Over half of adults in the U.S. are reportedly struggling with mental health problems in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an unfortunate catch-22, it is hard for many to reach out for appropriate care when the general consensus is to stay home and isolate from others physically. That is why many remote medical programs have grown in popularity recently, and among these, company 98point6 has recently added mental health care to their subscription services in hopes of offsetting some of the mental strain of these uncertain times.
For $120 a year, 98point6 has traditionally offered customers access to certified physicians for help with common questions and concerns that can be addressed directly through their app, and without a doctor’s visit. Along with the on-demand services, the company uses AI technology to store and learn from client data, to add consistency and personalization.
Now, due to popular demand, the company has added therapists and behavioral coaches to this list of resources, offering the traditional calling and video chat options other services do, with the addition of a texting option which adds a level of important flexibility, especially considering the context.
Patients can now answer questionnaires before being connected with a mental-healthcare specialist, which can, from there, redirect the patient to a behavioral coach based on their individual need, or schedule follow-up appointments with people that need additional sessions of assessment.
The company recently completed a $118 million Series E round of funding in October of last year and plans to go public in the near future to aid in further capital gain for program development. As it stands, 98point6 services 4.8 million people both commercially and through the healthcare plans of businesses like Boeing, Circle K, and Premera.
Though the app is clear in stating that these services may not replace traditional therapist care for everyone, it is a crucial step in the accessibility of mental health services, especially because the demand for such is quickly shifting. These types of services are likely to become commonplace due to their ease-of-access and affordability, and they serve as a crucial way to destigmatize seeking mental health help, allowing many, who may not be able to afford a traditional therapist, an option they can depend on.