Mental health can be a complex subject to crack. With so many issues surrounding it, it can be hard to navigate and know what is up or down. Issues like stigma, lack of providers, and access to care can all inhibit our ability to prosper in a healthy nature. Below are three companies working to close the gaps and break the barriers to accessing mental health care through digital solutions.
Ellipsis Health started off as a desire to connect the dots between physical and mental health. They saw the opportunity to do so by using voice. Voice is how we connect with each other, and healthcare is all about connecting the dots and building relationships. They created the world’s first clinically validated vital sign for mental health using voice to measure stress, depression, and anxiety levels.
There must be a way to be inclusive and ethical about how to build the technology and who will build the technology. And the people willing to build the technology must actually represent the people they are building it for. Ellipsis has built its digital solution using people from various backgrounds and understanding, gathering data, and utilizing a good representation of the market.
One crucial factor in the success of this technology is early intervention. Starting even with kids – realizing there is a problem, getting treatment, and the road to recovery – all start with early intervention. According to data, 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses begin at age 14. About 75% begin by age 24. By engaging in a fun and informative way with early intervention, there is a much better success rate.
Optum Labs is expanding access to mental health care by bringing care into a person’s home. Care in the home can also cut down on the stigma of mental health care. By allowing the care to be private, in the comfort of their own home, more people are willing to seek out this form of health care.
The biggest challenge in mental health is that there is no universal diagnostic tool that can be as simple as a blood test to diagnose conditions. Digital health companies are starting to use digital tools and biomarkers as a method to help diagnose illnesses. By bringing in technology, Optum Labs is increasing access to biomarking tools, thus increasing access to care overall. This is becoming part of holistic care and bridging the physical and mental health care gap. Another way this is increasing access is by connecting the patient to their care team in a more seamless and universal way. Optum Labs is using technology to meet people where they are.
Headspace is looking to ensure that patients have diverse options to provide a range of treatments that is right for each individual. Since choosing can be a burden, the goal is to have personalization and assessment engines that ensure that they are serving the right piece of content, providing the right connection to a coach, and the right escalation to clinical care, at the right time.
Headspace uses technology to open the front door to care. Some people know they need care but are blocked by stigma from seeking out the care they need. They are intersecting people with informativeness as well as readiness.
COVID-19 gave people the unique circumstance of being locked in their homes, watching tv. Headspace partnered with Netflix to bring to life a series of specials that focused on mental well-being, meditation, and good sleep. When you work with technology, there’s a way to introduce and interrupt to get the point across. Headspace also partnered with TikTok to create a segment with a teacher, Dora, about mindfulness and help you take a break and breathe. There was success with this segment that caused people to exit the app and shut down TikTok after the break. The more you can embrace the playing field–in this case, technology–and meet people on their level, the better the outcome and success rate will be. This has been a great way to reach the younger generations.
You can watch our full panel and hear more of these conversations here.