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The Growing Business of Mental Health and Why Entrepreneurs Should Care

The Growing Business of Mental Health and Why Entrepreneurs Should Care

The COVID-19 pandemic set off a lot of alarm bells for mental health advocacy and how much of an impact our brain has on our physical well-being. Entrepreneurs may have looked over this sector in the past, but new business owners shouldn’t ignore the growing business of mental health. So, grab the bull by the horns and start investing in the mental health sector.

Decreased Stigma towards Mental Health

The initial wave of the pandemic, the massive job loss, the inability to leave our homes, and the impact of money loss affected the world in a big way. While the pandemic disrupted most of our lives, the silver lining lies in the general attitude towards mental health, which has gotten better. The added demand given to health care services also reduced stigma out of necessity.

The general population couldn’t ignore how they were affected and how the people around them changed from being locked inside. Virtual healthcare started to soar due to decreased stigma, which is excellent for anyone suffering from mental health issues and fantastic for businesses that want to see a return on their investment.

Taking a risk in the mental health sphere is no longer a risk as the stigma around it decreases.

Employers Are Getting Serious about Mental Health

Up until a few years ago, employers would shy away from offering or speaking about mental health coverage, likely because of the stigma attached to mental wellness and the cost. However, most employers are opting to provide full mental health offerings to their staff, and they’re even explicitly asking for more robust products that suit their employees’ needs.

Out of care for their community and employees, many employees in the medical industry have started using billing software for mental health professionals. With this software, mental health professionals can better coordinate counseling, rehabilitation, and clinical treatments.

Still, these employers are reliant on the network of health professionals in their plans, making it difficult for them to lower rates. Many providers will opt out of participating in insurers’ networks entirely. However, the decreased mental health stigma and the pandemic have made employers more comfortable asking about options.

Regulations Changed to Meet Demand

Telehealth expanded their accessibility to essential health services during the pandemic to minimize the demand on facilities and reduce the use of PPE by healthcare providers. This change brought mental health issues into the public eye almost instantly. As more people started to receive mental health services online, others began to sign up for Telehealth, as well.

The convenience and safety of Telehealth brings mental health care to people who can’t get vaccinated or are at high risk of being infected. It was too good to pass up for Americans, so they expanded their reach further. Since the Ryan Haight Act, mental health professionals could start prescribing medication over the phone or video conferencing software, which benefits everyone.

Entrepreneurs can do a lot more in the healthcare sphere with these regulations changes.

Mental Health Professionals Are Becoming Data Savvy

Before computers, the general public trusted their health care professional because they had knowledge that was difficult to obtain for the average person. Now, anyone can look up an illness, the studies behind a clinical trial, and whether or not a medication is likely to work. Despite this, the medical industry still uses practices that are known not to work.

For example, abstinence is a common treatment for substance abuse disorder, but it’s known not to work. Harm reduction is the best approach, but the stigma towards substance abuse prevents these programs from operating. Now, mental health professionals are becoming more interested in evidence-based data that backs treatment methods that empower patients.

As employees seek more data about clinical outcomes, they will need technology to support these findings. For example, producing an app that could create a personalized feedback report that tracked a patient’s medical records could help the industry develop new forms of treatment.

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by Rebecca Jones // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.