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Investing in Mental Health Care Innovation for Canadians

Vancouver, Canada — Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In Canada, depression and anxiety cost approximately $50 billion annually in lost productivity. Current figures indicate that at any given time, one in five people are struggling with mental illness and, two thirds of sufferers are left untreated due to neglect, stigma, cost, and lack of access to treatment. Wait times for access to treatment can be up to 18 months. The Canadian Mental Health Association stated that Canada currently only spends about 7.2% of its total health-care budget on mental health, which is among the lowest of all G7 countries.

In an effort to make mental health support more accessible, Genome BC has invested in BC based Starling Minds. The company has developed a workplace Mental Health Platform for organizations as an on-demand, 100% digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) solution so that there are minimal barriers for employees to access evidence-based support. With a digital approach to CBT, Starling can provide millions of people with effective and affordable mental health care.

Peter Oxley, Starling Minds’ CEO shares, “Mental illness has become a pervasive problem where an estimated 500,000 Canadians are unable to work on any given day.” He adds, “There could not be a better time for us to harness innovative digital technologies to remove these barriers and make evidence-based mental health care accessible to everyone.”

Starling’s Mental Fitness (prevention) and Return-to-Health (return-to-work) solutions provide workers with a comprehensive set of CBT based mental health tools that achieve the following outcome claims based on anonymous self-reported data:

  • An improvement in mental health scores (on average, 77% report a reduction in stress, anxiety and depression)
  • An increase in worker productivity (on average, 51 hours/year of reduced absenteeism per employee)
  • A reduction in disability claim costs (90% cheaper than traditional face-to-face therapy)

Starling Minds has recently surpassed growth targets with a 200% increase in their member base. This is attributed to rapid client expansion in education, healthcare, and insurance verticals.

“Genome BC uses our Industry Innovation Fund to invest in relevant and timely initiatives,” says Dr. Tony Brooks, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Entrepreneurship & Commercialization. “We are putting dollars into Starling to support BC based digital health content developers and create more jobs for highly-skilled people with AI and machine learning skills.”

Genome BC has invested in Starling through its Industry Innovation (I²) program. The I² Fund provides commercialization support for companies developing innovative life science technologies that address biological challenges in key economic sectors in BC: Agriculture, Energy and Mining, Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Forestry, and Human Health. The I² Fund also supports digital health and other technologies that further move precision medicine into clinical practice. I² funding is repayable and is allocated to promising technologies (products, processes or services) at the early stages of commercial development. The Fund aims to provide risk capital that is concurrently matched by other public or private funding sources.


About Genome British Columbia:

About Genome British Columbia: Genome British Columbia leads genomics innovation on Canada’s West Coast and facilitates the integration of genomics into society. A recognized catalyst for government and industry, Genome BC invests in research, entrepreneurship and commercialization in life sciences to address challenges in key sectors such as health, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, agrifood, energy, mining and environment. Genome BC partners with many national and international public and private funding organizations to drive BC’s bioeconomy.

About Starling Minds:

Starling Minds™ is a leading digital mental health platform that empowers organizations to support mental wellbeing in the workplace. Available to over 420,000 employees across North America, Starling offers evidence-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to support and rehabilitate workers coping with stress, anxiety, and depression—any time, anywhere.

Starling Minds’ mission is to make affordable and effective mental health care accessible to everyone. By offering a digital platform with personalized customer experience, Starling aims to provide millions of people with access to effective and affordable mental healthcare.

Starling Minds. Build Resilient Minds.

Sean Hougan
Director of Marketing
Starling Minds
Mobile: 604-354-5366

Jennifer Boon
Communications Manager, Sectors
Genome BC
Mobile: 778-327-8374
@genomebc #genomebc

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    Sean Hougan

    Sean is a passionate marketing professional who is even more passionate about mental health. She envisions a world wherein communities and societies work together to ensure that everyone has what they need for mental, emotional and physiological wellness.

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