How this Bangalore-based startup is using mixed reality to tackle mental health crisis in India
Mental health is a global crisis that affects millions of people, especially in India. Many people struggle with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that impair their well-being and happiness. However, most of them do not get the help they need due to stigma, ignorance, cost, or lack of access. Moreover, the current mental health care system lacks effective and evidence-based interventions that can provide the best outcomes for patients.
Wundrsight Healthcare is a pioneer in transforming mental health care with Digital Therapeutics (DTx). DTx are software-based interventions that use scientific methods to prevent, manage, or treat medical conditions. Wundrsight Healthcare is the first in India to develop Mixed Reality DTx solutions for mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, phobia, substance use disorders, OCD, and more. Mixed Reality is a technology that combines virtual and augmented reality to create a realistic and immersive environment. With Wundrsight Healthcare's DTx solutions, you can enter a virtual world where you can face your fears, cope with your emotions, and learn new skills. You can also interact with your therapist or coach who can guide you through your journey.
Wundrsight Healthcare was founded by a psychologist and an IIT graduate who have over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Having struggled with mental health issues themselves and those around them, the team is passionate about creating holistic digital health solutions for mental and behavioural wellness. The Bangalore-based startup has received support from Meta (Formerly Facebook), IIT Mandi Catalyst, iHub HCI Foundation, and more. They are also incubated at NASSCOM 10k Startup Warehouse, Bangalore.
According to Founder & CEO Raunak Swarnkar, “Technology is the key to solving the current challenges of mental health care in India. DTx, especially Mixed Reality platforms, have the potential to revolutionize how mental and behavioural therapy is delivered. We are witnessing regulatory authorities such as the US FDA and Germany’s CE approving DTx applications. DTx can be used as a standalone therapy or in combination with conventional treatments like medication or in-person therapy or with certain devices, such as the Meta Quest platform. DTx not only improves patient outcomes by providing personalized and accessible care but also enhances clinician efficiency by augmenting workflows.“
Nishtha Budhiraja, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder of Wundrsight Healthcare, said, “As a psychologist who has trained in the UK NHS and practised in India for nearly a decade, I have realised that retention to therapy for hospitals and clinics is a major bottleneck that leads to over 70% drop-outs in patients. Technology-based treatments not only solve these issues but also bring in engagement and adherence for patients. They feel safe, engaged using technology-based interventions, hence, recover faster.”
Wundrsight Healthcare has already witnessed some remarkable success stories. One of the patients who was diagnosed with PTSD said, “I spent my life guarding the border area. I lost my brothers-in-arms, my sense of security, and my peace of mind. I returned home with nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression. I felt like I was still on the battlefield, even when I was with my family and friends. I tried counselling, medication, and yoga, but nothing seemed to work for me.” He was then introduced by his therapist to Wundrsight Healthcare’s MR DTx platform where he was gradually exposed to his trauma-inducing conditions and where he practised CBT and mindfulness methods designed to overcome them. He is now on a recovery journey and has started to feel comfortable with his traumatic life experiences which could not be possible earlier.
Wundrsight Healthcare is on a mission to reshape the DTx sphere in India and worldwide. By leveraging MR and AI, they aim to address the gaps and challenges in the current mental health care system and to create treatments that are effective and accessible for both patients and healthcare providers. They envision MR as a gateway to immersive, individualised interventions that empower individuals to overcome their mental or neurocognitive obstacles. As they progress, their focus is on the digital transformation of hospitals and clinics using their MR DTx solutions. A forthcoming venture includes the launch of Wundrsight Health Hubs, specialised establishments dedicated to delivering trustworthy, top-tier mental health care. With aspirations to expand their footprint to the US, EU, and MENA regions, they are unwavering in their commitment to innovating mental health solutions.