Big Health Adds Clinically Proven Digital Therapeutics to Treat Adolescent Depression and Anxiety
At the start of 2023, I shared a strategic vision and ambitious plans for Big Health to expand its role in addressing the global mental health crisis by broadening the use of clinical-grade, non-drug treatments for the most common mental health conditions. Thanks to very focused teamwork, we’re performing well ahead of our 2023 financial and operating plans, including pacing to enroll more people in our clinically-validated programs at even higher levels of treatment efficacy than in any recent year. Now we’re building on that momentum by expanding into adolescent mental health.
The opportunity to deliver scalable, digital, evidence-based therapeutics is bigger than it’s ever been, and nowhere is this more evident than within today’s adolescent population. The pandemic exacerbated the youth mental health crisis, more than doubling depression and anxiety rates1 — and the latest figures show up to 80% of young people don’t receive adequate treatment.2 Working parents are shouldering the burden, as 71% report that issues with their child’s mental and emotional wellbeing made coping with workplace stresses more difficult.3
To accelerate our ability to serve this need, we have acquired Limbix, creators of SparkRx, the first evidence-based digital therapeutic for teens and young adults with symptoms of depression. SparkRx is designed to overcome barriers to mental health care access by meeting young people on their smartphones, and is supported by trial data demonstrating a clinically meaningful reduction in depression symptoms.4,5,6 The self-guided, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) based treatment for those aged 13+ teaches skills such as mood tracking, behavioral activation, problem solving, and mindfulness.
Improving adolescent mental health is a theme that is echoing throughout our ongoing customer conversations. It is an area where the existing forms of care – medications and therapy – are even more inadequate than within the adult population. There is an understandable reluctance to put our young developing minds on medications and the availability of truly effective, evidence-based therapy for adolescents is sorely lacking. Digital is arguably the only way forward, and it is the preferred modality by adolescents.
Importantly, Big Health now goes to market with an expanded digital therapeutic platform that covers the most common mental health needs: Sleepio, our flagship product for insomnia; Daylight for anxiety; and now SparkRx for depression. The acquisition also includes Limbix’s digital treatment pipeline including a developing product in adolescent anxiety that we expect to bring to market and adds world-class, mission-aligned talent that will further accelerate Big Health’s industry leading team. Together, this portfolio of evidence-based, digital treatments will enable a record number of adult and adolescent patients to immediately access safe and effective non-drug treatment options.
We are extremely excited about our future and our team’s ability to positively impact mental health at scale. I look forward to sharing more progress on our important mission in the coming months.
About Arun Gupta:
Arun Gupta is Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman of Big Health, the leading provider of clinical grade, non-drug treatments for the most common mental health conditions. Big Health’s products are proven in over 80 peer-reviewed papers to deliver clinical outcomes without serious side effects. Previously, Arun founded Quartet Health, a technology and clinical services company scaling effective mental health access in partnership with insurers and health systems. He led Quartet through a significant scale-up serving as CEO for Quartet’s first five years and then Executive Chairman of the Board. Earlier, Arun built and scaled several industry-defining companies as a General Partner at Accretive. The firm’s launches created over $5B of equity value including several IPOs with successes like Accolade, R1, Fandango, and others. Arun earned a Master’s Degree from the Harvard Kennedy School where he was a Reynolds Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship and graduated with honors from Duke University.
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During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Sleepio and Daylight are being made available as treatments for insomnia disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), respectively, without a prescription. SparkRx is available as treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) with health care provider authorization. SparkRx, Sleepio and Daylight have not been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), insomnia disorder and GAD respectively.
1 Racine N, McArthur BA, Cooke JE, Eirich R, Zhu J, Madigan S. Global Prevalence of Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Children and Adolescents During COVID-19: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2021;175(11):1142–1150. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.2482
2 Beth A. Stroul, MEd, Gary M. Blau, PhD, and Justine Larson, MD, The Evolution of the System of Care Approach for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with Mental Health Conditions and Their Families, The Institute for Innovation and Implementation, School of Social Work, University of Maryland, 2021.
3 Marti Bledsoe Post, The Great Collide: The Impact of Children’s Mental Health on the Workplace, On Our Sleeves, Spring 2021.
4 Kulikov VN, Crosthwaite PC, Hall SA, Flannery JE, Strauss GS, Vierra EM, Koepsell XL, Lake JI, Padmanabhan A. A CBT-based mobile intervention as an adjunct treatment for adolescents with symptoms of depression: a virtual randomized controlled feasibility trial. Front Digit Health. 2023 May 23;5:1062471. doi: 10.3389/fdgth.2023.1062471. PMID: 37323125; PMCID: PMC10262850.
5 Lake et al., Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Evidence of Efficacy of a Digital Intervention for Adolescent Depression. Under review.
6 Padmanabhan et al., Preliminary Efficacy of a Digital Intervention for Adolescent Depression: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Under review.
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