Mental health care for all, no prescription necessary

Our digital therapeutics are safe and effective non-drug alternatives for mental health.*

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Most people in need of mental health care don’t receive it 1

For those who are able to get care, 82% are given medication2 – but these carry risks,3 side effects,4 and are ineffective for many.5,6

Our digital therapeutics deliver effective help with no serious side effects

Daylight and Sleepio are easily accessible, highly effective, and do not carry serious risks.7,8

Trusted by the world’s leading organizations

For nearly a decade, we’ve been empowering employers and health plans to help millions back to good mental health.

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Simple to adopt, zero-lift engagement

The easiest way to offer a non-drug alternative to members of your population in need.

How we help organizations

Add Coverage

Add coverage to your pharmacy plan

Pre-approved by major pharmacy benefit managers, contract in as few as 10 days.

Offer Access Via the Prescribing Pathway

Offer access via existing care pathways

Easily reach individuals at the time of need.

Bill per-use via health care claims

Bill per-use via healthcare claims

Deep integrations mean you get to bill for therapeutic use via claims.

We believe evidence is a duty, not a chore

We’re committed to gold-standard clinical evidence. Our therapeutics have been validated in 32 clinical evidence studies with more than 13,000 participants, including 13 randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Our research

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76%

of participants moved from unhealthy
to healthy sleep efficiency

(Espie et al., 2012)

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71%

of participants moved from clinical to
non-clinical worry and anxiety levels

(Carl et al., 2020)

Here’s our latest

Bringing employee mental health into focus — Part 3

This is the third in a three-part series focused on mental health literacy: what it is, why employees need it, and how to achieve it. Read parts one and two now! Hopefully, you’ve read the first and second posts in this three-part series on the importance of mental health literacy. If so, you already have a better understanding of why employees need to have it, and two of the skills that will help them attain it: Recognizing the signs of mental health difficulties   Cultivating the knowledge to seek and obtain quality mental health care In this third and final post, Big Health’s Clinical Lead for Sleep Dr. Jennifer Kanady and Clinical Lead for Anxiety Dr. Michelle Davis are focusing on the final skill: how to tackle stigma. Rejecting stigma. Dispel unhelpful beliefs that get in the way of achieving a positive mental health outcome. The third step on a path toward mental health literacy is an employees’ ability to recognize and challenge unhelpful beliefs. Stigma and shame around mental health are destructive because they can lead people to dismiss or ignore their symptoms, and forgo seeking appropriate care. These troubling beliefs about mental health come in three forms: Public: The societal perception that people with mental health conditions are dangerous, incompetent, unpredictable, and to be blamed for their own struggles. Self: A person’s beliefs about their own mental health condition — that they are dangerous, incompetent, and to blame for their own struggles. Institutional: Stereotypes that are embodied in laws and institutions that perpetuate stigma while reducing access to mental health care. Dr. Kanady highlights that the key to dispelling stigma is “helping employees identify misconceptions when they hear them, and empower them to provide corrective information.” Here are a few common misconceptions about mental health: Myth: Panic attacks cause death or loss of control. Reality: Panic attacks cannot cause death or lead to loss of control. Myth: Mental health care requires talking about the past. Reality: Many methods, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are focused on the present and are skills based. Myth: Going to therapy is selfish or indulgent. Reality: Taking care of one’s own mental health allows a person to better support others. Myth: Focusing on anxiety will make it worse. Reality: Avoiding anxiety keeps it going. Myth: There’s no way to help a bad sleeper. Reality: CBT is effective for poor sleep. Choose words wisely Employers have an important role to play in decreasing the stigma around poor mental health. Here are a few effective ways of doing so in the workplace: Teach employees about mental health symptoms and care options (more details in part one and two). Empower employees to appropriately talk about mental health with stigma-free language. Encourage employees to respond to stigma when they see or hear it. Publicly contribute to organizations that are fighting mental health stigma and discrimination. Dr. Kanady says one way to make sure your language is stigma-free is by never equating a person with their condition. “Individuals are so much more than their diagnosis — it doesn’t tell us anything about their demographics, hobbies, or who they are as a person.” That’s why it’s best to use “person-first language” in all communications and conversations. Help employees say, “a person with schizophrenia” rather than “a schizophrenic” (though some communities prefer “identity-first language,” for example many individuals with Autism prefer the term “Autistic”). Summing it up As we stated in the first post of this series, the pandemic has brought up a lot of feelings, leading to an increase in symptoms of mental health conditions. Being able to recognize, define, and address those symptoms in informed, healthy ways is key to an employee’s overall well-being — and the reason why promoting mental health literacy should be a cornerstone of any employer mental health strategy. To reiterate, there are three skills employees should have to achieve mental health literacy: Recognizing the signs of mental health difficulties and when to seek help Cultivating the knowledge to seek and obtain quality mental health care Rejecting stigma, or unhelpful beliefs that get in the way of achieving a positive mental health outcome We hope that this blog series spurs action within your company, to the benefit of all employees and the company as a whole. Please reach out to workplace@bighealth.com with questions, concerns, or suggestions.
Blog / 6 min read

