Care Gap in Treating Mental Illness Worldwide

Ken Cahill, CEO of SilverCloud Health, discusses the care gap in treating mental illness worldwide, pointing specifically to regions like the UK and US, and what can be done to close this gap. Silver Cloud offers support programs for a range of mental and behavioral health issues.

Ken Cahill comes from an entrepreneurial background with experience in product & sales strategy, financial and channel management; while holding senior roles from a successful career covering HR software, E-commerce, telecoms to banking/ATM solutions. He is extremely passionate about how technology can be used to provide meaningful access to positive mental health supports and care. He has worked with a number of large multinational organisations such as Gateway, HP and Dell in Europe, the USA and India. Ken Holds a BSc in Computing & IT, a degree in new business management and has recently completed the Leadership for Growth executive program in IMD, Switzerland. Ken has received a number of awards, including the InterTrade Ireland SeedCorn award 2008, Irish Venture Capital Association most investable business award 2012.



Neal Howard: Welcome to this Health Supplier Segment here on Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, we’re going to have a conversation with Mr. Ken Cahill, CEO of SilverCloud Health. And he’s going to talk with us today about the gap that exists worldwide when it comes to treating mental health and he’s also going to talk about what his company SilverCloud Health is doing to close that gap. Thank you for joining us today Ken, how are you?

Ken Cahill: Very well, thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to join.

Neal: Glad that you could join us and take the time today. Well who is Mr. Ken Cahill other than CEO of SilverCloud Health?

Ken: Who is Mr. Ken Cahill other than CEO of SilverCloud Health? I think if you ask most people in the kind of position that we are in, in a kind of rapidly scaling business, Ken Cahill as being the CEO of SilverCloud Health is probably 80% of who I am in terms of they meant to time and effort it takes up. Within life, that all being good, I’m also a dedicated husband of one and  dedicated father of two as well. Who I would ascribe myself as this I’m extremely passionate in terms of how we can apply technology into the area of, particularly the area of healthcare for the betterment of many many people. And that was one of the things that attracted to me to SilverCloud Health in terms of the team, the research to evidence-based, the efficacy of SilverCloud and also the social and the economic goal that SilverCloud was striving to do and it has done over the past number of years.

Neal: Well we’re talking today about this gap that exists worldwide in mental healthcare. Would you say that mental health is at the center of overall health?

Ken: Yeah for me, absolutely. I’m not a clinician so I certainly don’t profess it to be one but my understanding, of what I’ve understood in terms of so far along this journey – both a server pattern and generally with life – mental health is the reason that you or I or any of us got up this morning. It’s the reason we hold down a job, it’s the reason that we hold down a relationship and other parts of our lives. It is the center to everything that we do. Mental health is as Dr…. put up previously, we can affect more to mental health than we can through a thousand different sensors or digital technology devices. It impacts our medication adherence, our compliance in terms of adhering to different types of regimes and behavioral habits, all the way through to our our sort of cognitive framing. How we would reframe, how our resilience, how we bounce back from challenges and adversity in life. It is absolutely the kind of the cornerstone of everything, probably not the cornerstone, the Keystone indeed of everything that we do. So yeah, I would absolutely profess that that it is central to everything and if we look at the CDC the Center for Disease Control would say that about one in four of the global population will have a diagnosable mental health disorder, issue or condition in any given year of their lives. It is one of, if not the greatest social and economic challenges that presents itself to us today worldwide. And it really hasn’t, I suppose, hasn’t been successfully delivered digitally or I suppose move with the times in terms of being able to be accessed in an easier earlier way like all other parts of our daily lives are, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. That was one of the kind of overarching sort of research pieces behind SilverCloud when it was still an academic and clinical research project, was looking at the existing solutions in this space and saying “What are the big issues here in terms of that are creating the barriers that limit the level of effectiveness of digital delivery of mental health?” And they are high levels of client or patient dropouts, low levels of client or patient engagement and limited levels of clinical improvement. So essentially, solutions are great in paper and in theory but they actually get delivered in real world they fall very far short of what they were intended to do. So that’s what we, the team, developed SilverCloud and we spun that out from that research in 2012 and we’re very proud to say since 2012, we have delivered to the platform to two hundred thousand clients. We prefer to refer to them as as clients rather than patients, delivered to two hundred thousand clients so far, with about half of those in the last year. So their upward … has been phenomenal and we’re extremely proud of that.

