If there was ever a greater necessity for mental health to be high on the business agenda, it’s now. A human and societal issue that has always been around but – more often than not – overlooked, the pandemic has shone a blinding light on the need to put people’s mental health at the forefront of working and personal life. It was recently reported that monthly mental health referrals across the UK hit their highest point in two years.
But finding and accessing the right mental health services can seem like a never ending battle, with therapist support often judged by who’s available and not by who’s most aligned to an individual’s needs. And, with increasingly high demand joined by convoluted, outdated and time-consuming processes, there’s a significant demand for new systems to reimagine the process.
In this day and age, if you want to reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, you’ve got to be using tech. It seems disjointed that it’s easier to find a perfect dating match on a popular dating site than link up with the right therapist to help with mental health issues. But it’s a framework that actually bears similarities to how tech can unlock the perfect mental health support. Defining what makes a great client therapist match is of course a more complex and nuanced business – but technology holds the power to foster this change.
The platform that finds your therapist match
This process is already in action. Mental health technology company Paranimo (which translates from Latin to ‘match mind’) has partnered with software development and digital transformation pioneer Amdaris, to develop a platform that has enabled users to match with a personal therapist and access the right mental health support online via a “virtual therapy room”. The platform can understand an individual’s unique mental health challenges and needs: the service uses highly advanced search and comparison tools (and video) to help patients find the most appropriate therapist. At the heart of it all is the ability to empower people to take control of their mental health, rather than being reliant on external services in both the public and private sector.
So far, the technology has resulted in some very encouraging and impressive results. An initial pilot study with the general public resulted in 93% of therapy users finding a therapist who matched their needs, with an average reduction of 58% anxiety, 51% irritability, and 40% depression after therapy. It’s a clear indication that investing in advancing such technology will be paramount to changing the game for mental health support and, crucially, the wellbeing of its users.
Adopting a B2B model to scale
Trying to crack what makes the perfect user therapist match and to fully realise the potential of the technology requires the means of testing it on a wide scale. A pilot study is a great indicator of the product’s capability – but joining this with different models can provide a larger and more sustained impact.
Following a successful launch to the general public, the technology is now being offered to the charity sector and other SMEs. The move will empower charities to provide this tailored mental health support, however, whenever and wherever users choose. This B2B offering to support charities and SMEs alongside the pilot study aims to make a positive difference to mental health on a larger scale and provide new insights.
Where charities are typically time poor and need to prove the measurable impact of their services, the availability of a mental health delivery platform will aid such organisations with customer registration, schedule management, payment processing, and video and telephone therapy. This is in addition to easing the challenges associated with finding the right therapist for vulnerable individuals. Adopting a B2B funding model is a brilliant way to increase accessibility for people while simultaneously reducing the time and complexity required in seeking such support.
Technology came to the fore during the pandemic and its influence is only set to greaten. We’re living at a time when mental health issues require more attention and care but also at a time when seeking the right mental health is complicated and really inaccessible, leading to a lot of people feeling disempowered. For all its challenges, the chance to join the mission to empower people to take control of their mental health through tech is an enticing one, and one that can provide a new outlook to how it’s perceived.
From food and drinks to dates and nights out, people are constantly accessing what they want and need. However, why can’t this be the same for mental health? Technology has the remarkable ability to bring people together, and it can open up the avenues through which people can manage themselves better and take control of the support they need and desire. Technology should always be ‘tech for good’; mental health could be finding its new match.
Amdaris delivers innovative Software Development, Application Support Managed Services and Consultancy Services from their HQ in the UK and delivery centres in Eastern Europe, run by co-CEOs Andy Rogers and Vlad Nanu and backed by BGF.