Article | April 19, 2021

The Rise of Mental Health Care and Innovation

Caroline Scott

Particularly in the past year, mental health and well-being have been top of mind for people around the world as we live through the pandemic. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report stated that 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use in June 2020.

At the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, we recognize the importance of mental health and how technologies in this space can encourage further conversations. Through initiatives such as creating working groups, engaging members and highlighting innovations, we hope to inspire growth in mental health.

The Rise of Mental Health Awareness and Innovation

Health care providers are aware that there are negative long-term consequences for mental health due to COVID-19, and mental health and well-being tools have proven not only effective but also necessary.

A number of CTA members are dedicated to providing reliable mental health resources:

  • Anthem: Health insurance provider Anthem is helping patients better understand and care for their mental and behavioral well-being.
  • BeHaVR: Virtual technology platform BehaVR leverages virtual reality to teach users stress resilience and help them actively cope with emotions.
  • CVS Health: Here 4 U program is part of CVS Health’s Time For Care initiative to provide mental health resources and education to young adults and other groups in need in the wake of the pandemic.
  • Cerebral: Cerebral is a membership service that offers clients telehealth visits with a provider and monthly chats with a care counselor.
  • Doctor On Demand: Total Virtual Care allows patients to have 24/7 access to doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and other medical experts.
  • Ginger: Ginger is reinventing mental health care by coupling data science and virtual delivery to provide immediate, personal support for anyone.

As time moves forward, so do new innovations in mental health and well-being. Teletherapy, mobile/application-based solutions and virtual reality have opened doors for patients and providers and are delivering accessible and affordable mental health services.   

Fighting Stigmas and Making Care Accessible

Even though communities and brands have spoken out about the importance of mental health care, there is still a stigma about mental illness.

COVID-19 opened the doors for the digital health industry to focus on mental health and encouraged more conversations about this important topic. The innovations that were created and the increase of awareness are significant steps in both helping those with mental illnesses feel more comfortable in pursuing treatment and fighting stigmas.

Access to care opportunities such as telehealth, mental health applications and messaging platforms are critical stepping stones for individuals for whom traditional mental health services are not available.

Additional Opportunities for Growth

The evolution of digital health solutions for mental health has been a catalyst for further conversations, highlighting opportunities for the development of guidelines and tools for the monitoring, treatment and diagnosis of mental health and wellness.

To hear more about this topic and innovations for mental health, join us at the Technology & Standards Spring Forum on May 3-6, 2021. On May 4, see the panel “Mental Health and the Virtual Care Evolution” with speakers from Anthem, Doctor On Demand and BeHaVR. 

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