Mental Health Tech Supporting Self-Care During Uncertain Times
We won’t sugarcoat it; we know times are challenging. The impacts of coronavirus on our economy and culture will be long lasting, but so will the impact on mental health. We feel that access to mental health resources should be an important part of our recovery planning. 1 in 5 American adults struggle with mental health issues, and 60% of those people did not receive any mental health services in the last year.
As the month of May is Mental Health Awareness month, we wanted to learn more about mental health tech and how technology tools are being utilized to support those struggling with anxiety, depression, and other issues. Today, there are over 800 smartphone applications designed to help with depression, anxiety, meditation, mindfulness, PTSD, and more. We’re reviewing some of these resources and highlighting companies that prioritize mental health services.
Mental Health Tech And Apps That Are Here For You
The National Center for PTSD, a branch of the Department of Veteran Affairs, developed a brand-new app specifically for pandemic related resources. Its services range from helping people find food pantries, to applying for unemployment, to coping strategies and mood trackers to help deal with irritability and loneliness. Visit this page to find out more on Covid Coach and how to use it. Bonus: it’s free.
Big White Wall
Started in 2008, Big White Wall saw the need for an accessible safe space via online forums, interlaced with mental health support systems. Moderated by trained practitioners to keep users safe, BWW “harnesses the protective and therapeutic effects of connectedness and healthy social networks in its unique community where people share with, and support each other.” With many options for free access and paid membership, you can connect with a network of people struggling with similar issues and receive advice and guidance.
Based on principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness meditation, Sanvello provides a range of mental health tools and advertising saving its users money on in-person mental health services. With individualized coping techniques and progress assessment tools, Sanvello helps individuals struggling with mental health to practice self-care, and also access a network of coaches and therapists.
Take a look at this breakdown of 25 mental health apps, their purpose and costs, and how users have ranked them over time. The Center for Disease Control also created a specific page for Stress and Coping during coronavirus, you can find their extensive resources here.
Telehealth Gaining Traction
Steadily gaining more recognition in recent years, Telehealth, or the practice of consulting with a doctor or therapist online or over a video call, shows promise in increasing access to mental health services. Many TeleHealth programs reduce upfront costs, and can be more convenient and comfortable for patients seeking help, while also helping doctors see more patients.
In 2018, The University of Michigan’s Behavioral Health Workforce Research Centered studied the utilization, opportunities, and challenges facing implementation of Telehealth for mental health services. Over 105 weeks, a controlled study of 100 participants found that “a comprehensive online depression care management program resulted in lowered depression, better overall mental health, increased satisfaction with mental health care and coping skills, and increased confidence in handling depression.” Along with other findings in this study, they concluded that Telehealth has major potential to sweep mental health care off its feet and into a new era.
Particularly during the coronavirus crisis, some States like Washington and Indiana are altering their healthcare reimbursement and prescription access policies to include options for Telehealth services and e-prescribing for physicians. This shift towards utilizing mental health tech and Telehealth is also happening at the federal level. We predict seeing medical visits and services that are able to happen via Telehealth becoming more normalized.
Noteworthy Companies Providing Mental Health Resources
Based in Colorado, SonderMind’s mission is to redesign behavioral healthcare by helping individuals gain access to mental health care services in a more direct way. Often, it can be challenging for patients and providers to navigate insurance and billing needs, so Sondermind created a service platform that enables consistent access to care and streamlined communication between therapist and patient.
On April 6th, the company completed a new round of Series B financing to the tune of $27 million. CEO and co-founder on Sondermind Mark Frank noted, “this financing provides the fuel to support our growth objectives and advance our mission to make behavioral health more accessible, approachable and utilized by building a modern marketplace that holds great appeal to both clinician and patient.”
Livongo has a platform that offers a range of monitoring and coaching programs all revolving around improving health. Empowering people with chronic conditions, Livongo provides resources to those living with diabetes, hypertension, weight management, diabetes prevention, and behavioral health, including mental health services.
As of Thursday, May 7th, shares of Livongo Health were up 11.8%, following substantial growth in the first quarter. Livongo’s programs are more useful and attractive than ever with the closures and hesitation around going to see a doctor in person. Experts predict this trend of investing in healthcare stock will continue to expand throughout 2020.
MyStrength, another Colorado company founded in 2011, pioneered a system for new mental health online tools that has grown exponentially. Their platform “empowers individuals with personalized pathways incorporating multiple programs to help manage and overcome challenges” through sophisticated machine learning algorithms.
Users can find interactive programs, in-the-moment coping tools, community support, and inspirational resources. MyStrength has also expanded it’s reach and partners with major healthcare providers like Anthem and Atrium Health to bring its services to employees and patients alike.
Mental health tech has been on the rise for some time now, but it is more relevant than ever. Our society is elevating the value of self-care and mental health services, and will continue to find ways to adapt the convenience and modernization of health care through technology.
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
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