While May’s Mental Health Awareness Month has been recognized since 1949, many still face challenges accessing resources to improve mental health. In the United States, an estimated 17.3 million adults have had at least one major depressive episode and 31.1% of adults will experience anxious episodes at least once in their lifetimes.
Mental health resources are needed more than ever, and innovation is growing in this area to help increase access to support for all.
Mental Health by Demographic
According to Boston-based Fenway Health, one-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14, with three-quarters by the age of 24. Millions of adults struggle with mental illness but determinants such as income, cultural differences, and language barriers create obstacles in ensuring delivery of mental healthcare. The National Alliance on Mental Illnesses (NAMI) have found, for instance, that members of the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC community experience significantly higher rates of mental illness in comparison to their heterosexual, cisgender, or white counterparts but still have the lowest rates of care.
How the MassChallenge HealthTech Community is Tackling these Issues
At MassChallenge HealthTech, we are proud to support game-changing startups that are improving accessibility to mental health resources and providing consumers with inclusive and culturally competent services. Here are some of those companies.
Butterflly Health | MCHT 2021
Butterflly Health is a telehealth company providing inclusive and culturally competent behavioral health services to teens and adults. Recently featured in our Health Equity event series with Massachusetts Health Poliicy Commission, Butterflly Health’s technology is modeled after a social media app that provides peer support in destigmatizing mental healthcare. With tools like peer support groups, one-on-one sessions with behavioral health professionals, and mood check-ins, users can access an array of mental health resources with a simple tap on their phones.
HUED | MCHT 2021
HUED states that African-American and Latino communities face poorer health outcomes in comparison to White counterparts by 30-40%. From lack of health insurance and affordability, to cultural incompetency, there are many obstacles to health equity. What’s more, being a patient of a non-culturally competent doctor can lead to misdiagnoses and higher mortality rates. To address this problem, HUED has created a search engine platform connecting Black and Brown patients to doctors of color specializing in multiple medical fields including psychology.
Caregather | MCHT 2021
Caregather not only focuses on bettering patients’ mental health, but also on improving the overall experiences of those facing health challenges. Caregather transforms the road to health recovery by creating an accessible social network platform for patients to connect with family, friends, and other patients. This online community improves recovery in providing patients with what they really need no matter the distance: coordinated rides to the doctor’s, personalized care packages, heart-warming meals, and most importantly, support of loved ones.
Litesprite | MCHT 2021
Recognized by the U.S. Surgeon General, Litesprite has innovated patient-provider relationships with an interactive platform created to help track and manage conditions such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder. By using evidence-based methods and meditation, their platform’s games aim to better patients’ mental health when dealing with the pain and difficulties of recovery.
UpLift | MCHT 2021
UpLift has created an accessible app to improve the lives of those experiencing depression. Lack of affordability is a big obstacle in accessing therapeutic services, but UpLift wants their consumers to be able to manage depression regardless of financial background. By using customizable mental health exercises and a mood journal, this app provides 45-minute sessions for 3 months at a more affordable cost.
Be in Touch
There has always been a need for mental health resources, but access has been limited for the people who need them the most. We are proud of these companies for redefining the healthcare experience to be more accessible and equitable. To get in touch with any of these companies and help them grow, please reach out at [email protected].
Are you struggling with mental health resources? Contact these phone numbers or resources:
- National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- NAMI Help Line: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
- To find your nearest mental health treatment center:
- SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline: 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)