The Growth of Mental Health Startups in Indonesia

Are you familiar with mental health startups? Mental health remains a taboo issue in Indonesia. For so long, Indonesia has suffered from a lack of understanding of mental health, lack of access to adequate mental health facilities, and even worse, negative stigmas to people with mental disorders. Historically, due to local tradition, people with mental illness have been a subject of discrimination. For example, the practice of pasung against people with mental disorders has been prevalent in Indonesia. Pasung is a physical restraint or confinement to people with the goal of limiting their movements. The National Basic Health has recorded more than 1 thousand cases of pasung for people with mental illness.

According to Riskesdas in 2018, more than 19 million people aged above 15 years old in Indonesia suffer from some sort of mental disorder, and 12 million of them suffer from depression. Beyond that, according to the sample registration system of Litbangkes in 2016, every day, 5 people commit suicide. This concerning problem unfortunately has not been dealt with an adequate response by the government. Mental health funding only accounts for 1% of the overall health budget.

The unprecedented changes in circumstances because of the Covid-19 pandemic have worsened the mental health status in Indonesia. Based on Kemenkes, the cases of depression increase by 6.5% in times of pandemic. The mental health status in Indonesia is expected to rise in the future. According to Statista, the number of patients suffering from mental health disorders will increase to more than 3 million people by 2024. This means the number of patients will increase by 8.36% from 2020.

The Rise of Mental Health Startups

The alarming rate of mental disorders shows the urge for innovation in the mental health sector. Fortunately, mental health awareness in Indonesia has shown an improvement. People start to glorify mental health issues, and companies start to take care of their employee’s well-being. The rise of awareness combined with technological advancement has invited a lot of mental health startups to step into the industry.

Mental Health startups are part of the HealthTech industry. In their practice, mental health startups are targeting two main segmentations. First is the corporate sector, where they provide counseling services for public or corporate employees. The incentive behind this trend is the huge economic loss caused by mental health problems. According to WHO, the global economy loses $1 trillion every year due to employees’ depression and anxiety. The other sector is the general market, which targets people with mental health issues by connecting them with mental health professionals.

Some key Players

1. Riliv

Riliv is the pioneer of mental health startups in Indonesia. Riliv was established in 2015 and became the first one-stop mental health application in Indonesia. Riliv was founded by Audrey Maximillian Herli, who was concerned by the lack of safe space for people to tell their personal stories. Some of the services in their app include a mood tracker journal, sleep casts, meditation, and counseling by licensed professionals. Riliv offers its service to the public and companies.

As one of the key players in the mental health startups industry, Riliv has achieved a lot in its 6 years of establishment. Riliv’s success factors are their variety of services in one app, their cheaper price, and their wide range of corporate clients. Some of their highlights are acquiring 10 thousand customers, working with 12 companies, having affiliated with more than 100 psychiatrists, and receiving 4.1 ratings in the App store. Riliv is one of the health startups that received seed funding from venture capital, East Ventures in an undisclosed amount. Beyond that, Riliv also received other investments from Telkom Indonesia through their startup acceleration program, Benson Capital, and many more. With this seed funding in its pocket, Riliv is expected to accelerate its services in the future.

2. Kalm

Kalm was founded in 2017. Kalm provides a platform that connects consumers with professional counselors to consult about their mental health issues. Some of the services in their app range from a wellbeing tracker, gratitude journal, articles, seminars, and meditation guides. Beyond that, Kalm also offers their service to companies with its KALMporate services.

Recently in 2021, they have acquired 42 thousand loyal customers, partnered with 170 counselors, and received a 4.2 rating in the App Store. Other than Indonesia, their services can also be accessed from the United States and Singapore.

3. Satu Persen

Satu Persen originated from their founder, Ifandi Khainur Rahim’s youtube channel, which later developed into a mental health startup in 2019. Satu Persen is a Platform that connects people with professional counselors to talk about mental health issues and also to educate people from their mentoring, online classes, webinars, and free online test programs. One of the notable selling points of Satu Persen is their wide variety of networks, they collaborate with various stakeholders from student organizations, communities, companies, media, and creative agencies. Their other unique point is their free online test programs that help people to assess their mental condition.

By now, they have held more than 10,000 counseling and mentoring sessions in one year and acquired more than 250 thousand people as their consumers. Satu Persen has also shown outstanding performance in its online platform. In 2019, their Youtube Channel became the highest growth channel on Youtube and its website traffic reached 397 thousand visits in January 2022, the best among other competitors.

Future Outlook

The mental health industry is a promising sector with a bright future. According to Allied Market Research, globally, the mental health market was valued at around $383 billion in 2020 and will increase significantly to $537 billion by 2030. The mental health market has a lot of segmentation. From the type of disorder, the market is segmented into different categories such as depression, PTSD, alcohol use, schizophrenia, and many more. By the type of service, the market is segmented to counseling, hospital treatment, emergency service, and so on. One of the factors is Covid-19 outbreaks which escalate the demand for mental health services and increase the overall awareness of mental health issues.

The rise of demand and limited mental health facilities in Indonesia will open more opportunities for mental health startups in Indonesia to expand their business. From the past precedence, we can observe that this sector has attracted investments from various sources. Recently, we have seen Riliv become one of the health startups that gained funding from venture capital. This shows the growth of mental health startups to also gain attention like your conventional health startups such as Halodoc and Alodocter.

Are you interested in building a health startup?

We are here to help you navigate the never-ending challenges in building a startup. Gear Up is a startup brainstorming partner in Indonesia that provides one-on-one and catered support for the chosen startups in our network. We can help you find the correct business model, gain funding for your startup from venture capital, and scale up your startup. Join us to begin your startup journey.

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