Egyptian startup Shezlong, which claims to be the first and largest psychotherapy platform in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, has announced the launch of its business in South Africa under the name of “Upright”.

In a statement, the startup stated that due to the mental health crisis in South Africa, it felt it was its duty to step up and provide the necessary help to combat the crisis. It further added that it chose this country specifically as a lot of research called attention to South Africa’s need for mental healthcare services and more specifically, e-mental healthcare.

According to Shezlong, expanding to South Africa would help reach marginalised populations who are underserved by the health system and who are suffering from various mental health issues that significantly affect their quality of life.

“The people of South Africa are exposed to various incidents that affect their mental health significantly such as a high rate of gender-based violence, lack of adequate care during pregnancy and unemployment, among many other factors,” the startup said in the statement.

To kick off its South African presence, the startup has since constructed a dedicated website and application with the brand identity of Upright. 

Shezlong states that the move into South Africa is a stepping stone to its larger goal to make mental healthcare available and accessible to each person on this planet, as everyone deserves to have the best quality of life possible.

Speaking on the expansion, Mohamed Alaa, CEO of Shezlong, stated that “We are proceeding according to a clear strategy and a firm vision towards expansion and growth. We are aiming to make mental wellness a daily routine for every individual in Africa to help build resilient communities, hence, induce a positive impact on the welfare of the society through innovative, accessible and easy-to-use technologies. ”

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