Disruptive Technologies in Mental Health

Mental and behavioral health disorders impose a significant and under-recognized burden on the global healthcare system, affecting social needs, basic human rights and the economy. And with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, digital technologies provide an opportunity to create breakthrough solutions that improve mental health and well-being outcomes on a greater scale than ever before. Governments, insurance organizations, and employers are eager to take advantage of digital technologies, but the huge variety of available solutions and dearth of standards has created a new problem – where does one begin when there are so many options? How can one ensure the disruptive technologies they are using are clinically validated, ethical, and efficacious?

These questions provided a need and an opportunity for an impact-driven partnership between the World Economic Forum and Deloitte, focused on creating a policy framework, the Global Governance Toolkit for Digital Mental Health. Created with input from Deloitte, the Global Future Council on Mental Health, interviews with nearly 200 innovators creating digital mental health solutions, and lessons from a pilot project with the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the toolkit aims to guide leaders towards crafting successful policies on technology and mental health, and articulates an ethical framework to assist innovators in working with their consumers to solve moral dilemmas. 

In the next phase of the project, the World Economic Forum and Deloitte will:


  1. iterate on the New Zealand pilot by collaborating with governments, insurance agencies, and employers seeking to deliver high-quality, digitally-enabled mental health and well-being services to their citizens, customers, and employees.

  2. collaborate with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) to transform the toolkit's contents into an assessment tool digital mental health innovators may apply for, certifying them as a quality product

  3. work with developers and entrepreneurs to ensure the standards and regulations are practical, achievable, and strike the correct balance between innovation and regulation

For more information or to get involved, please reach out to cameron.fox@weforum.org.

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