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A SilverCloud lining in uncertain times

April 15, 2020 No Comments

Digital mental health company helps improve outcomes and maximise access to mental health care in a time of crisis

One of the world’s leading digital mental health providers, SilverCloud Health, is opening up part of its platform free of charge to help millions of people cope with the impact of Covid-19.

It’s a radical move by the company but one which is wholly in line with its values, explains chief executive Ken Cahill.

The Irish company, which has offices in Boston, Dublin and London, responded early to the pandemic by reaching out to its clients and partner organisations across the UK, Europe and North America, to ask what SilverCloud could do to help.

“As a result we provided, free of charge, a range of programmes in relation to stress, sleep and resilience,” says Cahill, who estimates the programmes will be made available, for free, to its clients’ 150 million customers.

SilverCloud also developed dedicated programmes for Covid-19, of benefit to everyone from frontline workers in health care systems; employees working remotely and those struggling with a range of Covid related issues such as self care, financial challenge and bereavement. “All are things which, unfortunately, a lot of people will face in the coming weeks,” he says.

Values driven

The cost of the initiative is being absorbed by SilverCloud. “We are a values driven, mission oriented organisation,” he says.  “Though we are venture backed this is such a significant issue that everybody is acutely aware of the challenges facing all of us, and the need that exists for everybody to row in together.”

Among the beneficiaries of SilverCloud’s move are Ireland’s Health Services Executive, the country’s public health care system, and the UK’s NHS (National Health Service), which is offering its programmes for free to frontline staff and their families.

Canadian retail pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart, which has more than 1400 stores, is offering SilverCloud’s programmes for free to its 30 million customers.

“While Shoppers Drug Market is vastly different to SilverCloud in terms of size and scale, we are both very similar in values,” explains Cahill, welcoming the move as one of “coming together and uniting to help people”.

Backed by research

SilverCloud was spun out of decade-long academic and clinical research, in 2012. Its proven programmes are the result of a collaborative project between Ireland’s Mater University Hospital, Trinity College Dublin and Ireland’s National Digital Research Centre.

Today, SilverCloud is used by over 300 organisations globally to meet their populations’ mental health needs. Global experts have deeply validated the platform through full randomized control trials and real-world data from over 350,000 SilverCloud users.

It has delivered more than 1 million hours of digital therapy, with 20,000 new users a month coming to the platform.

Beyond its industry-leading results in clinical trials, its real-world evidence demonstrates that up to 65 percent of SilverCloud users have shown clinically significant decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms.

“Accessibility and usability are key but outcomes are our North Star,” says Cahill.

Use of the platform allows its three key stakeholders – purchasers, prescribers and end users – to make best use of limited resources. In a pandemic, that becomes more difficult than ever to do. “All are looking for solutions to deliver care in a remote environment,” he says.

SilverCloud is currently expanding its presence in Europe, where it partners with companies such as Thieme Telecare, part of the Thieme Group, one of the leading providers of integrated care in Germany.

It is also growing in the US. Express Scripts, one of the largest US pharmacy benefit management organisations serving more than 100m people, has included SilverCloud in its newly launched portfolio of digital health offerings.

Even prior to the pandemic however, healthcare systems the world over struggled to find the resources to deliver effective care.

Optimising resources

SilverCloud enables accessible and therapeutic virtual support with a clinically validated, outcomes-based platform that is proven to help the 1 in 5 people with a diagnosed mental health condition.

As well as its wellness and mental health programmes, SilverCloud provides effective programs to support chronic disease such as diabetes, where up to 45% of people have a mental health issue such as depression coexisting. Traditionally the cost of providing care in such cases can multiply by between two and four times if underlying mental health condition is not treated.

SilverCloud’s proven ability to help care providers optimise resources, and to provide positive clinical outcomes, is the reason behind its investor success.

The company recently secured Series B funding of $16 million, led by California based MemorialCare Innovation Fund, Boston based healthcare investor LRV Health, OSF Ventures and UnityPoint Health Ventures.

OSF Ventures is part of OSF Healthcare, an integrated health care network serving patients across Illinois and Michigan. UnityPoint Health Ventures is the venture capital arm of UnityPoint Health – one of the US’s most integrated health systems.

The Series B funding round brings SilverCloud’s total funding to date to more than $30 million.

This will support further expansion across the UK, North America and Europe, as well as research and development of a range of new therapies. These include specialist programmes for children and younger people as well as new programmes for oncology patients and cancer survivors.

“The majority of those who have invested in us have been customers of ours, with firsthand experience of delivering this. They believe in what we are doing and have followed that up with investment,” says Cahill.

Given that its investors touch almost 40% of all patients in the US health system, it’s a huge seal of approval.

The fact that European governments, large scale health bodies and international insurers are reaching out to SilverCloud for help through the current crisis backs it up. “This is not a tool, or an app. It’s a credible, proven platform for delivering care,” he says.

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