Company - October Health

October Health

On a mission to change the way mental well-being is seen, and delivered.

Over 1.9 billion people globally suffer from mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. It will cost the world $16 trillion by 2030, and costs us millions of lives a year.

October Health is building the technology to change the world, stop the burden of mental health, and help people live happier, healthier lives.

The world is suffering from a mental health pandemic. It will cost the world $16 trillion by 2030, and costs us millions of lives a year.

And it's only getting worse. In the last decade the number of people suffering from mental health issues has increased by 13% and the rate is increasing. We must do something about it to stop the suffering and the 12 billion lost working days per year.

800k

Suicides per year

One person dies every 40 seconds from suicide.

$16 trillion

Yearly cost to the global economy.

Along with untold suffering and pain for those who need help.

#1 killer

Leading cause of death

Mental illness kills more young people than any other disease.

The world's most innovative companies use October

JSE
FedHealth

Freeing the bears in all of us

The birth of October

October was co-founded by Allan Sweidan and Alon Lits. Allan, a clinical psychologist, built what was to become the largest psychiatric hospital group in Southern Africa, Akeso. When Akeso was eventually sold to Netcare (JSE:NTC) in 2018, it was treating upwards of 22,000 patients a year across 13 sites. Allan served on the Netcare Exco until mid-2019.

Alon was Uber’s first employee in Africa. In his 7 years at the helm, Uber was launched into 7 countries, generating millions of rides and changing the face of transport in Sub-Saharan Africa. Alon left his role as Director for Uber in Sub-Saharan Africa in August 2020.

Introduced by a mutual friend, Allan and Alon embarked on a mission to disrupt the global mental health industry, where it's estimated that up to 80% of people who need mental healthcare don't get it because of issues including affordability, access to care and stigma. Applying their unique skills, and pulling together an incredible team of like-minded social entrepreneurs intent on making a difference, they have developed an app that has the potential to democratize the provision of mental healthcare.

October has grown into a cost-effective, multi-functional platform that improves exponentially: it becomes more useful to more users the more that it is used.

Octobers have a universal appeal with their playful, yin yang energy. The name also resonates with a book Allan read a hundred years ago, wherein bears, symbolizing the strong, playful human spirit, were set free from a European Zoo with dramatic consequences. October sets out to free the bears in all of us.

Meet our leadership team

October has assembled a team of world-class leaders with a shared vision to scale proactive and pre-emptive mental healthcare to the masses.

  • Alon Lits

    CEO, Co-Founder

    Alon was Uber’s first employee in Africa, and led Uber as the SSA director – expanding operations into seven countries and pioneering ride-sharing across the region. He co-founded October Health with Allan Sweidan in 2019, and is passionate about using technology to increase mental health access, improve mental health outcomes and transform workplace productivity.

  • Allan Sweidan

    Chief Science Officer, Co-Founder

    Allan, a renowned clinical psychologist and co-founder of October Health, boasts over 30 years of experience in the mental health field. Allan is the founder and former CEO of Akeso, South Africa's largest group of psychiatric hospitals, Allan has always focused his career on scaling his impact, from seeing 8 patients a day in private practice to serving over 800 patients a day across his hospital group prior to its sale. He is passionate about scaling his impact even further leveraging the power of technology at October Health.

  • Mandy Muchnick

    CRO

    Mandy is a Chartered Accountant with extensive private equity experience in the UK and South Africa. She is the Africa Chair for One Young World, a winner of the SAICA 35 under 35, and is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Revenue Officer at October Health. She has always looked for ways to drive impact beyond her career through her work in the NGO space. October combines Mandy’s commercial mindset with her passion for purpose.

  • Leni Bruinders

    CLO

    Leni, our Chief Legal Officer, is a distinguished lawyer boasting over 8 years of diverse industry experience. A trailblazer in her field, she has dedicated her expertise to championing mental well-being, data protection, and privacy. At her previous law firm, Leni carved out a specialized legal niche, assisting clients in prioritizing their employees' mental health and fostering a supportive work environment.

  • Dave Blakey

    CTO

    Dave is a startup CTO and globally recognized thought leader with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, and was the youngest A+, MCSE and MCP in the world. He has founded and exited multiple tech companies, and has a passion for building great teams and products. Today Dave leads the October Health engineering team, and brings his vast AI and ML expertise to the world of scalable mental health.

  • Zamo Mbele

    Chief Clinical Officer

    Zamo is an extraordinary leader and visionary in the field of clinical psychology, with a passion for improving mental health care on a large scale. With over a decade of experience in South Africa’s public mental health sector, Zamo has established himself as a trusted authority and influential figure. Through his insightful and data-driven approach, he spearheads strategies to move the world of mental healthcare from its reactive roots to a predictive and proactive future.

Our values

Ensuring that everyone has access to the right mental health support & resources at the right time.

Walk through walls
We strive to revolutionize the mental health industry through relentless problem-solving and a strong work ethic, fostering a culture of ownership and commitment to growth.
Challenge the status quo
We revolutionize industries by challenging the status quo and embracing first principle thinking for efficient solutions in our systems and products.
Customer Obsession
We prioritize delivering exceptional experiences for our diverse users while scaling effectively, ensuring we go above and beyond to support those in need, especially the vulnerable.
Open and honest dialogue
Embrace respectful disagreement and radical candor, commit to the best ideas, and assume good intent to foster success and growth.
We are all team players
We prioritize teamwork, leveraging our strengths and learning from one another while fostering a respectful environment that empowers success for all.
Always be learning
We embrace accountability and learn from our mistakes, fostering a culture of continuous growth and improvement.
October Circle

“Through October we continue to draw insights to understand where to bolster support and to design a fit for purpose well-being plan for the year.”

Palesa Ntoagae
Director of Human Resources, Johannesburg Stock Exchange

“We now understand what wellbeing challenges are most important to our staff and can craft specialised interventions with the October team [..]The entire October team is a pleasure to deal with”

Daniella Frank
National Employee Engagement Manager, Mazars

“In as much as I love the app, and I love it a lot, I think the most stand out feature of the Pilot has been the support we have received from the October team [..] has been the difference between it being limp on inception, and it being the success it was!”

Gen Brand
HR Director, SAPRO

From the blog

Keep up to date with October Health news, company information and mental well-being tips.