And because so many are cautious of visiting their doctor or therapist in person, telehealth has, in many ways, filled the gap. However, existing telehealth infrastructure was often not sufficient to deal with a crisis of this magnitude, and many have found unconventional options easier to work with.
That is where Joon Care comes in. The mental health startup aims to provide therapy for individuals ages 13 to 24 that struggle with anxiety, depression, stress, and other conditions via a series of video chats with a licensed therapist.
The company took off in April 2020, when it came out of Pioneer Square Labs, a Seattle-based venture capital firm and startup studio.
Co-founder and chief executive Josh Herst said the pandemic’s impact on young people’s mental health has been large, and Joon wants to help.
"Joon's mission is to make high-quality mental health care accessible to teens and young adults everywhere," he said. "Unfortunately, as a result of COVID-19, over 70% of teens and young adults are now reporting clinically significant levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. The need for available mental health care has never been greater."
The service is currently available along the West Coast in Washington, Oregon, and California, but will soon expand to other states.
Joon Care’s Expansion
Helping the company expand will be a massive $3.5 million round of funding achieved in mid-November.
Investors in the company’s round of funding include Route 66 Ventures, who led the financing, as well as PSL Ventures, Vulcan Capital, and other angel investors. The company says the money will help them continue to assist young people struggling with mental health issues — something at which they have been remarkably successful.
“Our clients get the best parts of traditional therapy - live sessions with a qualified therapist - but on their terms,” said Joon co-founder and chief psychologist Dr. Amy Mezulis. "...Most importantly, it's working. Our clients are, on average, reporting less anxiety and depression across their course of treatment with Joon."
The Telehealth Market
Experts say the telehealth market has undergone a decade’s worth of innovation in under a year, and it shows in the numbers.
The telehealth market, according to research firm Markets and Markets, is currently estimated to be worth $38.7 billion and is growing at a compounded annual rate of nearly 40%. This means that by 2025, the market will be valued at over $191 billion.
This growth is seismic for a technology that was once considered a luxury. Now, telehealth is no longer a luxury — it is a necessity for many. Take Kimberly Sanders, who regularly visited a doctor to help her through her addiction recovery. The coronavirus made it impossible for Sanders to visit her doctor, so she began receiving telehealth consultations.
Before, it was difficult for Sanders to fit visits to the doctor in with her schedule. Now, the visits are quick, easy, and don’t require her to make a long drive to her doctor in order to receive care.
“I just step to the back at work for about 15-20 minutes and then I’m back right at work,” she said. “I don’t want to have to go back to having to go in person.”
Cases like Kimberly’s illustrate some of the most attractive features of the new telehealth landscape — convenience, ease of access, and safety. Instead of putting one’s health in jeopardy, one can now speak with doctors through the phone and receive the care needed on one’s schedule. And experts say this change of pace for the therapy and healthcare field is unlikely to go away once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.
Telehealth constitutes a revolution in healthcare, and companies like Joon Care are leading the charge. By providing a flexible service from licensed experts to individuals in need, the health industry will become more adaptable and better equipped to deal with issues like the coronavirus in the future.
About the Author
Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.