Business Booms for Digital Behavioral Health Companies Amid COVID-19

There’s no doubt about it: The coronavirus is boosting the demand for behavioral health care. That’s especially true for services that can be delivered virtually, due to how easily COVID-19 can be spread.  

While traditional providers have been scrambling to move to remote models and keep up with ever-changing telehealth regulations, digital behavioral health providers were already well positioned to accommodate patients virtually. 

As a result, those companies have seen business boom as the coronavirus has worsened — and they have the data to prove it.

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Behavioral Health Business sought out to see just how much additional demand COVID-19 has created for digital behavioral health companies’ services. The answer? A lot.

Every company BHB spoke to saw an increase in requests for services, with one company even noting a 100% increase in inbound requests from its corporate employee benefits partners.

Here’s how some of the country’s leading digital behavioral health companies shape up.

Headspace: Member Requests Double, Company Requests Increase 100%

Between Friday, March 13, when President Donald Trump declared a national emergency because of the virus, and the following Monday, March 16, Headspace saw double the average amount of inbound requests from members, Chief Science Officer Megan Jones Bell told BHB in an email. 

Santa Monica, California-based Headspace is a direct-to-consumer provider of virtual meditation and mental fitness resources, which it delivers through an app. It also has a B2B offering for employers called Headspace for Work — an arm of the business that’s also in high demand in light of the crisis.

“[During that same period,] we’ve seen more than a 100% increase in inbound requests from Headspace for Work companies seeking support for their employees’ mental health,” Bell said.

Ginger: 16% Increase in Overall Sessions, 25% Increase in Higher-Level Care  

San Francisco-based Ginger — a virtual behavioral health care system that delivers coaching, therapy and psychiatry services to patients via text and video — started seeing an up-tick in business a few weeks ago.

The startup has seen an increase of about 16% in total sessions delivered, according to internal metrics shared with BHB. Additionally, therapy and psychiatry sessions are up 25% compared to average.

“That increase has stayed relatively steady,” CEO Russell Glass told BHB. “Our therapy and psychiatry visits are at record levels. … We’re projecting continued significant growth here, but I don’t know if it’ll be as rapid.”

Lyra Health: Request for Video Sessions Double, Bookings Speeding Up  

In the past week, Lyra Health has seen a drastic increase in requests for video sessions.

Burlingame, California-based Lyra provides employee mental health benefits by connecting members with behavioral health provider partners in its network. Members can be seen virtually or in person.

In the past week, clients’ preference for video sessions has nearly doubled, a spokesperson told BHB.

“Lyra Health providers, specifically in California, have been getting booked really fast with clients,” Janie Jun, associate director of quality and provider strategy at Lyra, told BHB in an email. “Many of them want to speak about their anxiety and stress related to the coronavirus.” 

California has been one of the states hit worst by COVID-19, with Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordering residents to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. As of March 19, the state had 1,006 positive cases and 19 deaths.

Talkspace: User Volume Up 25% Month-Over-Month, 65% Year-Over-Year

Month-over-month and year-over-year, Talkspace has seen a spike in the number of people seeking therapy. That applies to both for new and returning patients. 

NYC-based Talkspace is an online and mobile mental health company that connects users with licensed therapists. 

Talkspace’s user volume is up about 25% since Feb. 17 and about 65% year-over-year, a spokesperson told BHB in an email. The company has also seen a 150% increase in B2B inquiries. 

Additionally, from March 5 to March 12, use of coronavirus-related terms grew about 10 times.

Snapchat: Launch of Mental Health Tool Expedited

While the social app Snapchat doesn’t provide mental health services, it’s heading that direction — and doing so quicker that it had previously planned.

COVID-19 has prompted the company to move up the roll out of its new mental health tool, Here For You, Snapchat announced Friday. 

Originally, the feature — which the company announced back in February — was set to launch in April. However, Snapchat now plans to add the tool within the next few days to help with anxiety and stress over the pandemic. 

The goal is to provide users with safety resources from mental health experts when users search certain topics, such as anxiety and depression.

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