A report from KPMG covering the “rising social and economic cost of major depression” highlights the opportunity for mental healthcare to fully engage with evidence-based digital tools. As the world struggles to keep up with advances in digital technology, it is noted that the healthcare sector tends to be a late-adopter of these revolutionary technologies.
The report focusses on the APAC (Asia-Pacific) region and the rising social and economic costs of major depression. Costs that include “over one million lives lost each year” to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Coupled with the loss of lives, it is alarming that “more than 90% of people with MDD in the Asia-Pacific do not seek help” due to stigma and lack of access to services, amongst other factors. Aside from this, a staggering “70% of with Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD) are unemployed” in the APAC region.
The adoption of digital mental healthcare platforms can help bridge the gaps for those needing care.
- “Wearing tools and virtual consultations can help to address…geographic remoteness challenges…These techniques bridge the urban versus rural divide, promoting health equality and improving health outcomes.”
- “China Mainland is actively leveraging digital approaches, like the more than 60 internet-based counselling platforms.”
- “Australia…is observing a similar phenomenon. They are taking a life-course approach to tailoring the digital services towards young people, working-age adults, and the elderly, as well as to cater to their respective MDD support needs.”
- “Holmusk, a platform out of Singapore, is capturing real-world data so as as enable better connectivity between patient support services across the physical and mental health pathways in the Asia-Pacific…”
- “Taiwan has legislated the Suicide Prevention Act since 2019 with dedicated help hotlines.”
- “In Japan after the number of suicides each year exceeded 30,000, the government ramped up access to care for mental health through…a hotline anyone can call to speak to qualified volunteer staff who have permission to make referrals to specialists.”
- “…regions in the Asia-Pacific continue to put in place help hotlines for the general population.”
- Tele-psychiatry helps “…reach the rural and marginalized communities, it is a work-around the stigma issues in the short run.”