Doctor Anywhere launches online mental health consultation service

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Singapore-headquartered telehealth startup Doctor Anywhere announced it has launched an online mental health video consultation service. This is in addition to a suite of other tele-health services including GP consultation, lactation consultancy, and an in-app Marketplace with a range of wellness products and services, including booking appointments for home-based healthcare services.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT

This new service allows users to choose from a panel of registered psychologists and counsellors and book therapy sessions over video consultation on the Doctor Anywhere app. The 60-minute sessions can be conducted in the privacy of the user’s own home via calls that are end-to-end encrypted, and patient records are kept confidential.

WHY IT MATTERS

A systemwide user survey conducted by Doctor Anywhere in June this year highlighted the stigma and barriers faced by youths in seeking mental health support despite their better mental health awareness.

Key findings include:

9 in 10 respondents aged 18 to 24 know of friends or family who are seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist for mental health issues. This may imply a greater awareness and openness to discussing the topic of mental health.

Top conditions stated by respondents aged 18 to 24 that they are most likely to seek therapy for are stress, depression, anxiety, and family and relationship problems.

Fear of judgment and the high cost of therapy are more likely to deter respondents aged 18 to 24 from seeking professional help, compared to other age groups.

Respondents aged 18 to 34 are significantly more receptive to seeking therapy compared to the older age groups.

THE LARGER TREND

Doctor Anywhere launched the COVID-19 Medical Advisory Clinic earlier in April this year and in March, the startup secured a $27 million Series B financing round led by Square Peg – the largest venture capital fund in Australia, Singapore Government investment arm – EDBI, and IHH Healthcare, a leading international healthcare provider.

Seeking mental health help, treatment and support via digital means has grown during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic – in Asia, examples of mental health apps include Wysa and Intellect.

ON THE RECORD

“The unique challenges created by the pandemic have brought about an unprecedented level of stress, anxiety and other symptoms of poor mental health to the world. Since the pandemic started, we’ve observed more users consulting our doctors for stress-related issues such as insomnia. Access to support for mental wellbeing is more critical now than ever before,” said Lim Wai Mun, founder and CEO of Doctor Anywhere.

“The topic of mental health is still a taboo in Asian societies. We want to provide a safe and accessible environment for people to seek help from psychologists and counsellors easily and conveniently. A virtual platform like Doctor Anywhere can reduce the psychological barrier associated with visiting a mental health professional, and provide time and cost savings for both the user and the provider,” he added.