New Nonprofit NRVE in Dallas to Launch with Focus on Mental Health » Dallas Innovates
Throughout his life, Dunnu Devulapally has witnessed firsthand the struggles that mental health issues can cause. It’s something he’s grappled with personally, having had an early identity crisis stemming from being a first-generation American and later struggling with substance abuse as a high school student. It’s also something that has caused him to lose numerous friends later in his life.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends to various mental health issues,” Devulapally told Dallas Innovates. “It was something that rocked my life.”
But instead of being consumed by grief, Devulapally tries to use his experience to help others dealing with mental health issues. After forming in May, Devulapally is launching a new Dallas-based non-profit research organization NRVE this weekend. He hopes it will become a focal point to accelerate other mental health initiatives.
“What’s really missing is that a lot of people go into an industry believing that they are the solution or that they already know the solution instead of saying, ‘Let’s gather a lot of information about the industry as a whole,'” Devulapally said Then use that data to “really target specific facets that could yield results faster.”
NRVE focuses on six key areas
Originally geared to focus on something that affected him personally — addressing the rise in opioid use — Devulapally began meeting with mentors, friends who would later join, and community members, and decided to expand his efforts. The nonprofit, aimed at younger generations, now has six areas it is delving into: youth awareness, support for veterans, support for the homeless, and research into substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicide prevention.
“These are issues that are very important to all of us personally,” Devulapally said. “We want to use this first year as a kind of opportunity to really understand ourselves.”
Devulapally said NRVE will first dive into these six areas, see what mental health needs are needed in different regions across the country, and use the information gathered to inform future efforts. Ultimately, he hopes to create a brand and community around the nonprofit to raise awareness of the issues it aims to address.
Altered moods as well as the ecosystem as a whole
“In the not-for-profit world, you don’t have these recognizable names like we have in the for-profit world, where you have Apple, Facebook and Amazon,” Devulapally said. “We truly believe that restructuring the way organizations position themselves towards society will change the way people think about nonprofit organizations. And that will change a lot in the ecosystem as a whole.”
With the information gathered, NRVE plans to become the “Google” for the mental health field, collecting and disseminating insights to help other groups and nonprofits better focus and accelerate their own initiatives.
“If we can really interface and slowly build up a long game, sort of like an oracle if you will, so that the industry with these big packets of data understands what the problems are overall,” Devulapally said. “And then you can literally connect with the industry as a whole to get them to solve problems better together.”
NRVE starts this Saturday
NRVE is scheduled to officially start on Saturday. It begins with an awareness-raising 40-mile bike ride between downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth. The ride was organized by both NRVE and Holistic Health, an e-commerce brand led by Devulapally, which will help raise money for NRVE. The day will culminate in one Black Tie Gala Saturday night featuring a silent auction and live performances by local artists, along with wine and appetizers ‘from around the world’.
Devulapally said the goal of the event is to raise $10,000 to support NRVE’s efforts. With this funding, the non-profit organization intends to launch its first two initiatives in the coming year. Returning to the initial focus Devulapally had in founding NRVE, one of the initiatives will be working to provide the Fort Worth Police Department with Narcan – an opioid overdose reversal drug – to use in their squad cars and at can carry themselves. The other will focus on providing socks to homeless people in south Dallas, something that Devulapally says is a much-needed piece of clothing for that population. In addition, the organization plans to launch Rocky—a dog mascot for NRVE that the nonprofit plans to create content and programs around—to raise awareness of mental health issues.
“I would like to see NRVE eventually evolve into a repository, a database of nature-based information that many organizations could interface with. My goal going forward is to be the entity that can speed up the process so we can resolve issues faster,” said Devulapally. “I want us to really pretend that if anyone has something they want to solve, they could theoretically come up with a simple way and provide an answer based on the data available.”
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