Instability with mental and behavioral health affects all of us at some point or another in our lifetime. The challenge, unlike our physical health, is that it is interwoven into our day-to-day lives and we learn to mask it — we learn to cope with it. Fortunately, more and more attention is being paid to this issue, thanks to companies like AbleTo.
My journey to investing in AbleTo, the leading provider of behavioral telehealth solutions, is a very personal one. At the time of doing my due diligence on the company, I was diagnosed with the blood-based cancer lymphoma. It’s why I’m especially proud to be leading AbleTo’s $36.6 million financing round and joining its board.
As a healthcare-focused investor, I have always taken a thesis-driven approach to market research. Over the years, as I’ve spent time speaking to some of the largest payers and providers of healthcare services, it has become crystal clear that addressing mental and behavioral health is an increasingly important (and costly) part of medicine. One in five patients who shows up in the emergency room has an underlying behavioral health condition that largely goes ignored because the condition isn’t considered clinical.
AbleTo uses a technology-enabled approach to identify, engage, and provide tools for individuals to address the anxiety, stress, and depression they often experience in conjunction with a medical event, even when it is not a clinical mental health condition. Through clinical and financial research, the company has found that people with a medical and mental/behavioral comorbid condition (a population of 60 million+ people in the United States) have a dramatically higher cost of care.
Whether it’s cancer or a heart attack or even postpartum, dealing with a person’s state of mind and emotion fundamentally has a significant impact on her overall health and well-being. Also, given the personal dynamics of someone going through such a traumatic medical event, often it’s challenging for that person to seek professional help due to the inconvenience, inability, or shame.
As a consumer of medicine and having gone through significant healthcare interventions, it seems obvious that addressing the physical side of someone while ignoring the mental and emotional aspects of that person is not delivering true healthcare. I’m very honored to be working with AbleTo to help bring greater awareness to the mental and behavioral health problem in our country and to offer a unique solution that will positively impact the lives of millions.