The Inuka Story

How we brought a revolutionary way to make mental health accessible - to the workplace, and the world.

Inuka means ‘arise’ in Kigali, and that is exactly how we began — after a meeting between co-founders Robin van Dalen and globally recognized psychiatrist Prof Dr. Chibanda.

CEO Robin pitching Inuka's mission
Dixon speaking at TED conference on the friendship bench

Once upon a time in Canada, back in June 2015, Robin van Dalen met Dr. Dixon Chibanda. Dr. Chibanda shared a beautiful story about how he realized that as one of 13 psychiatrists for 16 million people in his home country of Zimbabwe, something had to change. But how? His radically different solution was to train community members – and in particular grandmothers – on problem-solving therapy to make mental health more accessible.

At the time Robin had come out of her own depression and was working for Philips Africa innovation hub exploring what we as a society can do for mental health. Dixon and Robin shared the same vision: to make mental health support more widely available via a digital platform. Not only in Zimbabwe, but everywhere.

1 in 5 people every year suffer from depression, burnout and anxiety – and the majority don’t seek help.

Making more affordable, non-stigmatized support accessible anytime, anywhere could make a massive difference for everyone. And so it happened: While still at Philips, Robin put together a business case and in January 2016 and got a team of designers, psychologists and techies on board to work on what eventually has evolved into Inuka: a digital platform that trains life coaches in a proven method and connects them with people seeking support.
 
 

Fast forward another year and a half, and Dixon has become a world-renowned psychiatrist with his own viral TED-talk and spends much of his time still with the Friendship Bench, an organization training coaches across Africa that serves 100.000 people each year with problems ranging from depression, trauma, to stress.

With our Inuka digital coaching innovation, we make affordable, high-quality, human support (with measurable results!) accessible for all layers of society.

Effectively care for the wellbeing of your employees.
How Inuka works for employers
Improve your daily wellbeing, with a personal Inuka coach.
using mental health app on phone