Neal: What would you say caused the gap in mental healthcare that SilverCloud is striving to close? What’s the reason that this gap existence, something that is so integral in everybody’s life as far as health is concerned?

Ken: I think it’s been a number of different shifts and changes. I think there’s been this kind of the popular term being the ‘consumerization of healthcare’ which is kind of really about the sort of education from a patient or user’s perspective. They’re looking for delivery that is an alternative to medication, pharmacotherapy, but looking for these limited access to healthcare,  looking for access that is earlier and easier when they on average somebody with depression will effectively suffer with depression for, they’re between five and seven years, and with anxiety and in between 10 and 13 years on average. So when somebody discovers or kind of comes to this realization about seeking healthcare then being told to go into a holding pattern or on to a wait list is less than ideal, to put it mildly. So we’ve had this kind of shift in terms of health systems crumbling because they need to offer care, there are not being enough resources to deliver the level of care that was traditionally perceived as being 8, 10, 12 one-hour face-to-face sessions to a user just simply is scalable in terms of both the therapist Network and the behavioral health network that exists here in the US and also in the rest of the world. One of the

interesting stats that I read recently was that 44% of all therapists will retire in the next four years so this issue is only getting more and more acute, it’s becoming a bigger bigger issue. So it’s this almost a lunar alignment in some ways insofar as the movement and shift towards more value-based care delivery because we can’t continue to do what we’re doing right now. The acceptance of digital delivery and more, almost the push-pull of digital delivery, so not even just the acceptance but the want to have access to digital access that is effective and is sort of self-paced and this is in the correct sort of dosage rate. And then the clinician saying to us “We don’t want to push them out into an external provider network.” And they kind of fall between stools or necessarily put them straight on to pharmacotherapy where it’s not immediately evident that that is the best route forward. We want to have more within our sort of portfolio of offerings outside of a script pad and pen. So it’s a very interesting change, you could list have maybe 30 things from broadband access, the increase in access to technology and technology devices, acceptability of the way we consume data nowadays, all the way through to the consumerization, the increase in awareness of “I am entitled have a second opinion. I am

entitled to another or alternative method of access to healthcare on that more on my terms and my time to fit with my extremely busy schedule, with my family life, whatever it might be.” And clinicians are the same as well, they have limited 6 to 11 minute window to help support the person in the clinician’s office and they’re being asked more and more to do mental health screenings and they’re saying to us “Well I’m seeing more and more because I’m asking more and more people and see more and more people raise a flag in terms of risk around depression, anxiety, stress and other issues like that and our health system can’t handle it. We need some way of scaling and the only way to scale is digital delivery.”

Neal: Well where can we go online and learn some more? Give our listeners a website where we can learn more about digital delivery and also about Silver Cloud Health.

Ken: Yeah, so in terms of SilverCloud Health website, the website addresses is and from there, you will see a whole list of research and evidence-based white papers … randomized control trials of how the SilverCloud platform has been delivered by health systems. So what SilverCloud does is we do not offer the platform direct to the end user or client, what we do is we enable healthcare organizations, health systems, … providers to be able to offer at SilverCloud at a greater scale than offering it direct to the end user. From an end users’ perspective, there’s some really great advocacy groups out there like Mental Health America, I know this internationally through sort of NHS Choices in the UK as well as many more around Europe as well that are really there to try and help, signpost and identify and indeed flag the risks early for a user.

Neal: Well Ken, it has been a pleasure talking with you today. Thank you for taking the time here on Health Professional Radio.

Ken: No, thank you Neal. Thank you, it was great to talk to you and thank you for the opportunity.

Neal: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes listen in and download at SoundCloud and be sure and visit our Affiliate Page at and


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