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Joe Bamisile created an app to battle mental health issues: 'Helping others is more fulfilling'

Posted at 3:10 PM, May 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 21:08:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Even in this new age of the transfer portal in college sports, when a student plays for four different schools in as many seasons, that student can get labeled as something of a problem. VCU student and basketball player Joe Bamisile understands and has no trouble explaining why it's wrong.

"When I stepped into, basically showing people these are my set of issues, it actually made me more human," Bamisile said.

The former Monacan High School star started experiencing severe isolation and anxiety after he transferred from Virginia Tech to George Washington University.

There he realized he was making a big mistake.

"I got to a place where I was spending a ton of time by myself. And spending a ton of time by myself was worse for me," he said.

Joe Bamisile

He got help from a therapist and thought he had a clean slate at his next stop at the University of Oklahoma.

That's when his father's near-fatal health issues brought in more anxiety and depression.

Bamisile's parents have worked in the mental health field since he was in grade school.

"It made me realize at a young age that taking care of other people and looking out for others is always, in the long run, more important than just thinking about yourself," he said.

Joe Bamisile

Bamisile said he couldn't have known it then, but it set the stage for what he is doing now.

In this age of social media and mental health awareness, Bamisile is seeking to bring the two together.

"Essentially, you have people who are really, really trying to better themselves and you have people who are trying really, really hard to be connected," he said. "Why isn't there something that's bridging the gap?"

Bamisile has a venture that he hopes will do just that.

For the last eight months, in addition to playing guard for the Rams, Bamisile has been developing a website and app called Maunda.

The name is an amalgamation of the words Mantra and Mind.

Maunda has features like scheduled meditation, affirmations, and connections with others going through similar issues.

It also has what Bamisile calls the Vanishing Journal — the option to unload everything on one's mind and not hold on to it.

"It's this balance of reflecting and soaking in the last 24 hours in your life and then letting it go," he said. "I don't think people always have an outlet where they feel safe to share something that's meaningful to them and giving people that chance to dump their day in one space and leave it I think is really important."

Maunda

By sharing his journey and struggles, Bamisile has shown that even the life of a big-time college basketball player can have challenges that anyone watching might share.

"What being open about my issue has actually given me the ability to help more people and take another step forward by doing this and trying to touch more people who may be lacking a community or need a space to feel heard or understood," he said.

Both Bamisile and his father are doing better.

Despite not being allowed to play for the first half of last season, Bamisile crossed a personal threshold with his mental health.

"What I was searching for mentally and in my heart, I found it. It was almost a cherry on top that I got the opportunity to play," he said.

He also got the chance to take what he had experienced and use it to help others. A lesson he learned at home when he was very young.

"I'm very grateful that I've got to a place where I'm good enough where I can try to help others. A journey that's all about the self is very unrewarding. Being able to help other people is way more fulfilling," he said.

Maunda is free to try for 30 days.

After that, it costs $5 a month

Bamisile hopes sponsorship and outside support can make it free to users in the near future.

Bamisile is returning to VCU for his final season with the Rams next year after which he will graduate with a master's degree as a mental health clinician.

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