On Demand Mental Healthcare App Changes The Stigma of Being Crazy

There’s always new apps – new noise.

But in Chicago’s Matter at Merchandise Mart, which attracts the likes of the AMA and other healthcare companies in the city, there’s something more than affordable healthcare in our future – there’s on demand healthcare.

On Demand Doctors:

And what does it look like to have a provider on demand?

You don’t have to have a steady relationship with a previous provider. No one is going to create or —eek— dig up your file.

You can be as anonymous as Mrs. X or Mr. Y- and get one of the most underserved healthcare treatments on an app, no less. And that app is Emotilink.

Chicago Startup Story:

In a small coffee shop where I read “bloom where you are planted,” I met a woman from a Chicago event – Bloggers Meet Startups.

This woman, Vanessa Cutler, co-founder of Emotilink, is an overachiever. At the age of 31 she’s lived on South Beach, performed surgery in the Dominican Republic, has her MFA in fiction writing as a Michener Fellow, and a second masters in Public Health. As she finishes her MD this month, she sits and tells me how this all began – how she finished up med school and  is on the verge of launching her first app at the same time.

This past October, Cutler met with lifelong friend Christopher Capshaw, an experienced healthcare professional, and they decided to change the way we do healthcare—mental healthcare.

 

Emotilink founders
Emotilink founders at Matter in Merchandise Mart. 

 

Mental Health Stigmas:

There’s three main reasons why people don’t seek out treatment:

  1. No available providers within reasonable driving  range
  2. The stigma
  3. No time

In an unpredictable world, we don’t need a couch or an hour to talk about our problems.

“A lot of people don’t like waiting in a waiting room,” Cutler said.

And we don’t need evidence to prove that we were crazy at one point or another. The app doesn’t keep a file on your session.

“We are the most libertarian of healthcare platforms – we just do a third party background check on providers,” Cutler said. “The platform is designed to connect providers with users on their own terms.”

But as the user, you fill out a profile and there is a record of who you saw last and appointment reminders for your next session, but there’s no medical record kept on the platform. It’s just for you.

With as little as an impulsive 15 minutes, you can talk things out.

“We want to scale so that it eventually becomes on demand. What if you had a bad day had a breakup or lost your job? – you can talk to someone,” Cutler said.

Because that’s what we need – someone to vent to, to talk through life with and to know that this too shall pass.

The app goes beyond individual care and actually encompasses all provider types – including marriage counseling or family therapy.  You can have more than one person link into the session and now having a spread out family doesn’t mean you can’t mend old ties.

It’s only been two weeks ago that Emotilink moved into the Matter incubator, and Capshaw and Cutler have already wire framed their idea using Pidoko and will start building their prototype this month.

Emotilink will be beta tested in Chicago, New York City, and Dallas this summer.

When I asked Cutler how her relationship with her friend has changed since they became business partners, she said, “We talk a lot more than we used to. We talk like 10 times a day. When you are in business with someone, it’s like a marriage!”

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