Ep. 89: Mental Health: Changing Perceptions

with Stephanie Hartselle, M.D.; Alison Darcy, Ph.D.; and Solomé Tibebu
Episode hosted by: Carina Clawson

November 16, 2022


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Stephanie Hartselle, M.D.; Alison Darcy, Ph.D.; and Solomé Tibebu

Stephanie Hartselle, M.D. is a pediatric and adult Psychiatrist and CEO of Hartselle & Associates. Alison Darcy, Ph.D. is the President and Founder of Woebot Health. Solomé Tibebu is a Senior Fellow for Digital Transformation at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, a Venture Partner at GreyMater, and Founder and Host of Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech.


There’s so much more funding and attention. Behavioral health is on the mind of everyone now. ~ Solomé Tibebu

Stephanie Hartselle, M.D.; Alison Darcy, Ph.D.; and Solomé Tibebu Tweet



Carina Clawson: “Everybody has mental health, and everyone has to deal with it.” Ali Darcy said that in our interview with her on Day Zero.

According to the World Health Organization, mental health conditions are increasing worldwide. Regardless of the causes, the demand for mental health services is increasing and this is a growing issue in healthcare.

This episode is part 1 of a special 2-part series on mental health. We compiled insight from leaders interviewed on both Her Story and Day Zero discussing the state of mental healthcare in terms of perceptions, practice, and patient choice.

Today’s episode will feature Stephanie Hartselle, M.D., a pediatric and adult Psychiatrist, and the CEO of Hartselle & Associates. We will also hear from Ali Darcy who is the President and Founder of Woebot Health. And we will wrap up with a segment from Solomé Tibebu. She is Senior Fellow for Digital Transformation at Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and the Founder and Host of Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech.

Let’s start off with Dr. Hartselle. She discusses the changing portrayal of mental health in media.

Stephanie Hartselle, M.D.: I consume so many shows, and so many shows, and it’s part of I give several different types of lectures at Brown University in the medical school, but the main ones that I give, usually incorporate clips from different movies, you know, all the way back from I think the oldest movie that I use is is was filmed in the 1940s all the way up to contemporary shows and movies, but you know, illustrating the way that personality disorders or you know, mental illness and wellness are portrayed in the media and so I’ll show a clip and we’ll discuss, you know, this is what they’re trying to get out. This is what they think get right about, you know how this presented, this is where I wish that there was, you know, a little bit of more, a little bit more of the dignity or respect around how this can manifest and other ways, you know, presented. And oddly, you know, several years ago, one of the medical students was a good friend of an assistant director in Hollywood and, and I, I was emailed by the, you know, a company stating that they were making a movie, and they wanted, you know, to get my perspective on character development. And at the time, the one of the first ones was birds of prey, which is a, you know, based on comic books, and has Harley Quinn in it and it was this really amazing connection, and I got to speak with the director, which was awesome. And I got to talk about the characters in that movie, and how they might have experienced some trauma, you know, previously in their life and how it might have manifested, and the way that she wanted to shoot the film.

Carina Clawson: Dr. Hartselle is bringing mental health representation in Hollywood to the 21st century.

Similarly, Ali Darcy is working to update practices in the healthcare industry. Let’s hear from her.

Ali Darcy, Ph.D.: The reality of the numbers of people suffering in the population, just going through the roof at a much faster pace than we had expected as a field, the knowledge that we don’t have enough resources to deal with everybody on that, and that actual sort of fundamental architecture of therapy is not scalable. And, yeah, I started to really believe that sort of our system around mental health care is not just not scalable, but it’s kind of flawed from a design perspective. And that the architecture, the basic design of what a session looks like, had been, I guess, good could be traced back to sort of the Freudian area, that era, the 1890s, but we have never really evolved beyond that in a meaningful sense. And I just thought for, in particular, young people and various subgroups, go therapy is just a bad design in lots of ways not, not the therapeutic process itself, but the architecture around the structure that needed to go to a clinic, the limitation around it being you know, one to one interactions and things with another human, much of it. And there’s, you know, in the US, I think there’s like 25, or 35% of the population living in places with no access to any behavioral health services. So, so it was just a bit of a problematic field, to say the least.

Carina Clawson: The systems around mental healthcare need updating and the demand for mental health services continues to increase.

To wrap up, let’s hear from Solomé Tibebu.

Solome Tibebu: There’s so much more funding and attention. Behavioral health is on the mind of everyone now, which is great, and I hope it continues. A lot of what has fed into that is consumer sentiment, this next generation. As they have begun to enter the workplace, they even expect those kinds of benefits to be there. I see a lot of employers investing in digital Behavioral Health Solutions as a result. Additionally, the connection between behavioral health and physical health anywhere you look in any kind of healthcare publication, health plans are talking about how the impact of behavioral health is, is or how they’re providing solutions for behavioral health are impacting a lot of quite frankly, expensive physical issues. That’s only driving further investment to want to adopt Behavioral Health Solutions. It’s been common sense for a long time, but now there’s a ton more data and behavioral health startups are adopting measurement-based care type of health, I say, solutions internally baked into their products that are better able to demonstrate that they’re providing those cost savings.

Carina Clawson: From movies to health systems, perceptions about behavioral and mental health are changing. Patients are more interested and more willing to access care.

However, as Ali pointed out, mental healthcare is challenging to scale. It’s expensive and labor intensive due to the one-on-one nature of appointments. How is healthcare going meet the growing demand for mental health services?

The answer to that is in part 2.

Next week, check out Day Zero for part 2 of this series. We will hear from founders and leaders about the innovations taking place in the mental health industry.

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