Claudia Zayfert, Co-Founder and CEO, EverMind
Current treatments and the dominant model of mental health care delivery often miss the mark in addressing the complex challenges related to mental illness. And with the COVID-19 pandemic taking a huge toll on our mental wellness, a radical change in the paradigm and practices of mental health care is essential indeed. However, most of the existing mental health solutions today rely on live clinicians to deliver care, which limits the availability of treatment to those who have access or are willing to see a live therapist. The many who face barriers to live care, resort to managing things on their own, or are reluctant to seek help from a live therapist are often left untreated. There are, however, technologies that deliver evidence-based interventions, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), without a therapist, but they often fall short due to poor uptake and retention. This ultimately results in population health systems and employers bearing the costs of untreated mental health conditions among their patient populations and workforce in the form of elevated healthcare costs, reduced productivity, and increased turnover. That’s where companies like EverMind can make a difference.
Established by clinical psychologists with deep roots in evidence-based treatment, EverMind leverages technology initially developed for NASA to help astronauts cope with the mental and emotional toll of remote space flight. “With our commitment to a scientific approach, and passion for reaching the people in need, we provide scalable solutions for the most common mental health challenges that face healthcare systems and employers. This, in turn, enables them to contain the impact of mental health on costs for their organizations,” says Dr. Claudia Zayfert, the co-founder and CEO of EverMind.
EverMind’s technology replicates a conversation with a live clinician, recreating the warmth and support of a therapy relationship. “We deliver the same intervention in an efficient and cost-effective manner, without relying on the availability of a live therapist. This enables population health systems and employers to reach more individuals with effective treatment through an engaging, convenient, and confidential delivery system,” says Dr. Zayfert. EverMind’s innovative technology is at the core of electronic problem-solving treatment (ePST), a digital solution for depression. ePST offers six sessions of problem-solving therapy following the standardized approach effectively used in research trials and commonly deployed in integrated behavioral healthcare.
Dr. Zayfert notes that problem-solving therapy is one of the most widely studied and well-established treatments for depression, stress, and anxiety. Patients learn to shift from a passive approach to coping with life problems to a more active approach that teaches them to tackle daily life problems head-on.
With our commitment to a scientific approach, and passion for reaching the people in need, we provide scalable solutions for the most common mental health challenges that face healthcare systems and employers
ePST does not simply deliver information and content about problem-solving, it also provides an interactive training experience, resembling, as closely as possible, a live therapy session. The pre-recorded on-screen therapist—a psychologist expert in problem-solving therapy—is displayed to the user via hundreds of brief video and audio clips that are presented based on the patient’s input into the program. Each session, the therapist guides the user through six steps of problem-solving, practicing the skills with their own real-life problems. The sessions end with users creating a step-by-step action plan listing out the steps they will take toward solving the problem they are working on. It also includes a plan for participating in enjoyable activities during the coming week. Users receive reminders to carry out their between-session “homework” activities. The virtual therapist checks in with them each week, encourages and supports them in the problem-solving process, and helps them troubleshoot if they run into difficulties or get stuck.
ePST’s proprietary algorithms analyze a user’s responses to questions across sessions to identify weak points in their problem-solving skills. The virtual coach then recommends exercises and focuses on appropriate training to optimize the user’s skills. ePST is undoubtedly one of the most technically sophisticated computer-guided treatments on the market. With thousands of possible pathways through the program, it offers an unparalleled degree of flexibility in tailoring solutions according to an individual’s needs.
EverMind has rebuilt the original NASA software into a modern web-mobile tool and embedded it in a platform that includes comprehensive outcomes assessment to provide easy access to ROI. Organizations now have the ability to deliver ePST to their patients and employees through an administrative app that enables their staff clinicians to view users’ dashboards and monitor their progress through the sessions, their activity plans, and scores on standardized clinical and functional measures. Clinicians receive alerts when users report any risk of self-harm. The system was developed with busy clinicians in mind so that all of these can be easily completed in a few minutes per user per week.
EverMind is focused on continuously learning along with its customer organizations, paying close attention to their needs, as this will shape the next products that the company builds. EverMind, the first NASA mental health spinoff company, demonstrates the value of space technologies for enhancing life on earth, particularly during the era of COVID-19, when many are struggling with the stress of isolation, living in close quarters, and added pressures and threats in daily life.
While other companies use technology to deliver content, EverMind actually transforms science-based treatment into a scalable digital format. For the future, the company will continue to iterate on its core approach, evolving its flagship product to expand its reach with versions for various cultures and languages while creating products to further meet the clinical needs of users and customers.