Deepak Gopalakrishna, CEO and founder of mental health and wellness start-up Deepak Gopalakrishna, can and should play a key role in bridging the gap between the growing demand for mental health services and the limited supply of health professionals. quality.
The virtual reality-capable mental health company announced Tuesday that it raised $ 10 million in new investment, bringing the Series A funding round to $ 26 million. The round was led by Optum Ventures and Oxford Sciences Innovation and comes three months after the company launched in April.
Although Rey is in the early stages, Gopalakrishna has been in the healthcare technology industry for almost two decades; first as a physician, then as an entrepreneur who launched several biotech startups and also as an investor in BCG Digital Ventures.
Gopalakrishna, according to the imbalance of supply and demand of mental health services, has caused an overload on young doctors leaving university directly. “It’s like giving a university a full load of consecutive meetings at the executive level and asking them to change context and solve problems.”
Driven by the expansion of online therapy and desperation for pandemic-driven mental health services, $ 2.6 billion has been poured into the sector since 2016, according to Crunchbase. But while mental health companies have proliferated, mental health care workers come from a small group of therapists. There are approximately 34 licensed professionals for every 100,000 Americans, according to the American Psychological Association.
“Essentially, you feel like an Uber driver. It’s also a horrible clinical clinic experience, ”explains Mike Desjadon, commercial director Forbes.
In addition, this problem lies in the client’s confidence in the physician’s ability to help a patient. “And that’s the solvable technology,” Gopalakrishna says.
Rey uses a customized combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, conversation therapy, medication, and clinically validated technology tools, such as virtual reality, to help his clients achieve mental well-being.
“We want to play an important role in democratizing access to good care, which right now is hard to avoid for people,” Desjadon says.
By using digital integrations such as virtual reality and augmentation, the company aims to optimize the precious time of a clinical psychologist. The goal is not to replace the therapist but to automate the everyday aspect of mental health, Gopalakrishna says. In addition, the company plans to use automation to monitor and manage patient care and track progress.
Another advantage of using immersive tools such as VR in mental health care is the ability to provide therapy in a suitable environment. For example, for someone who is afraid of heights, the best care can be provided in the simulated configuration of the top of a skyscraper through virtual reality instead of performing a session in a closed room or on a Zoom screen, explains Gopalakrishna.
Gopalakrishna’s motivation for dealing with the structural inefficiencies of the mental health system comes from her grandmother’s experience with mental illness and the inadequate, sometimes brutal, treatment she received. “All I knew about my grandmother was that she was a crazy old woman who slept for six months a year and was extremely abusive and violent for the other six months of the year,” he says.
“What I didn’t know was that she was the first in a medical school and that she was a first-class doctor in India in the 1950s and 1960s, which is pretty puzzling,” she says, recalling her grandmother. which was treated with barbaric methods of early electroconvulsive therapy. .
“Medical care has come a long way since then, but we are still over-dedicating people and we still don’t provide people with the right psychological therapies. I just want to change the way we care,” he says. Forbes.
Rey promises its customers access to personalized mental health care services and cutting-edge technologies. With the new VC funding, the company plans to expand the reach of its consumers both in the United States and internationally. Rey’s technology was born out of Oxford’s academic circles. His parent company, OxfordVR, was founded by Daniel Freeman, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University.