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Nearly one in five adults in the US is currently living with some form of mental illness, and there are numerous barriers that prevent people from accessing care, including the fact that 80 percent of the population can't afford care without having insurance.
SonderMind, a telehealth platform focused on providing access to behavioral health specialists, is trying to change all that. The company is "breaking the status quo by democratizing mental healthcare," Mark Frank, co-founder and chief executive officer of SonderMind, told VatorNews.
"We offer support for our therapists to focus on clinical care, while we handle the rest; we provide consumers in need of mental health care with high-quality therapists and digital connectivity, all while being able to use their in-network insurance benefits," he said.
"Better mental health tends to lead to better health outcomes overall."
On Monday, the company announced that it raised a $27 million Series B round of funding from General Catalyst, along with new investor F-Prime Capital and participation from existing investors Kickstart Seed Fund, Diōko Ventures and Jonathan Bush. The company had previously raised $6 million prior to its Series B, including a seed round led by Kickstart.
Along with the new funding, it was also revealed that Eric Roza, former CEO of Datalogix and current Executive in Residence at General Catalyst, and Kent Thiry, former CEO of DaVita and current Executive Chairman, are both joining the board of directors at SonderMind.
"Kent Thiry brings decades of experience in healthcare and in building and growing healthcare systems. Eric Roza brings a deep knowledge of applying data to innovation and passion for improving health and happiness," said Frank.
"As both Kent and Eric are former CEOs themselves, they bring applicable advice and guidance on managing a high-growth company into its next phase."
The SonderMind platform matches clients and therapists based on criteria such as specialty, availability, location, treatment approaches and insurance. The company has over 500 licensed therapists and tens of thousands of clients, who it typically matches in one or two days. Once that happens, it usually takes another day or two for the therapist to reach out to schedule an appointment. That means, in total, a patient will be matched and scheduled in less than a week.
At the first appointment, the mental health clinician will ask the patient questions about their current situation, including asking about their mood, thoughts, and behavior. The clinician will also usually ask to speak to someone close to them, such as family or friends, to ask for their thoughts about how the patient is, and what changes they may have noticed.
"Our current typical client is between 25 and 44 and already at least somewhat familiar with mental healthcare, but has struggled to access it. As we continue to help destigmatize mental illness, that client profile will continue to evolve and grow," Frank explained.
After that initial assessment, the clinician will then make a recommendation about what treatment might be most helpful, depending on the type of mental health issues the patient is experiencing and their severity.
The company will use the new funding to expand geographically; it currently operates in three states, Colorado, Texas and Arizona, and it's now looking at expanding into other states in the midwest and west. In addition, the funding will also go toward developing more enterprise partnerships with payers, employers and health systems, as well as to build out its technology platform.
"We will continue to build our suite of products, including our integrated telehealth solution, clinical assessment tools and self-care functionality. That also means improving and increasing the efficacy of care for SonderMind clients," said Frank. "We'll also be looking at client platform expansion to offer more ways to improve mental wellness, via channel partnerships and enterprise relationships."
The ultimate goal with SonderMind, he said, is to redesign behavioral health "to become more accessible, approachable and utilized."
"Success is a continuation of our mission to find new ways to provide support to therapists and access to consumers."
(Image source: sondermind.com)
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