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The mental health crisis was already huge even before the current coronavirus outbreak, affecting around 450 millions; with what's been happening in the last few weeks, the need for these services is becoming critical.
Luckily, there are a slew of different virtual and telehealth companies focused specifically on this space, allowing people to access mental health professionals without needing to leave their house. One such service is SilverCloud Health, a digital mental health platform that "expands access to, and aims to reduce the stigma around, mental health," CEO Ken Cahill told me.
"The SilverCloud platform enables easier, earlier access to clinically validated mental health care that shows results equivalent to face-to-face care for the 1 in 5 people with a diagnosable mental health condition."
The company, which treats a range of clinical mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress, and depression, announced a $16 million Series B funding round on Wednesday, led by MemorialCare Innovation Fund. LRVHealth, OSF Ventures and UnityPoint Health Ventures and existing investors Act Venture Capital and B Capital Group also participated, bringing the company’s total funding to more than $30 million.
Founded in 2012, SilverCloud works with health systems, payers, employers, and higher education, rather than offering itself as a direct-to-consumer app, where anyone can download it. The platform is used by more than 300 organizations around the world: its customers include four of its investors, MemorialCare, UnityPoint Health Ventures, OSF Ventures and LRVHealth, as well as over 70 percent of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. The platform has been used by more than 350,000 users, is growing by over 15,000 users per month.
When a patient gets access to SilverCloud, the program starts with a question-based assessment of the patient that gathers all necessary information to formulate key metrics, such as each patient’s PHQ score, which "helps to ensure each patients’ needs are fully understood," said Cahill.
Once the assessment is done, the platform tailors the intervention to that specific patient; that can mean giving meditation tips or a full, therapist-guided program. It also ensures the ongoing monitoring of their progress as they advance through their individual program, whcih for some patients will mean they are assigned a coach to help monitor their progress and coordinate their care.
"It is really a mental health system on a platform. On the provider side, the technology is also highly configurable and able to work with specific clinical workflows to guarantee ease of access and reporting on their entire patient population, as well as the triaging of care from mild to severe mental health states," Cahill told me.
The company has helped its users see up to 91 percent reduction in care delivery costs when compared to face-to-face therapy, as well as 6 to 10x increase in patient throughput. Up to 65 percent of SilverCloud patients, members and employees have also shown significant decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms.
Along with the funding SilverCloud also announced that it is developing a module specifically around COVID-19, which includes mental health programs and tools to help deal with challenging times, grief and loss, and sleep issues, among others. The company is also creating a program to deal with life after COVID-19 to help people with the stress and reintegration back to normal life again. It is also providing its clients expanded access to its platform for free.
The new funding round that SilverCloud will be used, in part, to expand SilverCloud's program offerings in North America, which means "expanding with new customers nationally, building our sales and support organization to back our expansion, as well as further enhancing our programs to ensure we are always innovating," Cahill explained.
"We are also going to increase our clinical trials to ensure that we continue with our evidence-based and clinically-validated innovation and leadership position in this space."
The company, which already has a market presence in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany, will the funding to not only go deeper into those markets, "while also exploring opportunities in other international markets eager to implement our platform."
SilverCloud is taking advantage of a shift toward more adoption of digital mental health platforms, Cahill said, something that he is encouraged to see.
"More and more we are seeing that digital is becoming the new normal instead of a last resort, especially when the industry realizes that it is possible to deliver the same standard of care digitally as it is through more traditional forms of care," he told me.
"Mental health is especially primed for this sea change as it has high barriers to delivery due to stigma, access to quality care and cost, making it an area really poised for improvement and innovation. The SilverCloud platform is a very natural evolution for mental healthcare, as our customers look to drive increased access to evidence-based mental healthcare delivered remotely."
(Image source: silvercloudhealth.com)
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