Helping millions back to good mental health.
It’s well documented that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a mounting mental health crisis. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 40% of adults said their mental health was negatively impacted by the pandemic. By some estimates, 60% of the people who need mental health therapy do not receive it — and that’s despite the explosion of mental health care strategies and solutions. People who do have access to care are often seen by their primary care physicians (PCPS) who lack expertise in mental health, and have a broad set of responsibilities. As a result, mental health care from a PCP often fails to address the core issues behind mental health concerns. Frequently, patients are prescribed drugs instead — in fact, 82% of people diagnosed with mental health struggles receive medications which are high risk and low efficacy. To solve the mental health care crisis, we must deliver scalable and evidence-based programs that address the underlying issue that drives poor mental health. Big Health’s solutions — Sleepio for poor sleep and Daylight for worry and anxiety — do just that. The products use evidence-based cognitive behavioral medicine, to deliver the best aspects of traditional therapy — normally reliant on a psychologist or psychiatrist — digitally and scalably. This is something that not even virtual care can achieve, because it relies on the availability of human providers. In addition, Big Health’s digital approach leaps over barriers traditionally faced by marginalized communities; digital therapeutics are inexpensive, require zero travel, are a low time commitment, and are stigma-free.
Big Health’s products, Sleepio and Daylight, are digital therapeutics that address two of the most common mental health concerns: poor sleep, and worry and anxiety. The programs are digital in that users access them entirely on their computers or mobile phones. Each program is a software application developed in conjunction with leading clinical experts, based on decades of proven therapeutic techniques. Sleepio and Daylight use rich animation, storytelling, and human engagement to incorporate cognitive behavioral techniques into bite-size sessions. In these sessions, users learn about the root causes of their poor sleep or worry and anxiety, and are guided through ways to change their patterns, thoughts, and feelings. The result is that Sleepio and Daylight users achieve high rates of recovery from the poor sleep or worry and anxiety that has been plaguing them — even if they’ve been suffering for years. The sessions in Sleepio and Daylight which deliver the cognitive behavioral techniques are constantly being tested in gold-standard clinical trials to ensure efficacy. Users keep coming back to Sleepio and Daylight not only because the programs work, but because they’re engaging, hopeful, and even entertaining. Big Health works with world-class animators and storytellers from companies like Pixar and Radiolab to connect with users on a deep emotional level and create better clinical outcomes. Big Health has validated its approach through industry leading clinical evidence. Today, Big Health has over 32 clinical evidence studies and 13 randomized controlled trials.
Today, about 60% of people who seek mental health care do not receive it. Our current supply of mental health professionals cannot meet the growing demand for mental health services. The US has 30 licensed psychologists per 100,000 people. Even when you take improved efficiencies through virtual care into account, we still fall short of filling this gap. Since we cannot meet demand for mental health care through our current approach, the majority of people with mental health conditions are left with one option to address mental health problems — drugs. Over three-quarters of patients with mental health problems receive medication. Although medications are effective for some, they may not be suitable for all. The majority of people using the most common mental health medications experience moderately severe side effects, and fewer than half benefit sufficiently. Making a fundamental shift to address the mental health crisis takes much more than just producing more drugs, and still hasn’t been solved by shifting therapy online. Digital therapeutics can help to close the gap by offering safe and effective non-drug alternatives for mental health. Consider the standard drug development model: A pharmaceutical company discovers a molecule, tests it, patents it, and eventually manufactures the molecule at a very low per-unit cost. Switch “molecule” with “algorithm” and the dynamics should fundamentally work the same. With algorithmic software, it’s possible to create near infinite copies without any reduction in quality, replicating the best benefits of pharmaceuticals: scalability, consistency, and affordability, with a much lower risk profile.
Sleepio and Daylight are proven to work: we have an industry-leading body of clinical evidence with 32 clinical evidence studies, 13 published, gold-standard randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and have been included in numerous clinical guidelines (American College of Physicians, and NICE in the UK) as a recommended first-line intervention. Across RCTs for both Sleepio and Daylight we have seen more than a 70% clinical recovery rate for those suffering from poor sleep and worry and anxiety, respectively. Plus, our products have been tested across a diverse range of populations and have been proven safe and effective in trials spanning over 13,000 participants. Between-group effect size scores for both Sleepio and Daylight are large and clinically significant for insomnia (d=1.51; Espie et al., 2012) and anxiety (d=1.08; Carl et al., 2020). We also released the results of an independent health economic evaluation that demonstrated 28% lower total annualized health care costs for Sleepio users, as compared to a control group in a Fortune 500 employee population. In this study, people who used Sleepio had $1,677 lower per-employee total annualized healthcare costs vs. the control group. The study included 1,000 participants, and measured inpatient medical costs, days in acute admission, prescription (Rx) costs, and emergency room visits.
Big Health is addressing a society-wide mental health crisis with a proven and scalable approach. We’re re-framing the current approach to mental health care by addressing the entire population, instead of perpetuating the historical dismissal and exclusion of marginalized populations.