World Mental Health Day is observed every year on October 10 to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilise efforts in support of mental health. The day provides an opportunity for people and organizations working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. One such example is EIT Health Catapult finalist Mindpax, a digital health start-up active in the psychiatric field by developing a monitoring system to predict severe mental health attacks. We talked with Pavel Nevicky, the CEO of Mindpax, about their solution to tackle the mental health crisis and how to cope with mental health challenges during these troubles times.
1. October 10 is World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness of the effects mental illness has on millions of people’s lives across the world. To start, what is the connection to Mindpax?
Mindpax from its founding in 2016 focuses on making the life of people suffering from affective and psychotic disorders easier by providing feedback on the disease development and by giving clinicians data for more insightful therapy decisions. It is really crazy, that for some mental health illnesses it takes over 7 years to be diagnosed and often another 7 years to decide on the efficient therapy. Mindpax was founded to make this journey much faster and therefore easier for both the patients as well as clinicians.
2. Mindpax combines knowledge in psychiatry and data analytics to tackle the problem of mental illnesses. Can you tell us more about the process and the results so far?
Objective data are very rare to be found in mental health management. No wonder, algoritmization of the human psyche is so complex that we might wait for many years to come for the solution. However, as the mental health treatment and management is symptomatologic, algoritmization, long-term monitoring of symptoms and application of predictive models on the symptoms is possible. That is where Mindpax finds itself at the moment. We have been able in the clinical setting to create an environment where patients are compliant with the treatment and where clinicians can see remotely patients’ clinical state without the need for an ambulance visit. We also provide psychoeducation for the patients and increase disease literacy, which is crucial for any chronic condition.
3. According to the World Health Organisation, one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. How can Mindpax help to decrease this number?
The earlier the onset of the disease is identified the less severe are the consequences. Mindpax utilizes a long-term monitoring tool that in combination with psychoeducation and access to psychologists helps to decrease the severity of the disease relapses and provides a patient toolkit for dealing with the disease.
4. This year the World Mental Health Day comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19pandemic. What are Mindpax’s coping tips for life during COVID-19 crisis?
For people that are already fighting some mental health disease, the lock-down or other limiting measures can create a lot of anxiety. On top, not being able to meet their treating psychiatrist or psychologist further deepens the feelings of being left out. Our tips that we have started to publish on our website when COVID-19 emerged are mostly related to the ideas of trying to keep the daily regime as similar to the pre-COVID one as possible. The therapy we digitize is called Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy and basically says that keeping your regime stable is a very efficient way of preventing deterioration of your mental state.
5. The theme for World Mental Health Day 2020 is Mental Health for All – Greater Investment – Greater Access. In your opinion, why is this theme both important and relevant now?
There are two things related to the Mental Health mentioned above. (i) Access – imagine, it takes on average many months, sometimes years when the mentally challenged person is seen by the specialist, on top, it takes additional years for the right therapy to be selected. We in Mindpax believe that early access to the system is not only important but crucial for any follow-up treatment of mental disorders. And (ii) Investment – due to the lengthy hospitalization mental health diseases are one of the costliest in healthcare. Therefore, health economics is often no brainer for efficient therapies that could be applied on a broader scale thanks to digitization.
6. What would your message be for this day?
What matters most is the quality and not the quantity of relationships.
7. In the end, what are your personal top 3 tips for Mental Wellbeing?
Sleep regularly, move regularly, and surround yourself with loving people.
This World Mental Health Day, remember to take care of yourself and join the conversation online by using #WorldMentalHealthDay.