How Cerebral is bridging the accessibility gap for those seeking Mental Health Support

June 6, 2021

How Cerebral is bridging the accessibility gap for those seeking Mental Health Support
As with physical health conditions, mental health conditions require professional medical support
—but for too long, we have lived in a world where the health of the mind is undervalued.
For over a decade, mental illnesses have been increasing worldwide. Mental illness
is triggered by many factors, and each person’s experience with a mental illness is distinct. But
the rapid growth of mental illness has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in
experts ready to help counteract what has now been dubbed an epidemic. —Yet, with the advent
of innovative entrepreneurs and the possibilities of digital technologies, the access gap to
professional counseling support is beginning to narrow.
Accessibility barriers
First, it’s worth examining some of the facts and figures driving the mental health crisis. According
to Cigna Health, one in five Americans experienced a mental illness in 2018 and psychological
disorders have risen by 8% in the United States (US) over the last ten years, but what has driven
this uptick?
Socio-economic barriers
Certainly, one factor is the exorbitant costs of professional care across North America. In the US,
the average cost of a single therapy session ranges is between USD $80- $200, and between USD
$100-$145 in Canada. Because professional help is so expensive, people with mental illnesses are
not seeking the treatment they require. For this reason, obtaining mental health counselling or
psychiatric assistance is a luxury that many people can’t afford.
While North America's mental health crisis has long been acknowledged, it has
further deteriorated with the arrival of Covid-19. What the pandemic has done is exacerbate,
intensify, and, in some cases, bring such issues of inequity and inaccessibility to the forefront,
particularly for individuals and households of lower socio-economic status. As the pandemic
reached its most critical months, Cigna Health reported a significant increase in the number of
Americans seeking psychological support for anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other concerns.
Even so, 42% of Americans cited a lack of affordability as their primary barrier to accessing
mental health care for various illnesses.
Indeed, cultural stigmas are an additional factor which negatively impact an individual’s pathway
to treatment. In many Asian countries, for example, it is not uncommon for mental health issues
to receive shame. Due to the stigma of mental illness, there is a scarcity of professional
counsellors readily available for individuals in need. In 2017, the World Health Organization
Reported,‘There are fewer than nine mental health care providers for every 100,000 residents in China.’
One could say that the barriers to accessing professional mental health support can be found
both in North America and abroad, existing in different manifestations but affecting communities
in corresponding ways.
Towards a brighter future

Covid-19 had shed light on the accessibility and cultural gaps in mental health care systems
worldwide. Innovative technical solutions are now being developed to allow people to receive
physical and mental health care from remote locations.
Likewise, social media activism has reduced the stigma around mental illnesses, both by
educating and encouraging those in need to seek help. Online services are more affordable,
preserve anonymity, and are generally easier to access than traditional counselling methods.
Those who live in rural areas, for example, may have limited access to resources and therapists.
With the advent of online counselling, there are now a variety of options to choose from.

Virtual health steadily rising

Since Virtual Health is an emerging field, few companies have yet to establish themselves.
However, San Francisco start-up, Cerebral, is redesigning the way mental health care is
approached.

Established in 2020, Cerebral aims to eliminate the accessibility gap that millions of individuals
encounter when seeking mental health services. Cerebral's commitment to providing high
quality services at the lowest possible cost sets it apart from its competitors. Clients can choose
from three different plans depending on the level of support they require. Apart from low prices,
the California start-up accepts insurance from leading commercial healthcare providers — and
the list of providers it accepts claims from is continuously expanding.
In the US, new treatment options like this are gaining attention, as people look to less traditional
forms of mental health counselling for support. Despite the effects of the pandemic on mental
health, it has encouraged people to seek alternative forms of counselling support. Cerebral offers
some of the most high-quality virtual mental health services on the market. If you or someone
you know is interested in their services, you are invited to take their emotional assessment test.