Is the mental health space about to have its penicillin moment?

Similar to the healthcare industry, the mental health care and provision system was built for and within an environment that has since greatly shifted. While the mental healthcare system has traditionally depended on therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, the supply of qualified professionals is thin, particularly in MENA. Research in the space has stalled, particularly on specificity of treatments or discovery of new treatments as a whole, and data tends to be extremely scarce. This is, again, even more so the case in MENA. By and large, the mental health and wellness space will need to catch up to adequately serve our post-2020 world. 

We may still be at the cusp of a shift in mindset when it comes to mental health in the region, but there is a tangible, sharp rise in awareness, particularly post-pandemic. The evolution of the space, it seems, hinges more than ever on technology, coupled with substantial developments in research.

On a global scale, companies such as Calm, Lyra Health, Modern Health, and Talkspace have emerged as winners. Recently, MENA has also witnessed an increase in activity within the sector, from marketplaces to new players taking specific approaches in solving for the wellness of the body’s most complex organ, the brain. 

A few weeks ago, Khaled, Sarah, and I had the pleasure of hosting Fares Ghandour, cofounder of Tuhoon. We have known Fares for years, as one of the earliest investors in MENA, and were keen on listening to his experience of moving to the operator side, and building a company in a sector that is, perhaps, about to see its own penicillin moment.

Apple | Spotify | Google

Stephanie Nour Prince is Partner at Nuwa Capital where she leads on the fund’s network engagements and operations.

Artwork: Vincent van Gogh, “The Starry Night”, 1889

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