The anti-anxiety business

Digital businesses are making a difference in difficult times

As part of their efforts to tackle some of the major issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the government is turning to business. Fast-moving, innovative companies have many of the skills we need to solve some of the consequences of this crisis, whether it is supporting vulnerable people confined to their homes, or delivering healthcare services in a remote setting.

In 2019, we launched the Disruption50 Index – a pioneering project combining human expertise with AI technology – to discover the UK’s most disruptive businesses.

Several innovative healthcare businesses made the list. This week, we take a closer look at Headspace, a meditation and mindfulness app which led the way in its field, as the first meditation app to market way back in 2010.

Improving the world’s health and happiness

Mental health problems are estimated to be one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide. It’s not difficult to see why. Issues with mental health are intrinsically linked to physical illnesses, as well as behavioural problems such as drug and alcohol abuse. This represents a huge challenge for healthcare providers, who are struggling to cope with the rising numbers of people needing help.

Digital solutions can go a long way towards developing – and maintaining – positive mental health and wellbeing. This is the mission behind Headspace – whose app and online content provides guided meditations, animations and videos, that are designed to help its users with everything from sports to self-esteem.

The company’s in-house science department is committed to advancing the field of mindfulness meditation through clinical research, as well as validating the business’s specific approach to meditation. Several scientific studies already show the positive impact of Headspace on stress, focus, and compassion – with regular meditators able to manage stress, reduce anxiety, and cultivate peace of mind.

To help support people during the current period of uncertainty and self-isolation, Headspace is offering free access to a selection of meditations, sleep and movement exercises via its website.

Headspace – At a Glance

HQ London

Founded 2010

Ownership Private

Employees 317

Founders Andy Puddicombe & Rich Pierson

Sectors Healthtech