Hims & Hers Health (NYSE: HIMS) — a direct-to-consumer telemedicine company — is launching an individual, video-based therapy offering. The new service will complement the platform’s existing mental health portfolio, which includes online psychiatric services, free anonymous support group sessions and a 24/7 phone-based crisis line.
The addition fits into the company’s goal to make mental health services more convenient and affordable nationwide, according to Julian Cohen, senior vice president of behavioral health at Hims & Hers.
“While certainly providing medication is a piece of that, talk therapy is every bit just as important,” Cohen told Behavioral Health Business. “It’s a crucial piece of the continuum of care that we ultimately want to build out over time.”
Headquartered in San Francisco, Hims & Hers got its start in 2017, when it launched as a virtual men’s wellness brand called Hims. At first, it focused on providing access to treatment for stigmatized gender-specific conditions such as hair loss and erectile dysfunction. Since then, however, the company has also added a women’s health arm, expanded the list of conditions it can treat and gone public.
Given the company’s recent growth and historic focus on traditionally taboo issues, building out a behavioral health continuum seemed like a natural next step, Cohen said.
“While [mental health] is certainly becoming more mainstream, it still falls into that category of a stigma-based service … that people don’t necessarily understand, so they may not know what they need or how best to get that service,” he said. “So this is a logical extension for us.”
Hims & Hers has been working on adding the individualized therapy offering for about 10 months now. In fact, Cohen shared his ambitions of doing so in a conversation with BHB late last year.
Currently, the one-on-one therapy service is available in 31 states, with the goal being to expand the new offering into all 50 by the end of the year. At $99 per 50-minute session, the offering is somewhat different from the other virtual therapy options on the market today, many of which are subscription-based. Plus, Hims & Hers doesn’t offer text-based therapy; instead, all its therapy sessions are conducted via video.
“We think that’s important because the reality of mental health services is that everybody is a little unique,” Cohen said. “For some people, once a week may be great for them. Some people need it twice a week. Some people will move to once a month or once a quarter or twice a month. This gives the patient the flexibility to be able to have input into how they get their services … and to manage the price-point. ”
Previously, in the behavioral health realm, Hims & Hers only had a 24/7 crisis line, psychiatry services and free group support sessions led by mental health professionals.
The new service fills the gap in those offering, falling somewhere between psychiatric care — which includes diagnosing patients and prescribing them medication — and group support — which is education-based and geared more toward lower-acuity patients.
Meanwhile, one-on-one therapy is more personalized and designed to help patients address acute need areas and adopt an ongoing mental wellness routine.
In addition to the new therapy offering, Hims & Hers is also evolving and expanding its anonymous groups sessions and the content that goes with it, Cohen said. Plus, he added that those changes are just the beginning of the work the company plans to do in the behavioral health space.
“It is going to be a continual [focus] piece for us,” he said. “We fully expect over the next couple of years we will continue to expand that continuum. ”