Tech startup brings wellbeing to the workplace

Global Business

An injury that ended his collegiate swimming career and the stress of attending the competitive Johns Hopkins University, led Ed Pagano to seek therapy. But when he later moved to San Francisco for a job at a tech company, he had no idea where to turn for help.

Fortunately, he became an early user of “Modern Health” and through its mobile questionnaire was matched to a nearby therapist.

“I don’t think I’d be able to be as productive at work or have as meaningful relationships in my personal life if not for having that space,” Ed Pagano, Modern Health User. He went on to say, “What keeps me going is not any type of hope for a solution or a diagnosis that can be solved, it’s just ongoing support for my everyday life.”

“I’m trying to find a therapist, and I’m navigating the health insurance process right now, and it’s a miserable process,” said Modern Health Co-Founder Erica Johnson.

Neuroscientist, software engineer and Co-Founder of Modern Health Erica Johnson says one goal is to cut red tape because 60-percent of mental health providers are not part of the insurance system.

Modern Health’s business strategy is to get companies to purchase their product. All employees can then choose to interact with the platform, which continually assesses their emotional well-being and offers to connect them to help if desired.

“You can actually enter our platform if you are struggling with relationship issues or if you wanna be a better manager for your employees,” said Johnson.

She said her company matches users to the right therapist or the right coach for them, going on to say, “So instead of a deficits model– what’s wrong with you How can we help take you to the next level.”

Modern Health has referred several patients to clinical psychologist Robert Holoway, who has treated them via online video sessions due to their busy lifestyles.

“Not everyone wants to go see a therapist but they might go see a coach,” said Pacific Anxiety Group Director Robert Holaway. “Not everyone wants to work with a coach but they might take advantage of some digital tools through a platform. So I think it’s being accessible but also trying to create something that people actually want to use.”

For tech startup Founder Matt Watson, his favorite digital tool is Modern Health’s meditation program.

At first reluctant to introduce Modern Health to his staff, he decided to give it a try and discovered 60 percent of his employees used the services.

“And even for me, it’s one of these things where do you wanna introduce the idea that a leader of the business has a mental health problem. And I think that’s really step one — making it okay for folks to talk about it and think about these things,” said Tech Entrepreneur Matt Watson.

Ironically, while technology has created so much anxiety in our lives, it may also be part of the solution in increasing access to the care needed to de-stress our minds.

CGTN’s Mark Niu spoke to Alyson Friedensohn about founding the tech company Modern Health.