Vitality expands partnership with Headspace to expand access to care

Steven Loeb · May 8, 2024 · Short URL:

Vitality employers and health plans will have the option to add Headspace products

There's a mental health crisis happening not just in America but around the world, and it's one that's being exacerbated by a lack of access, especially people who live in rural areas, as well as underserved populations.

That's why global health and wellbeing company Vitality, a company specializing in behavior change, has been partnered with mental health platform Headspace since 2018, with the goal of making it easier for employers and health plans to offer high-quality, affordable mental healthcare and resources to their members.

This week, the two companies announced the expansion of their partnership, in which Vitality employers and health plans will have the option to add one of three Headspace products into their Vitality offering.

Those include Headspace Core, which gives members access to the Headspace content library; Headspace Care, which provides members access to the right level of support for their unique needs, from mental health coaching to complex clinical support, like therapy or psychiatry; and Headspace EAP, an EAP replacement supporting clinical care, work-life services like legal and financial resources, and organizational services to augment and support teams.

"Vitality and Headspace are on a global mission to make access to physical and mental health support universal. Like Headspace, Vitality has a global reach through our affiliated parent company, Discovery, in South Africa. With this partnership, we unlock and extend mental wellness holistically and uniformly across the globe to those in need," Maia Surmava, CEO of Vitality US, told VatorNews. 

"With our rich data, combined assets and expertise, we can truly transform physical and mental healthcare into a positive and engaging structure to ultimately create happier, healthier and more resilient societies domestically and across the globe."

Founded in 2005, Vitality combines smart tech, data, AI, incentives, and behavioral science, to inspire healthy changes in individuals and organizations. The company has a dataset on risk prediction, how to engage people in their health, and the impact of health behavior change. The company's engagement engine leverages the principles of behavioral science incentives and intelligent nudges. 

Employers who use Vitality are provided with continuous tracking and feedback, along with client and member support. Currently, more than 35 million people in 40 markets globally engaging in the Vitality program.

Headspace, meanwhile, offers on-demand, self-guided activities through the Headspace app to build proactive skills and enhance everyday wellbeing; unlimited 24/7 access to a team of Headspace Health behavioral health coaches, which is delivered via text; clinical care delivered by video, phone or in person by licensed therapists; and a dedicated EAP account specialist who can ensure employees have access to support.

Currently, Headspace has over 100 million users in 190 countries, and its enterprise brands are distributed through over 4,000 enterprises, including Starbucks, Adobe, Delta Air Lines, Mattel, and Paramount, as well as through health plans, including Cigna.

Vitality partnered with Headspace because it wanted to enhance its mental wellbeing offering to its clients and members by taking members from self-help modules and content all the way through clinical services of therapy and psychiatry, explained Surmava.

"By identifying a need early on, we can offer curated interventions and personalized mental and physical health pathways to each member by leveraging inputs and our recommender engine," she said.

"By offering Headspace to our clients, members will have access to a wide range of comprehensive services. This will be available on Vitality’s new platform and will be promoted in the Vitality member experience to members who have been identified as needing extra help."

Vitality will promote Headspace within the member experience when people have indicated they may be struggling or need extra support. The Vitality program also rewards members for engaging in their mental health. In 2024 alone, the John Hancock Vitality program has seen nearly 1.8 million Headspace minutes recorded so far.

The ultimate goal of this partnership is to improve health and by collaborating, Vitality believes it can provide even more members access to resources to improve their overall wellbeing.

"In the future, we see a continuous increase in sophistication as integrations deepen and data sources expand within the Headspace experience for a Vitality member," said Surmava.

"We also see favorable growth and scale opportunities by including the Headspace offerings as part of our Condition Management ecosystem along with our Care Connector platform, enabling our integrated coaches the ability to prescribe Headspace and help proactively support members along their wellbeing journey."

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