World Mental Health Day: The Innovations Helping Our Wellbeing

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Jemima Heard
4 min

World Mental Health Day is on 10 October every year. Read on to find out more about the importance of good mental health, and how we're supporting the creation of mental health innovations.

What is good mental health?

Good mental health goes beyond the absence of diagnosable mental health problems. According to the Mental Health Foundation, good mental health is the ability to perform a number of key functions and activities, such as:

  • Feeling, expressing and managing emotions (whether positive or negative)
  • Forming and maintaining relationships
  • Coping with change and uncertainty.

Recent data is showing that the UK is in the middle of a growing mental health crisis. Ill mental health is the one of the most leading causes of disability worldwide, and the single largest cause of disability in the UK. 2021's World Mental Health Day is themed around 'Mental Health in an Unequal World' - but even here, the health outcomes of mental health services vary widely depending on the socioeconomic status of the area.

The Cost of Mental Health in England

The Department of Health estimates that the economic impact of mental illness in England is over £105 billion due to service costs, lost productivity and reduced quality of life.

Innovation can help reduce the economic and social burdens of poor mental health by:

  • Reducing costs associated through the provision of digital services instead of face-to-face services
  • Increasing access, so mental health support can be accessed at the point of need - not four months later
  • Helping drive the education of good mental health practices and encourage behavioural change.
How SBI supports Mental Health Innovation

Our SimDH programme provides digital health start-ups with the support they need to grow their businesses and launch new-to-market and new-to-firm products. Through SimDH, Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing businesses can access expertise in: 

  • Health and social care, including psychology, to help implement evidence-based practices into their innovations
  • Computer science to support the development of AI, deep-learning and chat bots to facilitate signposting and screening
  • Engineering, for the development of biometric sensors and the creation of virtual or physical prototypes
  • Software Engineering experts to facilitate the creation of apps and dashboards.

SimDH will be opening applications for their next cohort on 24 October 2021.

These five SMEs are working with the SimDH programme to increase the mental health and wellbeing of the nation:

A smartphone shows a video call with a therapist and service user
Pherapeutic's Video Consultation Interface: from

Pherapeutic: Therapy when you need it

Pherapeutic is a smartphone application that is removing the costly price tag of therapy with their 'therapy on demand' app. A chatbot provides rapid screening to link you with your ideal, experienced professional and spead up your introduction with your therapist. Users are then connected to one of over 100 therapists for a video consultation - completely private and at your finger tips.

Find out more about Pherapeutic.

Black over-ears headphones float in mid air
Kouo's neuroscience-backed headphones: image from

Kouo: Emotionally Intelligent Headphones that empower users to explore and navigate emotions

Kouo's innovative headphones use emotion-sensing technology and biometric markers to help you learn how to understand and manage emotional responses.

The Kouo sensors measure electrical and biological signals around the brain to analyse emotions on a second-by-second basis. The tech develops personalised algorithms to tailor the product for each individual.

Find out more about the headphones here.  

A smartphone mock-up shows an app being scrolled through. You see a conversation with a chat bot.
Heyr's app in practice: image from

Heyr: Rewarding commitment to mental wellbeing

Heyr is an AI-powered chatbot app that rewards users for building healthy mental wellbeing habits. The app uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), delivered using deep learning algorithms and their conversational AI, to help users access a range of recommended copying tools to help manage mingfulness and moods. Users can then earn points and access rewards such as fitness and fashion brand discounts.

Sign up now for their private beta testing.

A white smartphone shows a pink and purple themed app interface. Buttons show "nourish, feelings, challenges" and the text "Hello Sara, how can we help you today?"
Nourish's App. Image from

Nourish: Bite-sized calm & wellbeing in mum's pocket

1 in 5 women suffer mental health issues during pregnancy or in the first year after birth, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Nourish was developed by a commited team of mums working together to help more mothers fund greater joy in the parenting journey, and to "not only survive, but thrive".

The Nourish App gives mothers "bite-sized moments of calm and wellbeing" through delivering mindfulness and breathing exercises, yoga, nutrition tips, mentras and more in a variety of different medias.

Find out more on their website.

Hello Tomo's Conversational Chatbot. Image from

Hello Tomo: Mental Health. Shared.

Hello Tomo is a multi-facited mental health app that includes:

  • Anonymous social media: Users share their day-to-day wins as they build healthy habits. There's no room for comments or likes - just inspiration for healthier living.
  • Progress tracking chat bots: Engage with Tomo, their friendly bot, and they'll suggest activities and habits proven to support mental wellbeing whilst tracking your achievements.
  • Resource library of healthy habits: Each designed to help users develop life skills including confidence, motivation and self care.

Find out more here.

If you're developing an innovation that'll help increase access to mental health wellbeing or will increase the capacity of mental health services, you're a perfect fit for the SimDH programme. Find out more and apply for the upcoming cohort here.

Main image on this article is downloaded from Unsplash, courtesy of photographer Priscilla Du Preez.