UK start-up gets £2.2m funding boost for online mental health technology

James Cook
Healios helps connect children and young people with trained clinicians. - Getty Images Contributor

UK start-up Healios has raised £2.2m in funding to grow its business which uses technology to help improve the availability of trained mental health therapists for children and adults.

Healios was founded in 2013 and uses video calls and online services to pair patients with therapists. Family members can join group sessions from different devices and therapists are available outside of standard office hours.

Chief executive Richard Andrews said that “a nine to five service that people have to travel to for access is just not sustainable anymore.”

With Healios, a child can call into a session with a therapist, and their parents could join the same session from a different device.

Andrews started the company after his grandfather was diagnosed with dementia. “Seeing him being bounced around the system at that time, struggling to get the support and that emotional side of having a loved one with dementia was really difficult on him but it was also difficult on me and other family members,” Andrews said.

The company has brought in funding from UK venture capital funds Albion Capital and Spice Capital. Healios plans to use the money to expand further in the UK through partnering with more NHS Trusts, Andrews said. The company is also looking to work with private organisations.

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Healios has partnered with the NHS to connect patients with therapists. Andrews said that some trusts have been more slow in embracing technology.

“As with anything, change can happen very quickly and some people are very excited about trying new things,” Andrews said, “they recognise that the current service isn't fit for purpose and needs to change. And some are a little bit slower to recognise that.”