Lantern launches mobile-enabled stress program

By Aditi Pai
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LanternSan Francisco-based Lantern, which offers web and mobile programs based on cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, released its second offering, a stress-focused program, this week.

"The techniques that we would use for stress and anxiety are very, very similar, but how you approach those techniques and what the framing is to use them, is very different," Lantern CEO Alejandro Foung told MobiHealthNews. "We actually use the same fundamental approach, but help with framing and give different examples in respect to what’s going on in their life -- you may not identify with anxiety, but you might identify with stress, so if I give you an anxiety program, but you don’t identify with anxiety, you’re probably not going to use it."

Lantern's offering, available on web and iOS, includes 40 short sessions that users can complete at their own pace, exercises that teach users about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), techniques that help users build healthy habits, and one-on-one messaging with a coach, who has a graduate level degree and is trained in CBT.

Lantern sells the program for a flat fee of $150 per active enrollment to payers and employers, but it is also available direct-to-consumer for $49 per month.

Foung explained that some of the ways payers can offer Lantern to members include recommending it if a member indicates high stress or anxiety in a health risk assessment, or as an additional benefit available in a member portal.

"Insurers are interested in CBT because with conditions like cardiac rehabilitation and cancer, between 20 to 40 percent of the people going through these chronic conditions also have anxiety, so the comorbidity is very large with mental health for these chronic conditions," Foung said. "And it's also pretty established that for individuals who have comorbid anxiety with cancer or oncological disease -- the cost of care in health services that the nurse provides those individuals is double, so $3,000 or $4,000 more a year."

Right now, Lantern's program is split 50-50 between its enterprise and consumer customers, but the company expects in the next few months for that to change as they launch large employer deals. The company is also in the second year of a four-year study, funded by a $4 million federally-funded mental health grant, that involves 40 colleges across the country including University of California Berkeley, Harvard, University of Chicago, and Stanford. Students can enroll in the study to use Lantern through their mental health or counseling center.

To date, Lantern has raised $3.8 million. A majority of this funding, $3.2 million, was raised as part of seed round in May 2014, led by Mayfield Fund and SoftTech VC.