Behavioral medicine: Preferred by employees, hard to scale for employers

In 1992, the alternative rock band R.E.M. wrote the song “Everybody Hurts” and it became an instant classic (here, have a listen). Not only is the tune catchy but the lyrics are rather accurate. Decades of psychological research confirm it: Mental health problems are universal and “everybody [does indeed] hurt sometimes.”  Across the globe, between 18-36% of people suffer from a mental health disorder during their lifetime. Unfortunately, the types of mental health care people have access to remain limited, with psychiatric medications being by far the most common. In fact, 82% of patients being treated for a mental health condition receive medication. In 2019, approximately 16% of American adults (about 33 million people) reported having taken psychiatric medications.  Despite millions of patients receiving mental health medications, most would actually prefer to receive behavioral mental health care — or what we refer to as behavioral medicine. In an analysis of 34 clinical studies — representing 68,612 patients — people were three times as likely to report a preference for behavioral care over medication. The problem is that most people can't access traditional behavioral medicine due to a shortage of mental health providers. Two reasons why people prefer behavioral medicine There are two main reasons why people prefer care rooted in behavior change.  First, psychiatric medications often come with side effects. One study found that among people taking antidepressants, 58% experienced at least moderately severe side effects. In addition, medications for anxiety and depression frequently cause weight gain and sexual problems, and medications for insomnia increase the risk for falls and auto accidents.  Second, behavioral medicine is more likely to offer lasting benefits. When people receive care based on cognitive behavioral techniques, they learn strategies that address the root cause of their mental health problems — such as cognitive biases and avoidance — which they can apply now and in the future. In contrast, the effects of medication stop when the medication is discontinued. And unless psychiatric medications are reduced slowly and carefully, patients run the risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as a rebound increase in anxiety, irritability, and sleep problems. Does behavioral medicine satisfy members' needs? Sometimes what people want and what's best for them don't always line up. Staying up late binge watching Netflix seems like a good idea in the moment, but will have a negative impact on us in the long-run. Eating steamed vegetables with every meal sounds great in theory, but may not be universally appealing.  However, when it comes to behavioral medicine, everything lines up — people express a strong preference for it, and research shows it's highly effective. In fact, one study showed that for people suffering from anxiety, those receiving psychotherapy (i.e., behavioral medicine) were more satisfied with their mental health care than those taking medication. In another study of antidepressant users, 22% decided to stop the medication without the input of their doctor, citing concerns about side effects, lack of benefit, or wanting to work on mental health without medication. Convenient, consistent, scaleable Yes, medications may have potential side effects. But if we consider the benefits of medication, it makes sense that they are the most common mental health treatment. Unlike traditional face-to-face care, they are convenient to access, deliver consistent outcomes, and are easy to scale. Fortunately, digital therapeutics can offer those same benefits while also providing people with the care they prefer.  Because they are fully-digital, digital therapeutics — such as Sleepio for poor sleep and Daylight for worry and anxiety — can provide people with personalized behavioral medicine techniques in the exact moment of need, at scale. Digital therapeutics deliver convenient, consistent care with no serious side effects. Rooted in evidence But digital therapeutics aren’t just convenient, consistent, and scalable, they also work. There is robust evidence that proves behavioral medicine techniques delivered in a digital format can help people overcome even the most stubborn mental health problems.  For example, Sleepio has been studied in over 30 peer-reviewed papers, representing more research participants than were included in studies for some of the most common psychiatric medications. Results from those studies demonstrate that Sleepio consistently reduces poor sleep symptoms and improves psychological well-being, after just six weeks, with effects lasting through a 48 week follow-up. Additionally, Daylight has been shown to help 71% of members move from clinical to non-clinical levels of worry and anxiety while also improving symptoms of low mood, sleep, and quality of life. A safe and effective non-drug alternative for mental health Recognizing the benefits of digital therapeutics doesn’t mean there isn’t still a role for psychiatric medication. Many people find medications effective, and it can also be helpful to combine medication with behavioral care. In some instances, medications can reduce symptoms that make it easier for people to start applying learned behavioral medicine skills. Digital therapeutics aren’t meant to replace medication, but rather be a complement for people who want more choices. Just as poor mental health isn't one-size-fits all, care shouldn’t be either. Offering your employees digital therapeutics provides them with safe and effective care options that they actually want. Disclaimer: In the US, Sleepio and Daylight have not been cleared by the FDA for use in diagnosis or treatment of a disease or condition, such as insomnia disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or major depressive disorder. Users are directed to not make any changes to their prescribed medication or other type of medical treatment without seeking professional medical advice.
Blog / 8 min read

