Kyle Robertson discusses the future of mental health

Becker’s Hospital Review, a leading healthcare publication, recently talked with Kyle Robertson, co-founder and CEO of Cerebral, about the future of mental health. The podcast covered a lot of ground. Here are the key highlights from the episode:

Cerebral’s founding (1:50)

Kyle co-founded Cerebral primarily as a result of his personal experience with depression. Although both his parents are mental health clinicians, he still struggled to get help, mainly because he didn't want to admit he was depressed and talk to others about it. He also came out as gay around the same time, which made it even more difficult. When he finally did get care, he was struck by the long wait times and inconsistent quality. As a result, he decided to create a solution. Cerebral was born out of this mission to increase access to high-quality mental health care for all.

Personalized care (4:24)

Due to Cerebral’s large group of experienced clinicians and advanced technology infrastructure, we’re able to offer personalized, on-demand care for a range of symptoms. For example – say someone who is Asian American, lives in Florida, associates as LGBTQ, previously served in the military, and suffers from PTSD – signed up on our platform looking for care. This approach will allow us to become the one-stop for high-quality mental health care, as we’re able to treat depression, and anxiety, in addition to what are considered more serious mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder.

Tracking outcomes (5:34)

In general, the majority of mental health providers don’t regularly monitor clinical outcomes. And if they are, they are not done so in a meaningful way. Cerebral aims to change that through a scientific and data-driven approach. We leverage symptom-based rating scales – like the PHQ-9, GAD-7, ISI, MDQ, and others – that enable us to not only track progress, but do so in a way that’s actionable. 

Destigmatizing care (7:11)

Data shows there’s been a dramatic uptick in mental health illness over the past few years. You see it everywhere, with a notable example during the Tokyo Olympics, when Simone Biles took the courageous step of prioritizing her mental health over the sport. And that’s one reason we joined up with her and she is our honorary Chief Impact Officer. We are seeing – and we’re here to support – this cultural shift that’s saying it’s a good thing to focus on your mental wellbeing. This will help people who are suffering in silence get the care they deserve and need.

Quality over quantity (9:01)

Cerebral has been growing quickly, and part of that is a testament to how much we as a nation need mental health care. But even while growing, our goal is to deliver high-quality care. So we’re always looking at ways to implement and improve the right evidence-based guidelines in our care.

Virtual care is here to stay (10:10)

There’s been a massive uptick in the use of virtual care over the past few years. And even with this shift, the data tells us that the clinical outcomes seen through in-person vs. virtual are equal to if not better than in person care. This is also opening up new opportunities for people who never would have been able to get access to care due to location, and also lack of insurance. Just one stat as prof: 60 percent of Cerebral clients have never received mental healthcare before, but because of telemedicine, they were able to get the care needed quickly and tailored to them.

International expansion (13:50)

The mental health crisis is not just contained in the United States. That’s why Cerebral is focused on expanding services internationally. We just recently in the United Kingdom, working with the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, which can be viewed as the premier single-payer system. 

Building a team to transform care (15:35)

This is personal and meaningful work for Cerebral’s employees, and they care deeply about the mission. We’re intentional about the people that we bring into the organization, including our clinicians, support staff, and all levels of leadership. Working with like-minded people driven to create change is one of the main driving forces in my life. We will make a difference thanks to our amazing team.

Listen to the full podcast on Becker’s Hospital Review.

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