The state of mental health in the US is abysmal. 1 in 5 American adults report suffering from mental illness–and nearly 1 in 3 between 18 and 25. A core piece of our thesis at USV focuses on broadening access to wellbeing, with mental health central to that. Our interest in the category has largely fallen into three buckets:
- Making it easier and cheaper for patients to receive care by bringing it onto new platforms. Much of the capital invested in mental health so far has gone into enabling the finding and receiving of care online. This shift has required behavior and regulatory change but it is leading to massive benefits for patients and providers as well as significant value creation. While there is a long way to go here, businesses like USV portfolio company Brave Health and a large handful of others are doing this quite well, segmented by approach, condition, severity, and other characteristics of care.
- Mental health in disguise: what are new formats or form factors that expand the definition of mental health by creating access to belonging or community? How can the idea of mental health treatment move beyond the 1:1 therapy construct? We’ve been thinking here about new frameworks that change the cost structure completely and create far broader access points, leading us to platforms like Mindset. Hanel wrote about this bucket in her post on Mental Health 3.0.
- Making treatment itself better. While the need and crisis has dramatically deepened, treatment options have seen very little evolution over the last 50 years. 30% of people diagnosed with major depressive disorders are resistant to current treatments. The mental health crisis won’t change course without both more access and also new options.
In the face of this, PAP (psychedelic assisted psychotherapy) stands out as a transformational opportunity. PAP centers on therapists utilizing psychedelics in their work with patients. Clinical trials, which now number in the thousands, show outsized outcomes that are both effective for patients with conditions that are resistant to other treatments and significantly longer lasting.
The opportunity around PAP and USV’s thesis around powerful networks that are transformational to the markets they are built in led us to Journey Clinical. Journey is building a decentralized clinic and B2B marketplace, empowering psychotherapists to provide psychedelic therapies to their patients. The platform provides training, community, and support for its therapist members as well as access to a safe and thorough prescribing network for their patients. Patients can in turn now access new treatment options through their existing trusted providers in a safe and supervised way. Today, this means the network of Journey therapists is able to utilize ketamine for KAP (ketamine assisted psychotherapy), which has been an FDA approved drug for decades and has emerged as an important option for treating depression. As the tested and approved therapies expand–with MDMA and psilocybin deep in clinical trials and showing very promising results–Journey’s offering will, too.
We are excited to work with Jonathan, Myriam, and the fantastic Journey team as we lead their Series A alongside Alley Corp, Fifty Years, and Able Partners. Journey’s network of therapists and the patients they serve is growing quickly and they are building out the team to take advantage of this unique opportunity to push a market forward. You can find out more about the roles they are looking for here.