Employees need more. This company wants to serve as your ‘Chief Well-being Officer’ 



Stress, burnout, and disengagement rates have risen and affected employee performance. As America’s mental health crisis rages on, workplaces have taken note. Many companies have responded by offering a slew of teletherapy platforms, virtual care services, and meditation apps as benefits. However, a recent analysis found workplace wellness benefits have yet to move the needle on employee well-being.

Searching for what will help has propelled entrepreneur Ariela Safira—who says workplace well-being starts with fostering a safe and supportive culture. After all, if you feel disconnected with your leaders and colleagues, what will a 10-minute evening meditation solve? 

In 2019, Safira launched Real, a mental health platform offering group therapy and an online content library. Today Safira’s team is relaunching to broaden their services under the new name Zeera—meaning new beginnings. The company hopes to become a daily tool for employees to combat discomfort and stress and for leaders to better support their teams. 

“The frontlines of mental health care are not therapists, their heads of HR,” Safira tells Fortune, in an exclusive interview ahead of the announcement. “It’s so unique for a single environment to be the driver for mental illness, the support system for mental wellness, and the financial provider for mental health care. It was very clear that this is the best channel to scale Zeera.”

‘A mental health toolkit for the workplace’ 

Companies that partner with Zeera have access to individual memberships and Zeera for People’s Teams—which Safira calls “a mental health toolkit for the workplace.” The training and services will serve as a company’s “Chief Well-being Officer,” with monthly leadership training to help people answer vital questions about employee well-being in the office. “How do you identify mental health decline in employees? How do you build a culture of mental wellness? How do you support employees when they do communicate about mental unwellness?” Safira says, as examples of what the platform will tackle. 

The Cheesecake Factory, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, Versace, and Maven Clinic are some of Zeera’s inaugural partnerships. 

Zach Shallcross, ABC’s former Bachelor, was named head of sales and feels tied to the company’s mission, having suffered from anxiety and body dysmorphia. “I realized the toll it had taken on my relationships, work, and overall outlook on life,” he tells Fortune via email. “I discovered that care can be quite challenging to access.”

Despite seeing positive clinical outcomes with the initial launch of Real, Safira says that feedback from hundreds of users helped her design a more scalable and engaging product in Zeera. 

The Netflix of mental health care

After studying two years of Real’s data, Zeera’s team learned that users want their well-being solutions to be more accessible and mirror the way they use other apps and programs.

Zeera offers members a library of short educational audio sessions led by experts across several mental health topics, along with member stories and live audio sessions to join anonymously.

“It really parallels a lot of what we hear with group therapy,” Dr. Rachel Hoffman, Zeera’s chief clinical offers, tells Fortune. “People would always say to me, ‘I wish I could have a recording of this session because it’s really hard for me to remember what I’ve learned or experienced during the session.’” 

Safira and Hoffman said their research underscored how people desired a mental health care model more robust than weekly one-on-one therapy. Users wanted actionable tools and asynchronous, short, accessible sessions to check at any point of the day. They wanted ownership over their experience and curated recommendations comparable to Netflix or Spotify for mental health care. 

In a study verified by the International Review Board (IRB), members using Zeera for 60 days experienced a 35% decrease in depressive symptoms, a 27% reduction in stress, and a 17% increase in resilience. 

In an ideal world, people would think to “Zeera a session,” whether anxious during their work commute, spiraling in bed at night, or hitting a wall when in the office bathroom stall, Safira says.

 “We all know and feel and relate to the number of anxious or depressing thoughts we might have after 11 p.m.,” Safira says. 



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