Bringing employee mental health into focus — Part 2

This is the second in a three-part series focused on mental health literacy: what it is, why employees need it, and how to achieve it. Read part one now. In part one, Big Health’s Clinical Lead for Sleep Dr. Jennifer Kanady and Clinical Lead for Anxiety Dr. Michelle Davis explained how to recognize the signs of a mental health disorder and identified some risk factors associated with them. Today they’re focusing on how employees can find and secure quality mental health care. Key skill: Learning how to identify and obtain quality mental health care Once an employee is able to recognize symptoms of mental health problems, the next step toward mental health literacy is being able to address symptoms — either through care or learned coping skills — as they arise. In order for employees to seek effective care, they must first be able to answer: What is quality mental health care? The spectrum of evidence Like any kind of health care, mental health treatment should be well researched and evidence based. Dr. Davis says, “Psychology is a science, and treatments are studied in the same way medications are.” However, it’s important for employers — and their employees — to know that not all evidence is created equal. Dr. Kanady says, “On one end of the spectrum is less-rigorous, anecdotal evidence and testimonials, which while valuable, present with limitations. On the other is the gold standard: randomized controlled trials.” Interested in learning more about clinical evidence and what to look for? Check out our guide! Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard in clinical research because they: Include a control group that looks the same as the “treatment group” except that the control group does not receive the treatment being studied. This allows researchers to “control for” important variables that aren’t part of treatment, but may influence treatment outcomes, such as progression of time and therapist attention. Randomly assign people to either the control group or treatment group, which eliminates noise that can invalidate the study’s results. Look at changes in clinically validated measures of symptoms (e.g., PHQ-9, GAD-7 which are question instruments used to screen for the presence and severity of depression and anxiety, respectively.) before and after treatment. Involve a peer review process which gathers perspective from researchers who aren’t invested in the results. Over decades of research, RCTs have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the gold standard treatment for many mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and insomnia. How cognitive behavioral therapy works CBT works by helping people break the cycle of unhelpful thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that cause them to get stuck. For example, an employee with social anxiety disorder might have a deep fear of public speaking (ahem…). The fear is rooted in their belief that they’ll be negatively evaluated, which can lead to anxious thoughts (e.g., “I’ll make a fool of myself!”) and physical symptoms like sweating and a racing heart. To avoid this unpleasantness, they often procrastinate or avoid public speaking altogether, which keeps them from facing their fear. Dr. Davis says, “It’s a vicious cycle which prevents them from learning that things might actually have gone better than they think.” By approaching social anxiety with CBT, this employee would learn specific techniques to challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviors, such as avoidance. After building some skills, they would learn to face their fear of public speaking as an opportunity to test whether their unhelpful thoughts — about being negatively evaluated — are accurate. Over time, and with repeated practice of CBT techniques, the anxiety associated with this fear would start to subside. Tips for accessing quality care Unfortunately, there are a host of barriers that prevent employees from accessing CBT — largely because it’s traditionally delivered face-to-face with a therapist. For one thing, quality therapists are in short supply. In fact, half the counties in the US don’t have a single licensed mental health professional.  