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These Startups Are Disrupting Mental Health With AI

These Startups Are Disrupting Mental Health With AI

  • The integration of AI and mental health can lead to path-breaking disruptions

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in March 2020, it caused a significant impact on our lifestyle. Fear, worry and uncertainty made their way creeping into our lives, causing many to experience a sense of depression and anxiety. Adjusting to working from home and lacking physical contact with family and friends only worsened the situation. This led to a sharp rise in different types of mental health problems.

Due to the several lockdowns imposed in the country, people could not access mental healthcare professionals in distress. Technology stepped in as a saviour here, with people using mental healthcare apps to seek comfort in such troubled times.

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The Alan Turing Institute said in a research that predicting mental health early and precisely has major implications for clinical management and practice, and ultimately life expectancy. In a model, it used machine learning to “predict and classify disease risk at an individual level (for dementia, anxiety, depression, and others) and to determine the interactive factors that influence mental health across people’s lifespans (Ex: genetics, cognition, demographics).”

 With this growth in tech, mental health apps, too, have stepped up. They are using cutting edge AI applications to cater to the needs of their customers.

Here, we list down the top AI-based mental health care apps: 

Wysa (Touchkin)

Started in: 2015

Founders: Jo Aggarwal, Ramakant Vempati

Wysa takes the help of AI-based emotionally intelligent bots and uses evidence-based cognitive behavioural techniques and dialectical behaviour therapy to improve mental resilience. However, it does not provide a diagnosis or cure for mental disorders. The user can remain anonymous while accessing Wysa. The company received funding of $5.5 million in its Series A round led by Boston-based investor W Health Ventures. It is backed by the Google Assistant Investment Program, pi Ventures and Kae Capital.

Ginger

Started in: 2011

Founders: Anmol Madan and Karan Singh

Founded at the MIT Media Lab, Ginger integrates human care with data science and augmented intelligence. Its on-demand platform for mental-health care solutions via a smartphone makes use of health coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists who collaborate to provide personalised attention to the user.

Till now, the company has pumped in $220.7 million in funding over 11 rounds, with the latest funding received in March this year. Last year, it acquired another digital mental-wellness company LiveBetter’s technology assets. 

Quartet Health

Started in: 2014

Founders: Arun Gupta

Its AI-enabled system teams up partners with health plans and systems to make a personalised plan for users through virtual collaboration. AI and machine learning capabilities are used to match users with the right mental health resources. It provides both online and offline facilities with in-person sessions with therapists or via telecare. To date, the company has raised a total of $159.5 million in funding over five rounds. Last year, it teamed up with SilverCloud Health to offer clinically validated digital mental health support to its patients. Users will be able to use SilverCloud’s computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) tools to access digital mental health services through smartphones and computers.

Happify

Started in: 2012

Founders: Tomer Ben-Kiki, Andy Parsons, Ofer Leidner

It has built an AI coach named Anna that models real-world interactions with a therapist. Anna breaks down a user’s complex mental health path into a goal-oriented experience. Presently, it is available in 10 languages, and the company claims that it supports more than 10 chronic conditions affecting 20 million lives. Happify has raised a total of $118.7 million till now in funding over nine rounds. ION Crossover Partners and Omega Capital Partners are some of its recent backers.

Woebot

Started in: 2017

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Founders: Alison Darcy

Woebot provides a talk therapy chatbot that monitors the user’s mood with the help of NLP and psychological skills, mainly in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This bot asks the user how things are going in their life quickly and then stores the text and responses received. These conversations are studied, and slowly with time; the bot asks more specific questions based on past conversations. Just recently, the company closed a $90 million funding round that totalled its funding to $114 million.

Spring Health

Started in: 2016

Founders: Adam Chekroud, April Koh, Abhishek Chandra

The company provides solutions for employee mental well-being by deploying proprietary assessment and machine-learning technology. It tries to understand a person’s condition in totality and study those results to match the right care plan for them. The user has access to a Care Navigator to help guide them through their options, helping them in scheduling appointments with therapists. Just recently, Spring Health concluded a $190 million Series D funding.

Replika

Started in: 2017

Founders: Eugenia Kuyda

It comes with the concept of personalised AI through which one can express themselves. With the help of the AI companion, the user can express his feelings, talk about what is going on in his mind, build his personality and share other intimate details. Some users have described Replika as a non-judgmental support system. It acts more like a confidant to which a user can confide his doubts, ambitions, feelings, and dreams, and the AI companion provides a listening ear to the user’s thought process.

AI in mental health is a booming field but comes with its own limitations. If one is going through something severe, apps may not be the solution here. The right track then, would be to consult a professional and seek help immediately.

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