Emvitals makes accessing mental health resources as simple as downloading an app
Erasing the stigma around mental health care is important for all, but it’s especially influential in workplace human services, where the difference between good and bad mental health care can make a huge difference in productivity, happiness and everything in between. That crucial point is where Cleveland startup Emvitals wants to make a difference. According to their research, people wait an average of 11 years with poor mental health before reaching out for help. Jennifer Hunter, a cognitive behavior therapist and founder of Emvitals, decided to step into the tech startup world in 2019 to create an app that provides individuals with their own emotional health data and connects them to quality care and support.
“Emvitals is a technology company that partners with employers and other providers to create emotionally vital workplaces,” said Hunter. “We enable and improve standard of care and mental health through proactive outreach. Mental health benefits that employers have in place are very passive, so Emvitals proactively reaches out to employees and educates them about how vital and fundamental emotional health is to everyone. We invite employees and their family members to check on their emotional health, to take their ‘Emvitals.’ We provide people with immediate results and data, educate them on where they are in their journey, and then we connect them to personalized care resources like short-term counseling, substance abuse treatment and psychiatry.”
The Emvitals app uses an algorithm that determines a person’s risk for mental health conditions and provides intervention suggestions at an appropriate level of care. To do this, the app uses software that aggregates information from Eivitals’ website and data gathered from screening questions. The software delivers custom results on each person’s emotional and mental health directly to their mobile device.
“As soon as someone completes their Emvitals, they receive their data immediately,” said Hunter. “We can also create a provider report for a company. We have a real-time data platform where employers or providers can look at their employees and see risks, trends and social determinants. The need is so great that it’s really about employers who recognize that what they have in place simply isn’t meeting the need. Emvitals helps drive employees into those healthcare investments that employers have already made, but we do it in a way where we educate them on why they should use that benefit and why it would be helpful to them.”
When she served as the wellness director at the Cleveland Clinic for 16 years, Hunter found that employers often do not have effective programs in place to give employees the resources they need. She surveyed more than 60 CEOs from different organizations and found that stress and mental health symptoms were the top health and wellness concerns for every group surveyed. Emvitals, Johns Hopkins Medicine and Quest Diagnostics surveyed 400 employees and found that 71% of study participants were at significant risk for depression and or anxiety. Of those at-risk individuals, 80% had never engaged in mental health care. They also found that depression affects work productivity the most.
“The conversations I have with HR leaders are focused around human capital management and optimizing the workforce,” said Hunter. “Employers spend tremendous amounts of money and energy around recruiting, retention, professional development, work climate, making sure that employees feel valued, and building trust in the organization. Those things produce a mindset that employees have the capabilities and motivation to get their work done. It also leads to employees showing up to work engaged and having the physical, cognitive and emotional energy to do their job. And the greatest disabler of work performance is poor emotional health.”
Emvitals’ mission can help nearly any industry, with early growth focused on finance, retail and healthcare. Their product is expanding as well, with Emvitals 3.0 launching June 1 as a way to expand predictive analysis and personalization for users. And though the brand is just two years old, Hunter has her sights set on nationwide expansion. As they prepare for that growth, the team views their current location in Cleveland as the place to accomplish it.
“We’re a national and global solution, and most of our current customers are outside of Ohio. But the investment community in Ohio, including North Coast Technology Investors, JumpStart and independent investors, really believes in our vision and our mission and have been incredibly supportive to Emvitals,” said Hunter. “Investors in northeast Ohio really stepped up to support me as a female founder and as someone who was born and raised in Cleveland. I think it’s a tremendous place to work and live, and that’s why we’re here.”