Psychedelic Teletherapy Platform Emerges From Stealth With $3M
When you hear the word psychedelics, you may think of magic mushrooms or acid tabs that people consume to have an out-of-body experience. According to recent trend forecasting, the mental and physical stimulation that comes from engaging with psychedelics is set to be a key tool in developing mental health treatments.
NYC-based Innerwell is developing a telehealth platform in the psychedelic mental health space. This week, the startup emerged out of stealth with $3 million in pre-seed funding led by Greycroft.
The company focuses on ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Ketamine is a dissociative drug found in psychedelics that provide consumers with a trance-like state of reality. Through Innerwell, patients are diagnosed by licensed medical professionals and have the option to receive therapy from a licensed psychotherapist as they consume ketamine.
“We built Innerwell to help the 65 million Americans suffering from mental illness each year,” Lisa Kennedy, Innerwell founder and CEO, said in a statement. “We are creating a collaborative environment in which psychiatrists and therapists can work side-by-side to apply the irreplaceable human lens to patients’ therapeutic explorations, and we are building the infrastructure to capture key behavioral health measurements that allow us to optimize for patient outcomes.”
Ketamine is an FDA-approved anesthetic. According to The New York Times it can potentially be used to treat brain disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.
“The largest misconception [about a psychedelic-backed therapy program] is the idea that psychedelics are a magic pill,” Kennedy told Built In via email. “While there is evidence that ketamine on its own can help patients, for many others the guidance of a licensed psychotherapist is invaluable to help them set intentions and harness the power of psychedelics as a mechanism for inner exploration and, ultimately, transformation.”
Innerwell is currently recruiting 10 to 15 clinicians who will need to take highly advanced training to work with patients that are prescribed mind-altering medications. According to a company statement, Innerwell’s approach is to provide licensed therapists with access to the necessary specialized courses while surrounding them with a dedicated team of experts to make the training possible.