Mental health: find support

Frau lacht im Gespräch mit einem Mann am Fenster und hält einen Becher in der Hand

In a world increasingly dominated by hectic lifestyles and constant pressure, mental health has attained a position of unprecedented significance. Finding support and solutions for mental well-being is more urgent than ever.

Mental health in Switzerland has deteriorated

According to the CSS Health Study 2023, mental health in Switzerland has deteriorated, with the number of people enjoying good mental health having fallen from 75 per cent (2021) to 66 per cent (2023). Among 18- to 35-year-olds, the number of people who do not feel fully healthy is around a quarter.

Difficulty finding a therapy spot

The study also reveals that the path to professional help is often rocky and long – it’s not easy to find a therapy spot. “Even for people in an acute mental health crisis, finding a therapy spot is difficult,” says Anne Bode, Head of Health Management at CSS. “What's more, many of those affected don't know how to navigate the complex healthcare system or they start looking for professional support far too late.”

Challenges and developments with mental health crises

A mental health crisis is revealed by many different symptoms and has a significant impact on the person’s well-being. Symptoms range from sleep disorders and concentration troubles to anxiety and depression. The CSS Health Study shows that mental illnesses are becoming increasingly common, which only underlines the urgency for finding effective ways to treat the conditions.

Psychotherapy billed through compulsory health insurance

“Since 2022, all trained psychotherapists have been able to bill via compulsory health insurance. This has increased the volume of therapy services on offer and simplified access," Anne Bode says. As a result, even more services and therapy forms are needed to meet the growing need for support. And, as Anne Bode points out, mental illnesses are usually lengthy and complex. “For this reason, CSS is offering its clients easily accessible services so that they can tackle their symptoms directly. On top of these services, CSS's Health Coaches or Care Management contact persons can also play a supporting and coordinating role”.

CSS’s vision

But this is by no means the end of the journey towards com­pre­hen­sive mental healthcare. As Anne Bode continues: “Our vision is that our clients will contact CSS with their health issues and then we as specialists – which is where holistic healthcare comes in – will recommend the right form of support or therapy at that time or offer a solution.” These solutions include, among others, new methods in psychotherapy and digital apps for mental health.

Innovative services and new methods in psychotherapy

The search for new developments and alternative treatment methods is becoming increasingly urgent, particularly as such a significant proportion of the population, especially among 18 to 35-year-olds, suffers from psychological stress. The need to provide accessible and effective solutions is clear. Innovative services and new methods in psychotherapy can help to bridge waiting times and provide early support.

tDCS electrostimulation method

One example of such an innovative method is transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a form of electrical stimulation that is steadily gaining ground. tDCS represents a glimmer of hope, especially for those who are looking for alternative or complementary treatment options. CSS supports such innovative approaches and is integrating them into its range of services in order to facilitate access to effective and modern therapy methods.

Investment in Flow Neuroscience

The Flow Neuroscience start-up funded by SwissHealth Ventures has developed a headset that works with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Transcranial direct current stimulation is carried out at home or in a clinic and in line with the doctor's instructions.

Digital solutions and apps for mental health

Digital solutions and apps have taken a central role in aiding the treatment of mental health problems with innovative digital tools designed to help people take care of their mental health. The CSS Health Study has revealed a deterioration in mental well-being, which underlines the need to combine traditional and digital therapy forms to meet growing requirements. This is referred to as “blended psychotherapy”.

Blended psychotherapy with the "Ylah" app

The shortage of psychotherapy spots has also led to a greater use of new methods. “Although we’re only at the beginning,” Anne Bode says, “I believe that the combination of classic therapy with new therapeutic forms will gradually become the norm.” One outstanding example of such blended psychotherapy is “Ylah” (Bernese German for “getting involved”). The idea was developed by the Bern-based start-up of the same name, which is receiving support from CSS as part of the Future of Health Grant innovation programme.

Ylah is an interactive app that bridges the gap between traditional therapy and modern technology. A website provides therapists with a catalogue of various therapeutic activities and interventions that they can suggest to their patients. In turn, patients can use a mobile app to continue therapy between physical sessions by flexibly integrating therapy elements into their everyday lives and work on their recovery.

Deprexis: online therapy for depression

Deprexis is an online therapy application that aims to offer support to people with depressive symptoms. The application uses elements of cognitive behavioural therapy to help users identify and alter their thought and behaviour patterns.

Support provided by CSS

CSS's commitment to this innovation programme is based on a deep understanding of the complexity of mental health problems and the need to expand services like the “Velibra” and “Deprexis” online platforms. By supporting start-ups that focus on the development of new therapy methods – such as the interactive “Ylah” app or the tDCS electrostimulation method – the Future of Health Grant and SwissHealth Ventures are paving the way for a future in which innovative solutions and holistic healthcare forms combine to effectively improve the mental well-being of the population.