This year’s message for World Health Day was “Health For All.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “at least half of the world’s population still do not have full coverage of essential health services.” Their goal is to see one billion more people given access to full health care services by 2023.
While Talkspace’s mission has always been “Therapy For All,” we’re actively championing an even more universal goal across the globe: “Better Mental Health For All,”. This includes campaigning for mental health coverage as part of universal health care, and being an active part of the important conversation around mental health.
Mental Health Conditions Affect Hundreds of Millions
Worldwide, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, making it the world’s leading cause of disability. Depression’s effects include insomnia, overeating, and immunosuppressive conditions. These complications are major contributors to the leading causes of death across the world: heart disease, respiratory diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
Anxiety disorders are also prevalent, where “an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives,” according the the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Like depression, anxiety disorders have debilitating symptoms that affect a person’s ability to participate in certain social settings, or ability to deliver work in a professional environment.
Combined, depression and anxiety disorders alone affect over half a billion people around the world. Considering the numerous diagnoses outside of these spectrums that affect millions more on a daily basis, the importance of mental health coverage for all cannot be overstated.
How Talkspace is Contributing to Mental Health
Innovating Online Therapy Technology
Talkspace is actively working to broaden access to mental health care through mobile technology, data-driven feedback-informed therapy (FIT), and providing a much more affordable option for anyone seeking mental health care.
“Today, all you need to receive quality mental health care is a computer with internet connection, or the Talkspace mobile app,” Oren Frank, co-founder of Talkspace recently mentioned “Users can message their therapists from anywhere, anytime — using text, audio, video and/or picture messages. Talkspace is therapy for how we live today, providing the flexibility your life demands.”
Talkspace connects you with professional therapists through web browsers, and via a mobile app on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. And though the increase of wellness initiatives may represent a net good, it’s important to understand that as Oren recently reiterated to Quartz, mental health and wellness are not the same.
For a complete picture of our technology-backed therapy vision, take a few minutes to watch Oren’s Web Summit talk on Talkspace’s origins and our desire to democratize therapy.
Therapy for All, No Matter the Scenario
Mental health needs are as unique as the individuals that seek help for their challenges. In addition to intelligently matched individual therapy, Talkspace provides online therapy for different life scenarios and occupational situations.
Consider the fact that LGBT individuals are three times as likely to experience a mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Talkspace not only offers online therapy with LGBT individuals in mind, but proudly partners with therapists who are part of the LGBT community themselves.
Veterans returning home from active combat face a higher risk of mental health challenges. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that over 20 percent of these veterans return home with Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD. The same publication mentions that veterans with PTSD were at risk for for suicidal ideation at a rate four times higher than those who did not. Talkspace therapists with PTSD expertise are available to those who have served.
Finally, while couples often attempt to solve relationship problems on their own, this path has the potential to further drive a wedge between the partners. Talkspace offers online therapy to help guide couples through communication, commitment, and anything that pops up along the way.
No matter the diagnosis or impetus for therapy, Talkspace is available to put you in touch with a therapist within the hour. This is our hope for the world, and the driver behind “Therapy For All.”
Dismantling Stigma Around Mental Health
Another important part of the Talkspace mission is to reduce stigma around mental health diagnoses, and empower those who seek to better their lives with solutions like online therapy. By providing resources to those hesitant about taking the next steps toward therapy, our wish is to contribute a powerful voice in favor of mental health care solutions.
“We are here to say, ‘Yeah. Therapy is amazing,’” Oren Frank said in a recent speech, after referring to national mental health care coverage as an “American nightmare.” “We want to make sure people understand that, and this is a method for us to fight stigma and remove it.”
See Oren’s full talk here:
Talkspace is at the forefront of eliminating this stigma by providing accessible online therapy and mental health resources to broader segments of society. Whether though our blog, our presence on social networks, hosting conferences, or appearing on national television, Talkspace’s intent is to contribute to the mental health conversation and to say definitively, wherever the opportunity presents itself: There is nothing shameful about needing mental health care.
The Future of Better Mental Health is Online Therapy
As the industry leader, we love to talk about the future of mental health care. However, it’s relevant to state that online therapy is that future.
A sobering fact remains that those who need mental health assistance aren’t able to receive it, or choose not to seek care. According to a report by Mental Health America (MHA), in the U.S. alone over 55 percent of adults don’t receive treatment for mental illness. The same report mentions that 6 out of 10 American youths who require treatment of major depression never receive it. Globally, the “median number of mental health workers is 9 per 100,000 population”.
By reducing the barrier to entry for therapy — an evidence-based method of improving mental health outcomes — through its use of technology and data, Talkspace is helping to provide access to better mental health for all. Nearly one million people have considered Talkspace for its affordability, accessibility, and the ability to seek therapy on their terms. Our strategic partnerships with major health care providers, and employee assistance programs, are bringing us closer to our mission of providing global access to mental health care.
“Better Mental Health For All” may be a clarion call, but we’re determined to turn this demand into a fundamental human right by building confidence in online therapy’s benefits, one person at a time.