Your Smartphone, Your Therapist?

All over the world, mental health is a growing challenge, but is still treated as a second-class condition by most health-care systems.

In the United States, about 60 million people are affected by mental-health issues every year, and about 90% of them suffer from anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are all around us and take many different forms — including depression triggered by life events like divorce or moving to a new city, postpartum depression, which affects more than 30% of new mothers, PTSD for military veterans, or co-morbid depression prevalent with a majority of health disease and diabetes patients.

Despite being widespread, there is still a stigma around mental health. Talking about depression remains a challenge. The onus is on us — as leaders of government and industry, we need to create support structures in our organizations to recognize and support mental health.

Sixty percent of patients receive no treatment at all

Nonetheless, our health-care systems are not ready for this challenge. We cannot train enough psychiatrists or hire enough therapists to ensure access to high-quality care without technology playing an important role. For example, in the U.S., approximately 60% of those with mental-health illness received no mental-health services in the last year, and wait times to see a psychiatrist average between two months (cities) and eight months (rural counties).

Inadequate care results in people showing up to the Emergency Room — mood disorders such as depression are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18 to 44. Doctors give most of the care in anxiety and depression, but typically end up relying on medication due to lack of other options.

We believe the combination of intelligent sensing, mobile phones and high-quality clinical care will help elevate mental health to a first-class —> Read More