INVI MindHealth raises $1.5M to transform mental healthcare for first responders

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The company uses a buddy system that keeps the users connected to their teammate and their team

Mental health challenges are widespread these days, affecting every people of every race, gender, and creed, but there are certain professions and groups who are even more prone to such problems due to being in constant high-stress professions, such as SWAT teams, police, EMS, emergency room staff, and veterans. 

For, example, there were nearly 6,400 veteran suicides in 2021, making it the 20th consecutive year with over 6,000 veteran suicides; in all over 131,000 veterans have died by suicide since 2001, making it the second leading cause of death in veterans under age 45.

Yet, there’s also a stigma around mental health in these communities said Jonathan Wilson, founder and CEO of INVI MindHealth, a mental health technology company to transform mental healthcare for first responders, which announced the close of a $1.5 million seed funding round on Tuesday.

Wilson started INVI after multiple SEAL Team teammates of his took their lives. 

“One of the biggest challenges is that individuals are hesitant to give leaders access to their mental health information because they fear it might be used against them rather than to support them. The issue is one of trust. They worry about how this information might affect their chances for promotion or assignments. Many have seen others who were open about their mental well-being being singled out and treated differently,” he explained.

Founded in 2020 during Wilson’s studies at The University of Oxford, INVI MindHealth’s app  features what it calls a swim buddy system, which keeps the users connected to their teammate and their team where you can share their MindScore with one buddy or their entire team. The MindScore is a real time snapshot of a person;’s mental wellbeing using a multi-factor, AI/ML-driven algorithm that can derive insights into causation and correlation of activities and mental status.

INVI sends alerts if a user’s buddy goes dark to establish accountability and support and it also allows users to connect their wearable devices, including Apple Watch and Garmin, along with Apple Health data. 

“Our primary focus is getting teams to understand that tracking their mental well-being and staying mentally resilient will improve their overall performance, much like physical fitness. We’ve developed a buddy system where data can be shared among team members and the team’s trend lines can be shared with team leaders where appropriate,” Wilson said.

“This creates accountability and provides anonymized insights into the team’s overall mental health, allowing leaders to support their teams without linking data to individuals.”

INVI MindHealth is launching programs with universities, DEA, SWAT, police, and trauma units, and is pursuing research with active and veteran populations. It has partnered with first responders and government agencies, including a Los Angeles based Special Tactics Team, in which team leaders, and 35 SWAT officers, are leveraging the platform to enhance understanding of their mental health, improve overall wellbeing, and provide appropriate overwatch for each other.

“We are initially focusing on high-stress professions like SWAT teams, police, EMS, emergency room staff, and veterans but acknowledge that mental health challenges are not agnostic to these communities,” said Wilson.

“These individuals need to maintain mental resiliency to prevent burnout, mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide. INVI helps them monitor their mental well-being and supports them through our Overwatch and buddy system.”

The company currently has over 7,500 users and, even though it’s in the early stages, INVI has already seen that understanding the MindScore and underlying biomarkers can help individuals improve their mental state and improve their overall contribution. 

The new funding round will be used to enhance the current INVI Mindhealth application, as well as to conduct research to deepen the understanding of it mental health treatments. That includes a collaboration with a university in Texas to conduct a longitudinal observational pilot study involving 40 veterans with PTSD undergoing psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. The study will include clinical and neurobiological assessments, with INVI collecting biometric data through wearable devices and capturing participants’  baselines and changes induced by the psychedelic intervention focusing on heart rate variability, heart rate and sleep.

The new funding will also be used to create a dashboard tool for leaders called “Overwatch,” allowing them to can monitor and support the wellbeing of their teams.

Overwatch was inspired by my experience as a combat veteran and CEO of SEAL Future Foundation. It uses biometric and subjective data to alert buddies of significant changes in mental health, allowing proactive support. We’re developing a dashboard for team leaders to provide targeted, personalized solutions,” said Wilson.

Ultimately, the goal at INVI MindHealth is to save lives and reduce suicide rates, he explained.

“By providing effective tools and connecting people, we aim to improve mental wellbeing, enhancing job performance and personal life. We empower individuals and their buddies with the necessary information to support each other.”

(Image source: invimh.com)

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