Jooncare provides online therapy aimed at young adults and teenagers. This innovation makes mental healthcare more accessible to an age range that tends to be left behind, helping to solve SDG 10: inequalities. Joon’s online format also completely reduces their carbon footprint and works toward sustainable communities.
Seattle Pacific University
JoonCare is a telehealth organization based in Seattle that offers online therapy and mental health resources for teenagers and young adults ranging from ages thirteen to twenty-four. JoonCare offers specialized therapy for four mental health issues; anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and emergency situations. By offering therapy online, teenagers and young adults have the ability to access high-quality mental health treatment without having to go anywhere, which breaks down the barrier of potential transportation issues. They also strive to disassemble financial barriers to therapy.
JoonCare offers evidence-based treatment programs that start at sixteen weeks. These evidence-based treatment programs are formed by taking scientific knowledge around mental health and applying it to make customized treatment programs for clients. With this approach, JoonCare specifically addresses the individual needs of their clients, which in turn contributes to individual and collective well-being.
Dr. Amy Mezulis and CEO John Herst were involved with the creation of JoonCare. They first connected and collaborated with each other to solidify the vision and principles of the company. They combined their talents-clinical psychology and technological engineering-to gauge what resources they would need to build a strong foundation and infrastructure for the company and app. They collaborated with advisors to establish the infrastructure and embed clinical psychology and technological engineering into the system. Once having cemented the system, they found investors to fund and support the program. Dr. Mezulis states that she helped start Jooncare because she “wanted to leave her ivory tower and really help people'' (Dr. Mezulis, 2021).
Jooncare’s primary goal is to create long-lasting effects of psychological relief for their patients. In general, telehealth for psychology is still in the newer stages (Jooncare was one of the first to tap into this market of telepsychology) and therefore has no concrete long-term effects, but rather goals that are supported with their data. Looking at the short-term effects, Jooncare’s clinicians are making important connections with patients. Dr. Mezulis is familiar with the difficult process to gain mental health help, as she explained, “mental care is one of the least covered areas by insurance within the medical field” (Dr.Mezulis, 2021). Jooncare gets back to prospecting patients within 24 hrs and connects them with a clinician, so that mental care may begin immediately, rather than three to six weeks that the traditional route entails. As a business, Jooncare has a very quick turnaround with connecting psychologists and patients, allowing for patients to start their mental health journey immediately and to work towards those long-term effects that psychologists aim to provide for their patients.
Co-founder Dr. Mezulis enlightened our group during the interview on the regular process of intake forms called the PHQ9 and the G87. “We do track, we are evidence-based kind of by design. So we use two evidence-based and reliable and valid assessment instruments...the PHQ9 and the G87. The PHQ9 is the one you do at all doctor’s appointments, it’s the one that asks you about your mood. The G87 is for anxiety” (Dr. Mezulis, 2021). Dr. Mezulis explains further that all patients complete these forms prior to every session, and through weekly data review, they are able to look at trends to see if symptoms are going down or if they are changing. “We are early, but so far our data is suggesting that our outcomes are at least as good as in-person therapy for this age group in treating depression and anxiety (Dr. Mezulis, 2021). While Jooncare is still early in the teletherapy field, they are currently matching the data from in-person therapy, suggesting that Jooncare is in fact working for the underprivileged youth that Jooncare seeks to reach.
Jooncare’s innovation--online access to mental healthcare--is actually the cornerstone of their business and therefore it can be fairly simple to measure its benefit. Jooncare has only been in business for about 2 years but has already expanded from a small startup to a growing company with 20 full-time employees, and a number of contracted therapists. Dr. Mezulis explained that she and her cofounder saw how healthcare was increasingly being provided online and thought, “why not mental health care?” This online business model has proven attractive to contract therapists who want to make a difference on their own schedule. Jooncare has benefited in turn by growing its customer base and being able to increase its revenues in the past year.
Jooncare’s overall benefit on society can be measured by its positive impact on teenage populations. Dr. Amy Mezulis explained that in recent years there have been growing numbers in symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as suicide becoming one of the most common forms of death in teens. Jooncare acts as an additional tool that teenagers can utilize from the comfort of their own phones to obtain help for mental health. “We came up with this idea to utilize technology to solve this problem. To make mental health care, evidence-based, high-quality mental health care, more accessible so that it can be gotten from anywhere on the devices that teenagers are used to. But also more engaging… our service is traditional therapy but it’s supported by an app that has skills and guided meditation, and symptom tracking” (Dr. Mezulis, 2021). Mental health care is one of the more difficult services to acquire, especially as a minority adolescent, because of the long wait times to get matched with a therapist. Jooncare cuts down those wait times and is able to start care twenty-four hours after the patient initially reaches out, allowing Jooncare to effectively match demand to their supply of contracted clinicians. This creates a new pathway for individuals to receive necessary psychological care. As a growing number of Americans lack medical insurance, Jooncare offers some care at a discounted price, enabling the same high level of mental health care at a patient's fingertips.
Dr. Amy Mezulis, Co Founder and Chief Psychologist
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Seattle, Washington, US
Business Website: https://www.joon.com
Year Founded: 2018
Number of Employees: 11 to 50