As people deal with pandemic stress, the business of keeping you zen is booming

Mental health funding hit $1.4B through the first 9 months of 2020, already more than all of last year.

October 19, 2020

Credit: Jasmin Merdan

We all have that friend who had the most “life-changing experience” during their 2-week meditation retreat in northern Thailand.

While some used to mock these free souls, everyone is now trying to calm their minds amid the insanity of quarantine life — many at the push of a button.

Mental health startups have attracted ~$1.4B in funding through the first 9 months of the year, already more than all of 2019, according to Pitchbook.

There have been a string of mental health mega-rounds

A good chunk of this funding has come from 9-figure deals:

  • Amwell, which provides behavioral health and telehealth services, raised $194m in May before going public last month
  • Mindstrong, a platform to provide therapy for severe mental health issues, raised $100m in May
  • Lyra Health, which deals with digital behavioral health, raised $110m in August

Now, Calm wants to (somewhat ironically) get in on the mania, with a reported fundraise of $150m at a $2.2B valuation.

There’s been a massive spike in mental health issues

A CDC study from June revealed that 31% of Americans struggled with anxiety or depression.

These figures are a scary jump from <10% in 2019, almost certainly related to stressors brought on by the pandemic.

This dramatic rise — combined with the ease of accessing mental health apps and a dearth of direct flights to Southeast Asia — means the money will likely keep rolling into this space.

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