Psychic centera Nashville-based mental health education startup, announced last week that it raised $16 million.
The funding round was led by HC9 and Frist Cressey Venturesfeaturing HealthStream, Emerson Collective and Bailey & Co. The round brings Psych Hub’s total funding to date to $20 million.
The startup was founded in 2018 by licensed therapist Marjorie Morrison and former US Congressman Patrick Kennedy. Morrison, who is the company’s CEO, said in an interview that when she was starting Psych Hub with Kennedy, he told her they were going to create “Angie’s List meets Match.com for mental health care.” The former congressman has publicly recognized the mental health challenges it faces and the need for greater access to mental health care.
The startup’s primary goal is to expand mental health education and provide providers with more evidence-based standards of care, according to Morrison. From her experience as a mental health practitioner, she knows that she and her colleagues were trained as professionals in school, leaving them to find evidence-based best practices for the specialties in which they worked.
“You wouldn’t go see a cardiologist for a broken leg, would you?” Morrison asked. “But we do this in terms of mental health.”
Psych Hub tackles this problem through its training center for mental health practitioners. This online center certifies providers to perform a variety of evidence-based interventions spanning various specialties, such as cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and insomnia. Morrison said Psych Hub “acts like Switzerland” in the sense that it stands on the sidelines – the company does not provide its own direct care, but rather acts as an education and training centre.
Training materials on Psych Hub’s platform are approved by its scientific advisory board, which Morrison says includes the chief behavioral health medical officers for the nation’s largest payers — including Etna, Anthem, Cygna, Centene, Humana, Molina, Magellan, Lighthouse, Optum and on Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Health systems, medical groups and insurers pay Psych Hub to train their mental health providers on its platform. For example, CVS Health put more than 280,000 of its mental health providers on the Psych Hub platform this year to receive suicide prevention training, Morrison said.
In addition to its Practitioner Training Centre, Psych Hub also has Mental Health Ally, which the company says is “for everyone.” The center teaches ordinary people how to support those around them with mental health issues by offering content such as educational videos, podcasts, tip sheets and infographics.
“Part of the problem when there is not enough mental health providers is that really everyone needs to be trained in how to fill in those gaps and be there to support someone,” Morrison said.
She also pointed out that educating consumers about best practices for mental health care as they relate to different specialties creates a smarter patient base. Mental Health Ally Hub content can help patients better determine which providers to seek by directing them to specialists, according to Morrison.
Just like the Practitioner Education Hub, the Mental Health Ally Hub is subscription-based. Companies like HCA Healthcare and CVS Health have paid to offer their employees the content found in that center, Morrison said.
But Psych Hub isn’t the only platform where people can access mental health education. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has mental health physician training programsand so it does online course provider Udemy.
Morrison said her company distinguishes itself by making its courses engaging and taught “in a masterclass style.” She pointed out that the current completion rate for Psych Hub’s mental health ally courses is 88.5%, which she says is above the industry average of 12%. Morrison also said there are no other companies that offer engaging content to both consumers and professionals.
Along with its two subscription-based hubs, Psych Hub also offers users free educational content. Much of it is on it YouTube channel, which averages about a million views per month, Morrison claims. As of Monday, channel views in August were about 705,000. Psych Hub’s free content is sponsored by healthcare providers and companies including Johnson and Johnson and Neuroflow.
For example, the startup in Nashville cooperated with HCA and Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry this year in a 10-episode podcast series called You Ask, We Answer to answer people’s mental health questions. The episodes are free and available to download or listen to from anyone on YouTube.
With the $16 million in cash it just received, Psych Hub will expand its platform even further. In November, the company plans to launch Psych Hub Connect, which will connect patients with specialists who meet their needs and accept their insurance.
Photo: Nuthawut Somsuk, Getty Images