The Mind problem
2020 gave us all a lesson on the importance of mental care. It may have been overlooked up until the Covid-19 pandemic, but during the lockdown was when things got serious.
In the United States alone, between 2017-2018, 19% of adults experienced a mental illness - that’s 1.5 million people growth over the previous year’s dataset. Over 60% of those people did not have any access to mental health treatment, even before lockdowns. What is more, many practices have closed or reduced their capacity in response to pandemic health concerns.
During 2019, we also learned that this trend has real economic implications for businesses. Since the start of the pandemic, over 42% of employees had declining mental health, resulting in decreased productivity and workplace absenteeism. The worsened mental health online cost the global economy $1 trillion per year, as estimated by the World Health Organization.
Many employers realized this negative trend early on and made the necessary steps in taking greater care for their people’s mental health. A meta-analysis shows that for every dollar companies spent on wellness programs, their healthcare costs decreased by about $3 and their absenteeism costs by over $2.50. Most of those employer-sponsored health offerings have moved to digital and virtual formats to achieve broader availability and ease of use.
Revolutionising mental health care
Digital mental health platforms are here to stay, and it’s not just because of “the new normal”. Digital solutions can bring lasting change on a larger scale and they provide help on demand from anywhere, without the long waits needed for in-person therapy. The fact that people have the possibility to access mental health support on their own time, lowers the threshold needed to start dealing with mental health challenges. As Hanne Horvath, founder and vice president of business development at HelloBetter, said in an interview with McKinsey, “From our experience, a lot of patients struggle to seek help for a long time because they try to solve their problems on their own. The magic of digital solutions is to give patients that opportunity, empower them and reach them early.”
Although telehealth might not be suitable for some physical healthcare needs, it’s proven to be effective for cognitive-behavioural therapy. Harvard Business Review mentions 452 studies of telepsychiatry that found high patient satisfaction with digtial mental health tools and quality that is equivalent to in-person care. Of course, it’s important to monitor the use of new digital tools to make sure they don’t limit or hinder real-life interactions. Technology’s primary purpose has always been to help us make our lives better, not overtake it. But we should nevertheless be open to the many possibilities digital technology can offer in improving our mental health.
To sum up
With hundreds of health applications being launched each day, it’s more vital than ever to approach innovation in digital healthcare the smart way. Over the last ten years, we’ve worked with clients all around the globe to create innovative products and we have developed a unique understanding of designing and developing digital healthcare products.
So if you provide mental health support or coaching services, but haven’t fully explored the digital opportunities ahead of you, we would love to hear from you! Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.