VCU basketball player Joe Bamisile creates app for mental health

William Lineberry | 6/27/2024, 6 p.m.
Joe Bamisile wants to take the future as it comes. He tries not to force things. But he remains dedicated …
Joe Bamisile launched a new social media mental health app called Maunda. Photo by Thomas Kojcsich

Joe Bamisile wants to take the future as it comes. He tries not to force things. But he remains dedicated to excellence in anything he pursues.

If Bamisile puts up double-digit points as a guard on Virginia Commonwealth University’s men’s basketball team? That’s great. If, in five years, he is leading a company based on his app, which just launched and focuses on mental health and well-being? That’s great, too. If he’s in the NBA – or using his MBA – instead? Excellent.

And if he’s doing all those things, all the better.

“You can be really good at something and not have to stake your whole life on it,” Bamisile said.

“It’s really cool to have all of these opportunities, and it’s great to just let it see where it goes instead of needing it to go to an exact place.… I find that comforting.”

Bamisile, who graduated this spring with a bachelor’s in inter-disciplinary studies from University College, is now pursuing a master’s in rehabilitation and mental health counseling. His professor tasked him to create a business plan for the social media mental health app, Maunda, that he was envisioning. In that moment, everything got real.

“I was like, this can actually be what I present to clients and stakeholders,” Bamisile said. “I had to keep in mind who the app was for, and from there, I started to blend elements of communications and sociology to help meet individual needs within the application. It was a really helpful process. It gave me a blueprint to launch.

“Class ended and then it was like, alright, let me put what I did in my capstone class into actual action in the real world,” he said.

And that is exactly what happened. Bamisile refined – with the help of his professor, Vineeta Singh, Ph.D. – his vision for Maunda, and right as he was about to graduate, he launched it in May.

The app has already been welcomed by thousands of users.

Bamisile hopes it encourages users to make note of their well-being and incorporate daily breaks for themselves. He knows that the practices that are built into the app, such as meditation, have helped him balance the stress of everyday life.

“No matter how good your own personal mental health is, if you feel isolated or you’re not connected to other people, you’re still going to suffer in many ways,” Bamisile said. “That’s why I wanted to build this platform to try and combat that aspect of the mind.”