There is room for innovation in depression treatment
The Connected Health cluster, in collaboration with Janssen Estonia (Johnson&Johnson) and new start-up company TheraSync, organised a webinar on the treatment of depression and how to improve it through innovation. The event attracted a lot of interest and the Health Portal of the daily paper Postimees also broadcasted the seminar.
Although depression is mostly treatable, comprehensive treatment is not accessible to all who need it. Mental health specialists, doctors, representatives of state and local authorities, patients and their friends and family members were involved in the forum to discuss the topic on the basis of research. Participants sought to answer the following questions: what constitutes effective depression treatment, what are the main obstacles to its implementation and how can technology help overcome them?
Tehnopol’s HealthTech and Connected Health Cluster Manager Piret Hirv opened the seminar by admitting that she was left speechless by the number of participants and that the high level of interest shows how important the topic is. “Every day we tackle the question of how to support innovation in health. This cannot be achieved alone, we need all parties to come together – health care providers, pharmaceutical companies, the public sector, start-ups, patients – and the cluster represents them all,” said Piret Hirv.
Janssen Estonia’s innovation manager Kairi Kontkar gave an overview of a workshop held in spring, which also focused on depression treatment and mapped the biggest concerns in this area. In addition, she pointed out that both the spring and the current event sought to enhance cooperation between different parties and she was delighted over the successful launch and continuation of the co-creation process.
Project manager of the depression treatment pathway at the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and clinical psychologist René Randver spoke of the care pathway of depression patients in Estonia and the general problems related to that pathway. Among other things, he highlighted that to alleviate the problems, we should raise awareness of mental health and improve self-help skills in society; employers should be supported, and the occupational health system developed; mental health capacity in primary care should be developed to support early diagnosis, treatment and monitoring.
General practitioner and one of the founders of the start-up company TheraSync, Ann Leen Mahhov, shared the story of one person to illustrate the care pathway of a depression patient, providing a perfect example of the real-life challenges faced by people suffering from mental health issues. She also introduced TheraSync’s solution which is specifically targeted at mental health patients.
The event will be followed by thematic virtual workshops in January (in Estonian). Registration is open at https://therasync.eu/tegevused
“TheraSync’s actions deserve to be highlighted to further emphasise how collaboration is the only way forward if we want to development this field,” said mental health innovator Kadri Haljas, who summarised the seminar, adding: “This is the only way to create impactful innovation that we so badly need. Even though people’s needs have increased, traditional services remain largely inaccessible, or they simply cannot be found today.”
The event was organised by Janssen Estonia, Tehnopol science and business campus, the Connected Health cluster, Mental Health Innovation Hub and TheraSync.