How Self-Therapy Startups are Improving Access to Mental Health Care

How Self-Therapy Startups are Improving Access to Mental Health Care

Self-therapy startups are at the forefront of revolutionizing mental health care.

Today, millions of individuals face diverse psychological challenges, and the need for accessible and effective mental health care has become increasingly apparent. 

Unfortunately, the truth remains that numerous individuals face significant barriers when it comes to accessing appropriate healthcare services. These barriers manifest in the form of stigma and misinformation, lack of experienced professionals, no comprehensive policies and the financial burden of treatment. A striking example of this is that over 75 percent of U.S. counties lack mental health prescribers, resulting in prolonged wait times for treatment.

Remarkably, as society becomes more attuned to the challenges surrounding access to treatment, a demand for innovative solutions has gained momentum. Given that, self-therapy startups have emerged as a promising development. These startups offer a range of online self-help tools and resources that empower individuals to proactively manage their psychological well-being without relying solely on professional assistance.

Although self-therapy cannot replace the need for professional medical care, it can serve as a valuable complement to traditional therapy, aiding people in developing resilience and enhancing their overall well-being. Self-therapy can be beneficial for certain issues, particularly when employing cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, and can effectively improve mental health for some individuals.

In this article, we will explore the remarkable ways in which self-therapy startups are improving access to mental health care, ensuring that no one is left behind on their path to emotional well-being.


Bloom, a New York-based self-guided therapy startup, empowers individuals to control their mental well-being through their app. Its iOS app allows users to become their own therapists by engaging in video self-therapy sessions based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). These sessions, expertly curated by Dr. Seth Gillihan, an esteemed CBT specialist and Bloom’s head of Therapy and CBT, specifically target prevalent concerns like stress, anxiety and sleep issues. 

Alongside these tailored therapy sessions, the app provides various features and tools. The guided journal entries, mood trackers, and daily reminders aid in resolving conflicts and tracking progress. All journal entries are securely encrypted and stored on a cloud platform. 

The interactive video lessons teach strategies for stress and anxiety management, better sleep and building positive habits. You gain access to a vast library of more than 500 therapy sessions and habits to explore and learn from, allowing you complete flexibility in choosing your own pace of progress. In addition to video lessons, there are self-care challenges that serve as reminders for essential activities like oral hygiene, staying hydrated, and relaxation.

Users can enjoy a free one-week trial to explore the app’s features. Afterward, you can access ongoing resources and support through a subscription at US$59.99/year or US$4.99/month.


Youper is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot application that assists individuals in recognizing, monitoring and managing their thoughts and emotions. By incorporating techniques from self-guided cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness, this app aims to enhance users’ emotional well-being, promote better sleep and alleviate symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.

The Youper app also has a check-in system that allows users to assess and express their emotions using a rating scale. Users can record their feelings and explain the factors influencing their emotional state. The AI-powered chatbot within the app reads and analyzes this information, extracting the reasons behind the user’s emotions.

Based on the analysis, the chatbot generates a list of reasons and offers personalized feedback and encouragement to the user. This process provides users with insights and support, helping them better understand their emotions and offering suggestions for improvement. Youper incorporates a learning system that customizes recommendations according to individual needs

Additionally, Youper includes a dedicated Insights section that functions as a symptom tracker, which records your symptoms as long as you regularly check in with your mood. By consistently updating their mood check-ins, users can gain valuable insights into patterns and trends related to their symptoms.

Youper is available for both Android and iOS devices, offering a range of features and services. The app is free to use, providing access to its core functionality. However, an optional paid tier is available for users who want to unlock additional premium features. The cost for the premium tier is US$5.83 per month.


Established in 2019 and headquartered in Singapore, Intellect is a mental health platform that provides a range of services to support individuals’ mental well-being. These services include telehealth coaching, therapy, psychiatry and online or in-person mental health screening, which can be accessed through Intellect clinics. Additionally, the platform offers self-guided programs based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles.

The individuals begin by undergoing a psychometric test to assess their mental health and well-being. Based on the results of this test, a personalized plan is created for the user. The digital therapy program spans a duration of four to six weeks, during which users receive a series of sessions that follow specific learning paths.

The Founder of Intellect, Theodrivc Chew, created the app with the aim of promoting greater accessibility and acceptance of mental health in Asia. Throughout the development process, Chew sought input from mental health experts to ensure the app’s effectiveness and credibility. 

Drawing from his own experience of dealing with anxiety, Chew has incorporated self-guided exercises into the app. These exercises cover various aspects of life, including relationships, work-life balance, and personal behaviors. 

The Intellect app offers a free trial period of seven days, allowing users to experience its features and functionalities. However, to continue using the app beyond the trial period, a subscription must be purchased. The premium version of the app provides subscribers with access to a vast library of over one hundred journals and sessions, offering a comprehensive resource for personal growth and self-improvement.

Self-therapy startups, through mobile apps and online platforms, empower individuals to take charge of their mental well-being. This democratization of mental health care positively impacts countless individuals worldwide by promoting early intervention, fostering resilience and contributing to overall well-being. These convenient and affordable self-help tools break down barriers and encourage proactive mental health practices.

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