Demand for behavioral health services has skyrocketed in recent years, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, venture capital is pouring into mental health apps and other startups.
According to Forbes, about 42 percent of U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in December 2020. By that time, venture investors had provided a record $1.5 billion for mental health-related startups. This level of funding has persisted through 2021; startups received $795 million in the first quarter of the year.
Behavioral Health Funding Recipients
Despite federal laws requiring insurance parity for mental health, many clients struggle with a lack of coverage for behavioral health services. Burlingame, Calif.-based Lyra Health aims to provide real mental health benefits to large employers. The company recently raised $200 million at a $4.6 billion valuation, led by investment firm Coatue Management.
Besides a network of virtual or in-person providers, Lyra customers also have access to a virtual platform that supports mental health with cognitive behavioral therapy and other methods. The company’s network includes more than 90,000 providers in 180 countries.
Pediatric behavioral health startup Brightline, launched in California in 2020, recently raised $72 million in a Series B funding round. The company offers a behavioral health platform that offers virtual therapy, medication support, and other digital resources for children, teenagers, and caregivers. The company has expanded into Massachusetts and plans to reach nationwide expansion by the end of 2021.
Digital health company Ksana Health has raised $2 million in seed funding. The company also accepted an invitation to join the Anthem Digital Incubator to pilot a new digital health solution known as Vira. This solution aims to change the way behavioral health is monitored and studied by converting behavioral patterns collected by smartphones into real-world insights for providers.
The Spanish-language mental health app Yana recently announced that it has more than 5 million users and has raised $1.5 million in funding. The company had already raised $315,000 from previous investors, and about $10,000 through a crowdfunding campaign. CEO Andrea Campos originally created Yana as a personal project to help herself cope with depression. The app now offers access to mental health tools, including a chatbot, mood tracker, and meditation guidance.
Mental Health Technology Not a Cure-All
Will all this investment and new technology alone fix the nation’s behavioral healthcare system? Many experts have expressed doubts.
Without sufficient research into the effectiveness of mental health apps and other technology, consumers and providers may be unprepared to decide which options are the most suitable. Additional studies are needed to compare the different options currently on the market.
Virtual therapy sessions and mental-health apps may have an important role as a stopgap or supplementing a supplement to more traditional interventions. However, many researchers and clinicians believe they cannot replace in-person sessions.
“There’s a lot more to emotions and connecting with people, reading people and diagnosing people than just looking at their face,” says Jessi Gold, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, as quoted in Forbes.
Whether you are providing in-person or virtual behavioral health services, the software you use can make a big difference to your clients’ experiences. BestNotes EHR solutions are tailored specifically to the needs and standards of behavioral health and addiction treatment professionals to help your practice succeed. Contact us today to learn more.