Not sure about you, but one of the love languages I share with my gfs is DM’ing one another posts centered on self-improvement and self-care:
Therapists have recognized this trend and acted in good faith on their own saying of “meeting the client where they are”. In the past year, there has been an influx of therapists setting up shop on both Instagram and Tik Tok, joining a growing cohort of wellness influencers leveraging social media to discuss mental health.
Their content ranges from guides on embracing imperfection, self-care, “growth mindset,” and attachment theory, to strategies for combating impostor syndrome and trauma. Sometimes they’ll host Q&As with their followers or even livestream a practice therapy session. The goal is to make therapy approachable and inviting, debunking the myth that therapy is shameful.
- @notesfromyourtherapist (292K followers) - features scribbles from the desk of a psychologist
- @askdrjess (185K followers) - is a board-certified psychiatrist trying to de-stigamiztie mental health for the African-American community
- @lisaoliveratherapy (400K followers) - writes guides on self-care, mental healths, and holds live Q&As
- @browngirltherapy (36K followers) - de-stigmatizes mental health for children of immigrants
- @evolveandbloom (186K followers) - TikTok videos on self-care and mental health
- @sitwithsharon (71K followers) - focuses on co-dependency and relationships
As of 2019, the average mental health treatment can cost up to $300 per 45-minute session and is primarily out-of-network. Through social media, therapists strive to normalize stigma through sharing tools to promote self-soothing and wellbeing - all for free.
Surely, with much of the world under shelter in place and alone with their thoughts, these accounts can be a temporary bridge towards sanity amidst the anxiety-inducing pandemic, especially for those who can’t afford their own therapist. To that end:
❤️ For those of you who might not be able to afford a therapist right now or just need more self-care content on your feed..
I’ve put together a spreadsheet of 100+ Instagram and TikTok therapists with 50k+ followers.
You can sort by focuses like relationships, minorities, sexual identity, trauma, eating disorders, etc.
Indeed, Instagram has noted this trend with recently launched Guides for recommendations, starting with wellness and COVID-19. Similar to Twitter threads of other twitter threads, Guides enable one to aggregate several Instagram posts and videos with tips, commentary, and advice into a single place. @heads_together, a mental health group, uses Guides to remind viewers to be kind to each other, practice self care, and talk about how they feel.
Although Instagram is building features to support therapists, could there be room for someone to do it better? The unbundling and “verticalization” of Facebook and Instagram is a trend that has been noted by a16z. Communities that serve a specific vertical can create a user experience and business model that’s much more tailored to the unique attributes of that vertical. For example, communities like The Mighty, Myhealthteams, and Wana all cater to people undergoing chronic mental and physical conditions.
In putting on my product hat, it’s been fun brainstorming what a much more customized community for mental health influencers and therapists could look like:
- Built-in verification of therapist credentialing to mitigate bad actors.
- Ability for users to take a personalized quiz to be matched with profiles of therapists that will best serve them. Users can browse that therapists profile/content to gain perspective on specialties and bedside manner.
- Marketplace for live Q&As and group therapy sessions with therapists.
- Ability to bookmark content across all therapists into a digital journal that then prompts you to reflect on your gatherings.
- Likes leveraged as signal for the algorithm to get to know you and match you with content/therapists that are most likely to help you.
- Enabling consumers to become creators by sharing mental health breakthroughs and struggles in an instagram-like feed.
If anyone wants to brainstorm this with me, please feel free to reach out! 💡
🗞 news in the m-health tech space
Mindstrong (SF) raised $100M in Series C funding led by General Catalyst.
- 🤔Why it’s interesting: Mindstrong uses AI to understand your interactions with your phone to track changes in mental health symptoms. (i.e. speed of typing, frequency of texts, accelerometer info, scroll speed, etc.) If these markers indicate your mental health is deteriorating, it triggers alerts for therapists to check-in virtually. Could technology actually know us better than ourselves? So cool.
Vida Health (SF) raised $25 million in new funding led by Ally Bridge Group to meet the increased demand for mental virtual care.
- 🤔Why it’s interesting: Vida pairs individuals with a human health coach who is an expert in behavior change. They believe that behavior change starts with a true human connection. Given we are social animals, this makes sense.
Intellect (Singapore) launches CBT-based therapy app that transforms conventional face-to-face therapy into bite-sized modern self-therapy sessions.
- 🤔Why it’s interesting: In many parts of Asia, therapy is still heavily stigmatized. The main barriers that the Intellect team are trying to overcome are the high costs of therapy + stigma that restrains people from seeking help.
According to SensorTower, downloads of mental wellness apps surged by 2M in April vs Jan amid COVID-19: