The National Mental Health Commission estimates that poor mental health costs the Australian economy almost 60 billion AUD each year. Some three million Australians live with anxiety and depression according to Beyond Blue. During treatment by clinical psychologists, therapy is prescribed and adjusted based on information reported by the patients. Examples are journal entries about patients’ moods and feelings. This information is often sporadic and incomplete, resulting in incomplete input to implement an effective treatment strategy. As a result, patients often drop out between treatments or relapse after treatment. In addition to costing the economy, drop-outs and relapses lead to a loss of faith in the psychotherapy process. The current situation puts an enormous burden on psychologists and the Medicare system as a whole. This results in limitations on treatment options available to patients such as having only 10 rebated sessions per year. This number is reported by psychologists to be often insufficient in successfully treatment most patients, resulting in a greater financial burden on the patient.
As a solution to this problem of having insufficient and/or inaccurate data to work with, Philia Labs is developing a wearable device which measures, records and analyses biometric data from the patient, which is intended to be more accurate and reliable as opposed to subjective reporting by the patient. Based on the concept that “the body does not lie”, we believe that objectively measuring biometrics and correlating them to stress-related events can help the patient and psychologist gain deeper insight into the root of the patient’s problems in a more efficient manner. The psychologist and patient are expected to collaborate together to track and adjust treatment between the sessions. Since the patient receives more feedback, it is hypothesised that the success rate of patients achieving the objectives of the therapy will increase. In addition, psychologists are expected to gain greater trust from the patients. The usage of biometric data is therefore expected to significantly reduce the costs of therapy per patient and therefore, the costs of poor mental health in Australia.
Philia Labs is an early stage start-up founded in 2018. Our mission is to empower people to better handle their mental health.
Our team comprises of three co-founders with backgrounds in nanomaterials, electronics and biomedical engineering. We are currently in the process of validation of our business hypotheses among the clinical/coaching psychologist community and developing the device prototype.