As more Americans report worsening mental health, the national physician shortage is hitting psychiatry hard.
Around two-thirds of primary care providers have trouble finding psychiatrists to refer their patients to, and patients that have access to the fraction of psychiatrists accepting new patients often get stuck on a waiting list for weeks or even months before their first visit.
Minded co-founder and CEO David Ronick said he’s experienced those frustrations firsthand.
“I’ve taken medication for anxiety and insomnia for over a decade, and it’s really changed my life for the better. But it’s also been difficult and expensive to get care from experts in psychiatry,” he told Fierce Healthcare.
Minded aims to ease access to prescription medications through its online platform. Founded last March, the digital psychiatry startup just banked $25 million in seed funding to expand its national footprint and treat more conditions.
Currently, the startup offers telehealth appointments and prescriptions for anxiety, depression and insomnia, and it can deliver medications directly to the patients' doors.
By offering a more accessible and convenient solution for those seeking pharmaceutical treatments for mental illness, Minded wants to be a leader in the national conversation around breaking down stigmas often associated with taking mental health medications.
“I personally was reluctant to try (mental health medications) at first and to talk about them, as are many people,” he said. “Our goal is to make it easy and affordable for everyone to get quality care and also to fight that stigma around taking mental health medications.”
The startup has more than 30 psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners in its medical team and plans to more than double that number in 2022, Ronick said.
The company is also exploring partnerships to tap into new psychiatric innovations including genetic testing and psychedelics for treatment-resistant depression.
Ronick said Minded’s position in the market—as a provider of digital psychiatry rather than teletherapy—uniquely positions the startup to go after exciting developments in behavioral health treatment.
“We’re the only company in this space that specializes in managing mental health medication. We don’t offer therapy, even though we agree that’s important,” he said. “That gives us an opportunity to go deeper, to provide innovative treatments. That’s something we always want to stay on the cutting edge of.”
Patients can access Minded's services for $65 a month, which the company says is less expensive than most insurance copayments for office visits and medications.
Their offerings aren’t yet covered by any insurance provider, though Ronick says the company is working toward partnering with payers.
Participating investors in the seed round include Streamlined Ventures, Link Ventures, The Tiger Fund, Unicorn Ventures, Trousdale Ventures, Gaingels, SALT Fund and TheFund along with the founders of Care.com, Bolt, Gravity Blanket, RXBAR and Gilt.com, plus venture debt from WTI.
“Americans are facing a mental health crisis, and the supply of psychiatric care isn’t keeping up with the rising demand,” said Ullas Naik, founder of Streamlined Ventures, in a statement. “Minded utilizes advanced technology to forge real human connections between people in need and the experts who can help them, in a way that can have a positive impact at scale.”
Minded currently provides services to patients in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas.