Depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide and mental health account for 10% of the global burden of disease. Poor mental health cause considerable distress to individuals and their families, and it is estimated that lost economic output will total $16 trillion in the next twenty years. Access to effective and evidence-based treatments and support is inconsistent and often poor, and the traditional approaches, based on face-to-face treatments, struggle to meet the overwhelming need. Developing new digital solutions could both expand access and improve health outcomes at a much lower cost across the globe.
The Netherlands-based startup Karify has developed a digital mental health platform that support the face-to-face meetings with online exercises, and helps healthcare providers and patients communicate online. The care provider signs up for a Karify account and pay per staff member, while the patient use the app for free. The app give the opportunity to ask questions directly to care providers, and work on treatment exercises anywhere the patient is to speed up their recovery. The patient can keep a diary, grade their wellbeing on a daily basis, more easily gain insight into their own treatment process and progress, making it more transparent, engaging and easier.
Karify has a vision to change how psychological care is provided. They have developed a virtual extension of the practice, enabling the care providers to set up treatments tailored specifically for their patients. They can monitor their patients’ progress, give them feedback and support, better distribute their resources where it is needed the most. While it is unlikely that the technology will replace face-to-face services, it presents a unique opportunity to personalize mental health care, making it more cost-effective and accessible from anywhere at any time. And as the adoption of technology, such as smartphones, keeps growing across the globe, Karify’s innovative solution could help increase access and awareness in low- or middle-income countries.
Joris Moolenaar and Frank Kraaijeveld founded Karify, which today is used by 300 healthcare organizations, including 6 of the 10 largest mental healthcare institutions in the Netherlands. The startup has been supported by Holland Venture and Dolfin Capital, and was in 2016 presented as one of the most promising digital companies at the Healthtech Summit in Lausanne, which focus on showcasing the top 20 medtech and digital health companies in Europe.