Other barriers to traditional therapy are also problematic. High costs, and the need to miss work and lose wages to attend a mid-day appointment are just a few — and these affect marginalized groups more than other populations.  The good news is that there are other ways to offer cognitive behavioral techniques to employees. Self-help tools like books and evidence-based digital therapeutics like Sleepio or Daylight, can be a good solution. However, if a company does choose to offer a digital solution, Dr. Davis says to be a “good consumer of evidence,” because many solutions may make claims about their efficacy that are supported by insufficient evidence. “Thousands of mental health solutions are available, but not all are based on evidence. Go to the company's website or contact them directly to see if they’ve done clinical trials supporting their claims.” We’re two-thirds of the way there The first two posts in this series focused on helping employees recognize the symptoms of a mental health disorder and cultivate the knowledge to seek and obtain quality mental health care. In the final installment, we highlight the third critical skill: tackling stigma. Disclaimer: In the US, Sleepio and Daylight have not been cleared by the FDA for use in diagnosis or treatment of a disease or condition, such as insomnia disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or major depressive disorder.
Blog / 6 min read

*Disclaimer: In the US, Sleepio and Daylight have not been cleared by the FDA for use in diagnosis or treatment of a disease or condition, such as insomnia disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or major depressive disorder. Users are directed to not make any changes to their prescribed medication or other type of medical treatment without seeking professional medical advice.

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP20-07-01-001, NSDUH Series H-55). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
2 Terlizzi, E. P., & Zablotsky, B. (2020). Mental Health Treatment Among Adults: United States, 2019. NCHS Data Brief, (380), 1-8. 
3 Soong, C., Burry, L., Greco, M., & Tannenbaum, C. (2021). Advise non-pharmacological therapy as first line treatment for chronic insomnia. BMJ, 372.
4 Lembke, A., Papac, J., & Humphreys, K. (2018). Our other prescription drug problem. The New England journal of medicine, 378(8), 693-695.
5 Pillai, V., Roth, T., Roehrs, T., Moss, K., Peterson, E. L., & Drake, C. L. (2017). Effectiveness of benzodiazepine receptor agonists in the treatment of insomnia: an examination of response and remission rates. Sleep, 40(2), zsw044.
6 Rickels, K., & Rynn, M. (2002). Pharmacotherapy of generalized anxiety disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 63(suppl 14), 9-16.
7 Carl, J. R., Miller, C. B., Henry, A. L., Davis, M. L., Stott, R., Smits, J. A., ... & Espie, C. A. (2020). Efficacy of digital cognitive behavioral therapy for moderate‐to‐severe symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Depression and anxiety, 37(12), 1168-1178.
8 Espie, C. A., Kyle, S. D., Williams, C., Ong, J. C., Douglas, N. J., Hames, P., & Brown, J. S. (2012). A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of online cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia disorder delivered via an automated media-rich web application. Sleep, 35(6), 769-781.