1 in 4 people in England will experience a mental health problem every year (Mind). With the impact of COVID-19, lockdowns, and increased awareness of mental health disorders, the number of people seeking treatment is growing exponentially. But globally, meeting this demand clinically has proved challenging.
In response, startups providing mental wellbeing tools are gaining traction – and investors are noticing. Meditation apps Calm and Headspace have both raised significant capital in the last two years and deals are increasing in volume.
Limbic, founded through Entrepreneur First by Dr Ross Harper and Sebastiaan (Bas) de Vries, is different. They’re going beyond the self-care and mindfulness solutions to address one of the sector’s biggest pain points, head-on.
Patients need evidence-based approaches that are still personal and human for treatment of mental health disorders. But they’ll often face long waiting times, and a lot of hoops to jump through, to get it.
Limbic’s AI-powered therapy assistant supports patients to access the right treatment pathways and provides Cognitive Behavioural Therapy while on the waitlist – allowing clinicians to access more information, and improving patient experience and drop-out rates.
Their software is currently being used by 15% of the NHS’ Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services – the NHS’ talk therapy programme for common mental health disorders in adults -and is seeing a monthly growth in patient usage of 113%.
Applying AI to as complex an area as mental health might seem counterintuitive. In fact, we might expect our inner lives to be one of the last things that a computer could understand.
But rather than eliminate the human touchpoint altogether, Limbic serves to optimise patient experience and improve predictions and outcomes. And the results are showing it.
We spoke to the founders about how they harnessed their deeply technical backgrounds to build the company; how their technology works; and how they’re making a difference for clinicians and patients alike.