When we invested in Mindful Health Solutions (MHS) one year ago, COVID-19 was raging in the United States. While most of us were nearing the end of a very long and isolating initial lockdown, a second, related crisis had emerged: a spike in mental health issues. At the time, the CDC reported a nearly four-fold increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression from before the pandemic. Reports like these brought mental health to the forefront of the national conversation, and our team viewed our investment in MHS as apt for this moment of crisis.
America’s mental health challenges long pre-dated the pandemic, however. Our view is that COVID-19 simply put additional pressure on a system already challenged by insufficient access to care. We believe that limits to the supply, affordability, and breadth of mental healthcare services will persist in the post-lockdown era and that MHS has the potential to address these stubborn, longer-term obstacles.
Supply of care
The demand for mental health services far outweighs the supply. Appointments with therapists and psychiatrists, even in highly populated areas, often come with wait times of 4-6 weeks. This is a particularly unfortunate reality for patients suffering from severe, life-threatening symptoms.
As one of the largest and fastest-growing psychiatry groups in the country, MHS confronts this supply-demand imbalance. The company brings under one roof dozens of clinicians who might otherwise join disparate private practices and leverages centralized resources to more efficiently arrange care. MHS also utilizes telehealth extensively to increase access. This flexibility around virtual care was a major asset to MHS’s patients and providers during pandemic lockdowns and continues to streamline care delivery today.
Affordability of care
Wait times can be particularly long for in-network care, the lowest-cost option for most patients. Because most mental health care services are offered out of network, patients are forced to pay dramatically higher prices out of pocket for timely access. MHS’s services are in-network for the vast majority of patients, providing broader access by keeping out-of-pocket costs low.
Breadth of care
Most mental health groups offer point solutions, providing either therapy, medication management, or a limited combination of the two. Options are especially limited for patients with treatment-resistant mental health conditions. For instance, antidepressants have served as an effective first-line treatment for depression for decades. However, a significant segment of patients experience little-to-no improvement on these medications.* In these cases, other emerging therapies like transcranial magnetic stimulation and esketamine are available. These treatments are FDA approved for severe depression and covered by health insurers nationally but remain unfamiliar or inaccessible to many patients and providers alike.
MHS was founded around interventional psychiatry in 2007 and has since been a thought leader in mental health, keeping abreast of emerging therapies. MHS offers a continuum of care from talk therapy to medication management, TMS, and esketamine. The company addresses a wide spectrum of conditions including depression, anxiety, ADHD, and OCD. They expand access by serving as a home for patients with a variety of conditions and a range of condition severity.
Last year we saw in MHS the foundation for a winning approach to the problems of supply, cost, and breadth of care. In the year since, the company has continued to build on its strengths. Since our initial investment, MHS has:
- more than doubled its roster of psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners
- treated its first patients outside of California
- introduced cognitive behavioral therapy services
- brought in highly talented leaders to the Company’s management team, board of directors, and scientific advisory board
Additionally, in October 2021, John Minahan joined Mindful Health Solutions as Chief Executive Officer, leveraging deep prior leadership experience in mental health and other healthcare verticals.
On the one-year anniversary of this partnership, we have a lot to celebrate, but see much more work ahead. John and his team would likewise tell you that they are just getting started. The team is working hard to extend MHS’s model across the western US, matching ever more brilliant clinicians with patients seeking comprehensive care.
We’re also eager to innovate the model and explore hopeful new dimensions of mental healthcare delivery, such as the role of psychedelic therapies, technology in the patient experience, and our impact on overall health costs/outcomes. At the heart of these initiatives lies MHS’s desire to address the entrenched obstacles that impede mental healthcare delivery. There are certain to be more trying moments – like the early COVID-19 lockdowns – down the road. Fortunately, Mindful Health Solutions is well-positioned to serve patients despite them.
*Fava, Maurizio, and Katharine G. Davidson. “Definition and epidemiology of treatment-resistant depression.” Psychiatric Clinics of North America 19.2 (1996): 179-200.; Souery, Daniel, George I. Papakostas, and Madhukar H. Trivedi. “Treatment-resistant depression.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 67 (2006): 16.