Alexandria, Va., and Deerfield, Ill. — Mental Health America (MHA), along with Lundbeck, announce the launch of a groundbreaking new initiative that will apply analytics on the data set created from MHA’s extensive mental health screenings, plus publicly available data sets, to find mental health hotspots and address the rapidly escalating mental health impacts emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are excited about launching this project with the support of Lundbeck,” said Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of MHA. “From the start of the pandemic, we have been using data from our screening tools to understand the real-time effect of the pandemic on the population and to document the growing numbers of people dealing with mental health issues. Now we will be able to put the information to use in developing specific responses targeted to special and local populations.”
MHA, the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all, oversees a robust online mental health screening program (MHAscreening.org). MHA has conducted more than 6 million mental health screens to date and saw an unprecedented rise in screenings from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This extensive database was developed to help patients assess their symptoms and seek help from a medical professional, but also holds valuable, anonymized but specific insights into factors that increase risk for poor mental health outcomes.
Lundbeck, the only global biopharmaceutical company focused solely on the brain, is partnering with MHA as the founding sponsor of this new initiative that will merge MHA data with publicly available screening data to create a nationwide mental health dashboard and generate important population-based insights using big data tools. Real-time analysis will allow the nation to recognize and react quickly to mental health trends exacerbated by the pandemic and address disparities faced by different populations. This sophisticated new tool can be used to help map clusters of people with mental health concerns, recognize factors that increase risk for poor mental health outcomes, direct appropriate allocation of resources, and identify what interventions would be most effective in addressing the mental health impacts of COVID-19 and future high-impact events such as natural disasters and community violence.
“Lundbeck has been at the forefront of mental healthcare for more than 70 years, and we recognize this emerging mental health crisis calls for swift and informed action,” said Peter Anastasiou, Lundbeck’s Executive Vice President and Head of North America. “We are pleased to partner with MHA to address the unprecedented rise in mental health challenges in this country resulting from and compounded by the pandemic. As with COVID-19 itself, flattening the mental health curve demands real-time insights into where and how people are being most affected. Without proactive action now, the mental health impacts of this crisis could reverberate through communities for years to come.”
Real-time analysis would make possible:
- Identification of mental health hotspots across the country
- Timely recognition of and response to mental health trends – both now and in response to future high-impact events, such as natural disasters and community violence
- Acceleration of targeted interventions
- More effective allocation of resources that address existing disparities
- Enhanced ability to advance policy and programs to meet the needs of high-risk and highly distressed communities
MHA will power this analysis with insights gathered from partners across different sectors, including leaders in technology, academia, and state and federal agencies, to dive more deeply into this effort and identify gaps and opportunities that can be explored through the creation of a mental health dashboard.