(DURHAM, NH) — Struggles with mental health, alcohol and drug abuse have taken over the lives of people every day; even in a small town like Durham, NH. However, there are some people who are willing to change the stigma around serious struggles and give an outlet for those who need it most.
Sam Warach, 25, of Durham, NH, is a 2017 University of New Hampshire (UNH) Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics alumnus. In combination of his bachelor’s of science in business administration degree and a deep passion for helping others, Warach started up NextStep HealthTech, a technology company with the mission to help individuals and communities cultivate resilience. Most recently, Warach, the CEO, got in agreements with the state of New Hampshire and New York to supply products for his blooming company.
NextStep started with the drive to combat modern mental health and addiction crises in New Hampshire and beyond. “I began kicking around ideas that led to NextStep in 2014 during my sophomore year at UNH Paul College. While I learned about the mechanics of social venture innovation, I wanted to tackle some of the major problems that had negatively impacted my community, the country, and beyond,” Warach said. Warach wants people to feel like they are resilient enough to open their minds and get the help they need. With his app, NextStep GoodLife released worldwide in the app store, Warach hopes to end the stigma on mental health and addiction.
In order to build a community and develop this company, Warach had to experience some kinds of struggles himself to be who and where he is today. However, he takes those struggles and turns them into something positive, becoming a facade for his message of resiliency. “Bumps in the road are a daily occurrence. Adversity should be expected in entrepreneurship. I see adversity as opportunity for resilience,” Warach said.
Alumni like Warach who envisioned their entrepreneurship so clearly throughout college have full support from their professors. Professor Ronald Boucher of the hospitality department explains his own values and the values of Paul College. “Never say never,” Boucher said. “Last semester with COVID, as a team, nobody panicked. We all stayed positive. In order to stay on top of the situation, stay positive. Think about the outcome, not the struggles.” Boucher, among many other professors in Paul, holds himself
Active Minds, a national nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for students, conducted a survey in 2020 for student’s mental health. It was found that 39% of students struggle with some kind of mental health issues. Every one in five students have a diagnosable mental illness. Overall, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults. Active Minds, along with NextStep, are, among other things, suicide prevention programs, working to move that ranking down.
Warach has worked closely with local psychiatrists in order to develop a strong insight for what his job entails. Emily Woodwall is the Assistant Director of Clinical Services at UNH and provides counseling through UNH’s Psychological and Counseling Services (PACS) program. “Collegiate mental health is a unique and dynamic place to work. It offers the opportunity to help students in a wide variety of circumstances, allows for time dedicated to outreach and education around mental health and encourages collaboration within interdisciplinary teams. It feels good to work [someplace] where the goal of helping students is a priority,” Woodwall said. Her passions reflect similarly to Warach’s, emphasizing his want to help others.
Warach’s motto is simple: “I do what I do today to make a positive impact and value the opportunity to instill positive growth in the teams and communities in which I work.” Warach’s dedication to the well-being of others only brings to surface what NextStep offers in terms of comfort, prosperity and quality of life to those who are combatant with their mental health.
NextStep HealthTech is available to everybody, and the organization is developing new resources to help those struggling with mental health or addiction and provide a sense of self sustainability and resiliency. To learn more about NextStep HealthTech, download the NextStep GoodLife app in the Apple App Store or visit their website:
Photo courtesy of Sam Warach.