Oren Frank’s Talkspace

Magellan Health, one of the largest insurance providers in America, recently signed a deal with Talkspace, meaning that the platform may soon be accessible by anyone with a Magellan Health insurance plan.

Talkspace is an innovative therapy app, founded by former health care professional Oren Frank in 2012. By late 2017 Talkspace had over 500,000 users and employed over 1000 professional mental health care providers.

Talkspace brings therapists directly to users either through daily text messages or through half-hour long video chat sessions. This allows people living in remote areas or people who are too busy to visit a therapist regularly, to access mental health care that would otherwise be impossible for them to receive. Furthermore, by being available to anyone, Talkspace is reducing the stigma associated with therapy.

When asked to prove the efficacy of online therapy, Frank referenced a study of about 90,000 veterans. The veterans received access to mental health care in an online setting, and as a result, the number of incidents and hospitalization caused by mental health issues was reduced by 25 percent.

While Oren Frank has said that there are some drawbacks associated with online therapy, his team is working hard to overcome them. Therapists employed by Talkspace are being trained to convey the empathy and warmth required for therapy to work through text message and short video sessions. These efforts are paying off and Talkspace is allowing therapy to be accessed by anyone.