UK-based Healios raises €8.1 million to expand its digital mental health services for children and young people

Healios, an online therapy platform for children and young people with mental health and neurodiverse conditions, has raised €8.1 million to expand its platform and improve access to much-needed therapy programmes for families.

The Series A round was led by InHealth Ventures with participation from existing investors AlbionVC. The fresh funds will now enable Healios to widen its provision and meet the significant and rising demand for mental health support among children and young people.

The startup explained that currently, 12.8% of 5-19 year olds in the UK have a mental health disorder but two-thirds are unable to access government-funded care because of soaring demands and long waiting lists. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified demand even further.

Founded in 2013, Healios’ virtual care platform delivers tailored digital interventions including specialist clinical assessments, therapy sessions and bespoke support programmes through its employed network of sector-leading clinicians, integrated tools, self-management apps and a telemedicine platform. So far, more than 70,000 specialised clinical sessions have been delivered through Healios.

The startup’s digital intervention sessions and programmes reduce waiting times for assessment and treatment. This ensures that more young people can access vital services, as well as reach patients regardless of location, which is crucial for those who would otherwise find attending clinical settings difficult or distressing. The offering also reduces infrastructure costs and supports the digital transformation agenda.

What makes Healios so unique? It takes a family-centric approach to assessment, therapy and treatment plans, with research showing that involving loved ones in the care process significantly improves clinical outcomes for patients. This approach has seen Healios develop and launch the world’s first online, family-focused therapy programme for young people with psychosis and schizophrenia. In one study of severe mental illness, researchers found that involving family members from the start can reduce mortality by as much as 90%, of which the largest cause of mortality was suicide.

Healios will use the new Series A funding to invest in new assessment and treatment programmes, enabling it to make even more services available to the UK’s National Health Service, and other health organisations. The company will also expand its AI, machine learning and data science expertise, adding to a team whose headcount has already grown by 116% since early 2020. In addition, Healios will be accelerating plans to expand internationally later this year.

InHealth Ventures and InHealth Group Chair, Richard Bradford, will be joining the Healios board, alongside Cat McDonald of AlbionVC.

Rich Andrews, Founder and CEO of Healios, said: “The UK is facing a mental health crisis. Demand far outsrips supply and technology has a vital role to play in closing that gap. We’re immensely proud of the lives we’ve already changed through Healios. This funding will help us reach more families in need and enable us to develop further sector-leading interventions and therapies. By bringing together clinical experts and giving them the tools to reach their patients regardless of where they are, we are closing the access gap which has plagued mental health provision for far too long.

“We’re delighted to bring such esteemed investors onto the team as we deepen our clinical provision and expand our global reach. Both InHealth Ventures and existing investors AlbionVC bring with them highly specialised knowledge when it comes to navigating health systems and scaling innovative healthcare technologies.”

Dr Ben Evans, Managing Director of InHealth Ventures, said: “Healios is a standard bearer for healthcare innovation. They bring together clinical excellence with digital expertise, working in partnership with the NHS to address a critical, but complex area of care delivery. Healios’ work to date speaks for itself; their holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment has had a substantive impact on clinical outcomes and patient experience. We’re thrilled to have led this round and are excited to partner with the Healios team as they continue their pioneering and hugely important work.”

Cat McDonald, Investor at AlbionVC, said: “COVID has engendered a pace of innovation previously unseen in healthcare. In particular, we have seen that remote care not only works, but often works much better than traditional alternatives. The option to receive care remotely, at home and in a family-centric setting is the strong preference of most kids suffering from poor mental health, which is why we are delighted to continue supporting the incredible Healios team as they continue on their mission of bringing accessible care to the next generation”