Leading the Way in Behavioral Health

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 4.30.09 PM.png

This week, I am moderating a panel with four highly innovative companies at NatCon18 — the annual conference of the National Council of Behavioral Health in Washington DC. I have the privilege of serving as an advisor to several efforts advancing innovative approaches in the mental and behavioral health fields, such as The Kennedy ForumBrain Futures, and SharpBrains.

In a future blog, I’ll be covering what’s happening in the behavioral and mental health care arena. Today, I’ll highlight four innovative companies on the panel. My panelists are just a sampling of the many great entrepreneurs who are tackling the challenge of improving access and engagement with our mental health system. They are trying to decrease the stigma of mental health and to create lower cost solutions that may reduce our high use of pharmaceutical interventions. In the end, we need a system that values mental health equally to how we value physical health.

Here are four great examples of innovative companies and leaders in the field, joining me on the panel.

Edovo: How do you scale Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into the US prison system? You buy a phone company. Edovo’s mission is to provide meaningful access to education, communication, and self-improvement tools that can unlock the potential of every person affected by incarceration. Every year, 12 million people in the US will see the inside of a jail or prison cell. Edovo bought a phone company so they could gain access to the system and provide SEL content on a communication device prisoners consistently use. Edovo’s secure digital technology is a platform that provides prison and jail facilities with a safer environment and unlimited access to self-improvement tools while behind bars. Brian Hill is the Founder and CEO. I’m sure he will talk about high levels of engagement by their users!

Happify Health is an engagement platform taking the science of positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral therapy and gamifying it. Their vision is to provide improved access to effective and appealing behavioral care. The company’s platform provides highly engaging, individualized, and evidence-based pathways to improved emotional health. Happify provides solutions for conditions using 60+ digital programs and tools designed specifically to motivate individuals to address the full range of their emotional needs. The app addresses general well-being to chronic health conditions, ranging from depression and anxiety to chronic pain and insomnia. I’m excited that Laurie Zaugg, COO of Happify Health and a very seasoned health care executive, will join our panel. She helps lead a team that works with clients ranging from large corporations, to insurance companies, to health care systems, as well as other large organizations.

Interaxon is the company that makes the Muse™ brain sensing headband. Interaxon sells a four channel EEG headband, which is sold online, at Amazon.com, in Best Buy Canada, and at other retailers around the world. A couple years ago, psychotherapists began contacting the company telling stories of how they were using the Muse™ to support their patients growth. The therapists were able to recommend the brain sensing headband to their clients not only as a way of helping them reduce their stress through meditation, but also as a way to track whether they were adhering to the recommendations of the therapist. As well, the Muse™ became a tool that would allow the psychotherapist to track the progress of their patients. Interaxon has developed the largest EEG brain database in the world and has been used in several research studies by leading institutions. Graeme Moffat, Interaxon’s Chief Science Officer, will add the voice of the science community to our discussion.

myStrength is a company that arose from a deep passion to help those challenged with behavioral health disorders and from personal stories of those who experienced the impact of disorders on people they loved. Their intention is to help reduce suffering. myStrength has a digital platform combining a large range of efficacy-based models with great design to offer the end users a impactful experience. Their digital behavioral health solutions empower individuals with engaging, clinically-proven resources. Their platform helps address issues like stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and substance abuse. They work with some of the largest health plans, integrative health systems, and community behavioral health systems in the countryScott Cousineau, the CEO of myStrength, will be sharing his experience.

I love getting to know and working with entrepreneurs and leaders who have such passion for their missions, their teams, and helping to bring innovation into the world of mental and behavioral health.