the details, and these details really make all the difference. From the soothing music, relaxing fountain, fresh coffee and baked goods for team members and clients, and fresh flowers and artwork, you know you are in a place of positive healing and this fosters that healing. We like to create an atmosphere that is warm, soothing, and relaxing to all the senses. In addition, we carefully screen for and hire the top mental health clinicians in the industry. We have genuine, positive connections between our team members and our clients, and this authenticity is felt throughout every Azira clinic. Clients and clinicians are no longer made to feel like a number in the system like they do at many mental health agencies, and the support we provide to all team members working at Azira is world-class. The clients receive the highest quality of care around from clinicians who are supported and fulfilled, and it’s so fun to be a part of it all.
What are the benefits of being a franchisee?
There are many benefits to becoming a franchisee, but the greatest benefit to me is in our proven systems, branding, and our specific focus on modeling the self-care we want the clients to experience through our unique leadership and supervision model. Private practice can be isolating, and isolation is the recipe for burnout. Most therapists entering private practice do not stay in private practice for very long because of this. At Azira Mental Health, we model and support self-care for our team members…and emphasize having an excellent life/work balance. This ensures our therapists know that they are valued and supported, and our clients get the benefit of rested, positive, empowered therapists who can give them the best care, which increases the number of clients we see and increases the bottom line. We use innovative neuroscience to ensure that everyone is their best. From the soothing, sensory environment to the leadership and supervision model we implement, we walk the walk when it comes to wellness. Our Azira model also ensures therapist retention, and therapist retention saves money on training and case transfers which is a significant issue in the mental health field.
How much is the investment?
The initial investment is much lower than other medical franchises in the country, and you don’t need to be in the mental health field to become an Azira Mental Health franchisee. The franchise fee is $40,000 and the total initial investment to get your very own Azira up and running is less than $100,000. With the average cost of medical and mental health franchises being well over $100,000, we are proud to have created a lean, profitable model for anyone wanting to join the Azira Mental Health family and create an amazing life for their family while making a difference in the world.
Why do you think the mental health industry has so many problems?
This is a great question, and the answer could be quite long, but to simplify it…the need for mental health services is great, and the resources are few. Mental health agencies often cut corners because they are overwhelmed, and things like good supervision and self-care get left behind. The result is that the therapists end up burning out, which makes the shortage of services even greater…and the ones who stay at these agencies are unfulfilled, and the clients feel this. At Azira, therapists have the support they need to do their best work and have a great work/life balance, and everyone benefits. Our focus on staff support and our leadership systems have allowed us to set the highest bar for therapist retention, which is another big issue in the mental health field. The fact that our team members love being a part of Azira and we have virtually eliminated the clinician turnover problems facing many agencies ensures that our clients have consistent therapists as they heal, which leads to better treatment outcomes.
There is a real mental health crisis going on in our country, and people are really struggling to find access to care. It must feel good to be able to provide that access.
Every day it feels great to be able to help with this crisis and give more people access to excellent holistic wellness. Seeing clients get better and seeing supported, happy team members always makes me smile because I always KNEW creating a place like this was possible, and I would always get frustrated that other agencies were trying to take shortcuts and losing sight of our mission, which is to help those in need.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for the opportunity to share what we are doing at Azira. At Azira, we operate from an abundance mindset, and we believe that the more people who work together to help promote wellness and positivity, the closer we will come to eliminating our current mental health crisis. Thank you for doing your part towards this goal, and we are looking forward to working with passionate people who want to make a positive difference in our world!
Thank you so much for joining us today!
For more information about becoming a franchisee, visit AziraMentalHealth.com/Franchise.