Building a smart mental health ecosystem

Christian Wahlen, CEO of PBM and Head of Mental Health at Kry, shares his views on how technology and its role in enabling access to mental health can support more patients live well.

By Kry Team

Mon May 23 2022   •   4 min read

The pandemic behind the pandemic

Over the last 20-30 years, we’ve become much better at measuring mental health issues in society, and in many countries the surrounding stigma has to some extent been overcome. Yet less acute, behavioural mental health problems – such as anxiety and depression – are on the rise, particularly amongst the young.

In the past few years, it’s become evident that mental health is the ‘pandemic behind the pandemic’ with mental health issues now being as evident as a common cold. But unlike a cold virus that often has short term impact,  the immediate and long term impact on mental health will have far reaching consequences and lasting detrimental effects for individuals and society. 

Recent UK research by Kry found that 26% of us feel stressed every day, and 66% every week. According to the World Health Organization,1 in 5 of the world’s children and adolescents suffer from a mental health condition which is equally challenging across the west and rest of world. 

Frankly, it’s a somewhat bleak situation – and one that is costly to healthcare systems and patients. 

Treating depression and anxiety costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year, while the total costs for managing mental ill health across the 28 EU countries is estimated at more than 4% of GDP.  

Indirectly, mental health issues are vastly impacting the lives of both sufferers and those around them. This has a knock-on effect on social behavior, society and families, as well as productivity and the economy.

And with limited capacity, our healthcare professionals are also stretched – I can speak from experience.

What is needed?

To deliver the best possible care, we need large-scale access to mental health services delivered in an efficient way. Why? It is simple- without efficiency we will limit access.

So, to enable seamless patient journeys and integrated care pathways, we need a cohesive ecosystem approach.

The revolution is not in the tech, but in how the system is connected.

We have the treatment. We have competent clinicians (yes, still not enough of them). We have good healthcare systems. But so far, we have not been successful in tying these systems together, which leads to the worsening of cases.

But, there is a solution, even if we are not there yet… and not until we have established a basic platform for next generation mental healthcare.

A smart mental health ecosystem

So, what does a smart mental health ecosystem look like?

A digital system connecting the numerous care pathways for diagnosing and treating mental health. A system that is built so that whoever steps into it,  is empowered to get the help they need, quickly.  

A digital system with multiple entry points. Pulling together case transitions, triages, referral systems and various contracts that are aligned with specific ways of connecting and delivering care within a certain country. An integrated mental healthcare pathway which truly caters to patient needs.

A digital system which integrates self-learning technology to lower costs, At Kry, we’ve proven we can deliver access to clinicians through our own digital solutions. But this now needs to go deeper. Now it’s about efficiency and delivering better patient outcomes – and tech has a crucial role to play here.  Through automation, smart tech and self-learning, we can offer quality treatment at lower costs and taking up less time, as well as  automate processes and personalize patient journeys through the system.

When we can use tech to build an extremely efficient mental healthcare ecosystem, healthcare providers win, our partners win, and most importantly – the patient wins. 


Kry Team

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