When Karan Singh launched the mental health app Ginger in 2011, he was driven by a powerful memory.
“I’d been on the other end of a phone call from someone who tried to take their life,” says Singh.
So he sought to provide round-the-clock care for those needing mental and emotional support. “We believe that prevention and early identification can help to head off an event downstream,” Singh says. “Our vision is a world where mental health is never an obstacle.”
Named after a remedy Singh’s mother gave him as a child, Ginger allows users to discuss life concerns—via text, chat, or video—with licensed therapists, psychiatrists, and master’s-level emotional health coaches. The service, which is available 24/7 and is accessed through employer-provided health insurance, employs hundreds of clinicians and is available to over 200,000 people.
Singh says that Ginger reduces the stigma of “actually walking through the door” to talk to a therapist and takes about a minute to connect to a caregiver. The wait time to see a clinician in the U.S. is typically weeks.
Simplicity is the key to Ginger. “Most people think they need a psychiatrist or therapist,” Singh says, “but it turns out they could actually get support faster through coaching, as a first step, and get it in a more cost-effective manner.”
Ginger measures patient outcomes with standard clinical assessment for depression and anxiety. Patients typically show clinically significant improvement within eight to 12 weeks after starting Ginger, Singh says.
It was at Haas that Singh learned to be “thoughtful, mindful, and premeditated” about what Ginger should be. “Those core principles of humility and confidence without attitude are fundamental to us being successful,” he says.