For years, the U.S. has struggled with a shortage of behavioral health professionals.
In recent months, the coronavirus has only exacerbated the problem further: Depression and anxiety rates have risen, largely due to the isolation, death and economic hardship the COVID-19 virus has caused.
To help those people and others receive care, behavioral health startup Quartet Health has partnered with SilverCloud Health. The Boston, Massachusetts-based digital mental health company will provide remote, computerized mental health care to the Quartet users who need it.
“The United States faces a significant shortage of providers, and clinically-validated digital mental health care options are an important way to help people get the care they need,” Quartet CEO David Wennberg said in a press release announcing the news. “Our national partnership with SilverCloud allows us to expand immediate access to proven mental health care that patients can use when, where and how they want to.”
New York City-based Quartet uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to match people with the right mental health resources at the right time. SilverCloud, which provides users with computerized cognitive behavioral therapy, is the latest addition to Quartet’s national network of care providers.
Instead of clinicians providing the care, SilverCloud’s services are self-guided and digital. They can be completed anywhere at any time via phone, smartwatch, tablet or computer.
The company offers customized content and programs to treat more than 10 conditions. Some examples include anxiety, depression, stress, grief, insomnia and other conditions.
Despite the fact that SilverCloud’s solutions are computerized, their effectiveness is “on-par with face-to-face therapy,” according to the press release. In fact, up to 85% of SilverCloud patients saw an improvement in their depression and anxiety symptoms, with 65% of patients showing clinically significant improvement.
On top of that, the digital offerings help minimize roadblocks to care such as travel and stigma. They also help address the nation’s growing mental health needs amid the clinician shortage.
Per an April survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45% of respondents said the coronavirus negatively impacted their mental health, up from 32% in March. Meanwhile, 65% of non-metropolitan U.S. counties don’t have a single psychiatrist, according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and nearly 50% lack a psychologist.
While this partnership is new, Quartet and SilverCloud first started working together back in April, when they launched Care for our Caregivers. Through the program, SilverCloud’s computerized cognitive behavioral therapy offerings are free for Quartet’s network of mental health and primary care providers amid the COVID-19 emergency.
Quartet’s network includes both in-person and virtual providers.
Since its founding in 2014, the company has raised more than $160.5 million in venture funding from investors such as Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC), Oak HC/FT and GV, which is owned by Google’s parent, Alphabet (Nasdaq:GOOGL).