Four trends accelerating mental health innovation in the COVID/ post-COVID era

The money behind mental health: How the pandemic increased innovation, investment in behavioral health care (Fierce Healthcare):

Earlier this month, Modern Health marked a milestone few companies ever reach: unicorn status.

With the help of its latest $74 million funding round, the startup, which serves as a mental health benefits platform for employers, topped a $1 billion valuation.

… And while Modern Health was already attracting plenty of interest before the pandemic, CEO Alyson Watson said her company is among those in the behavioral health space that have seen what can only be described as a seismic shift across the industry in the wake of COVID-19. In the first half of 2020 alone, digital behavioral health startups scored $588 million, roughly the annual funding for this segment in any previous year, Rock Health wrote in a report last year … That’s translating to some real changes in the industry, including an uptick in investment, that will be felt for years to come. Here’s a look at four of those changes.

  1. Stigma has decreased in a big way
  2. The industry is getting better about data
  3. Regulations have made it easier
  4. Employers are getting serious about it

“If there is anything we’ve seen out of this year, it’s really become that fourth pillar of benefits for every employer out there. Everyone has medical, dental and vision. Mental health has now really become that fourth pillar of benefits for all employers.” — Alyson Watson, CEO and founder of Modern Health

The announcement:

Modern Health raises another $74M to meet employers’ demand for mental health benefits (MobiHealth News):

San Francisco-based mental health and wellness platform Modern Health has kept its foot on the gas throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Today it announced a $74 million Series D funding round just a few months after a $51 million Series C closed in October and formally announced in December.

The new investments peg Modern Health’s lifetime funding to more than $170 million, the company said, and its valuation to $1.17 billion … Modern Health works with employer-customers to provide an app-based package of mental health benefits. Employees are first asked to complete a survey on their focus areas, concerns and current state of mind, and then are provided with a selection of digital programs that address their needs.

These offerings address issues such as stress, financial wellbeing, work performance, and relationship guidance, and can be augmented with remote coaching or with live group or one-on-one therapy.

News in Context:

  • Digital health start-ups raised a record $3.1 billion in Q1 2020; focus will likely evolve from providers to consumers and employers
  • The landscape of digital mental health apps: huge unmet needs, quality concerns, app stores asked to ensure transparency
  • Digital mental health start-up Koa Health raises €30M to accelerate growth in Europe and the US
  • Startup Big Health raises $39M to universalize access to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and poor sleep
  • CVS Health: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) apps may help you more than sleeping pills
  • The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) shares discussion paper to help empower 8 billion minds via the ethical adoption of digital mental health and neurotech
  • Three ways to protect your mental health during –and after– COVID-19

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Rethinking and Retooling Brain Health and Mental Health from SharpBrains

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