Written by: Carla Chinski
Contxto – Democratizing access to mental health services is a big deal when it comes to aiding those who need it most. At the same time, how people feel often reflects their work performance. Knowing this is the Brazilian healthtech Vittude that recently raised R$4.5 million (over US$1 million) in a round led by Redpoint eventures.
Over the last two years, Vittude has grown between 60 and 80 percent. Among its 10 big-name corporate clients are 99 and Grupo Positivo de Educação. Moving forward, it plans on closing contracts with at least 30 companies by the end of 2020.
Eventually, it also plans to launch a dashboard for HR staff to oversee employees’ engagement with the app. This will also involve a tool that can anticipate diseases.
Push for online therapy
While the harmful effects of chronic stress and tiredness (burnout) become more apparent, more startups are beginning to address this issue, like Vittude. To promote online therapy and wellbeing as corporate benefits, the Brazilian platform connects patients with qualified therapists both on and off-online.
Based in São Paulo, Tatiana Pimenta founded Vittude in 2016. Suffering from depression herself and not knowing where to find help, Pimenta wanted to find a solution. Now it’s a matter of showing people the importance of mental health.
“Our challenge is to educate people and to make them realize that (…) there is no health without mental health,” she said to the Cartier Women’s Initiative regarding the company’s mission.
As a monetization strategy, Vittude offers a trimester tax-rate on each consultation. Currently, Vittude has 5,000 patients making weekly appointments, with 20,000 patients in total. It also employs over 3,000 working psychologists. They also subsidize half of the consultation cost.
Vittude DASS-21 survey
This past year, Vittude conducted the DASS-21 (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale) questionnaire developed by Ph.D. candidate Peter Lovibond at the University of New South Wales, Australia.
Between October 2016 and April 2019, more than 490,000 Brazilians responded to the 21-question survey. Specifically, it measures the intensity of people’s emotions over a seven-day period.
Based on the results of the study, 86 percent of respondents suffered from some sort of mental disorder. Even more, 59 percent showed severe depression while 63 percent showcased anxiety. Since mental health issues can also affect workplace performance, the democratization of access to therapy is key.
Mental health startups in Latin America
Not long ago, we covered the fellow Brazilian healthtech Youper, an app that encourages mindfulness and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with its chatbot interface. This past summer, it raised US$3 million in a round led by Goodwater Capital to scale the platform.
Both Vittude and Youper are part of a much larger trend happening in Silicon Valley, with Kip, Reflect and Two Chairs developing therapy platforms as well. The benefits of virtual mental health services? More privacy, cheaper fees and more ample access.