Letter from the CEO

Geoff Swindle

One of our guiding principles at Headlight is to “Make Things Easier”. It’s an easy phrase to say and a hard promise to believe, especially in mental health care. 

Even for those with a deep knowledge of the healthcare system and access to resources, the lack of providers coupled with a truly broken system makes it impossible to find care, never mind pay for it. Anyone who has dealt with the mental health care system knows that calling it a nightmare is an understatement. It defies words. 

Is it even possible for a company to “make things easier,” no matter how well intentioned we might be? Can we actually live up to our promise?

That’s the question I asked myself when I took the lead as CEO at Headlight. Before this, I’d spent a number of years building a team at PillPack where we did successfully make the pharmacy experience easier. Customer after customer told us that their care was transformed for the better. We did it by investing in our people and their success. From the pharmacist-in-charge to the techs answering customer service inquiries – technology helps everyone on the clinical side be as human as possible in their service. When it works, both employees and customers can achieve better outcomes and more satisfaction in the interaction.

I knew I wanted to find a way to bring this same philosophy to mental health care– an area that’s even more fragmented than prescription health care, in part due to the reimbursement issues that push so many private practices to cash pay only. There are two choices: traditional healthcare, where providers are hard to find, expensive (even when you can use insurance), and exhausted from dealing with administrative burdens. Or tech-facing solutions, which are nice-to-have but can’t address the core problems in mental health. Either they don’t take insurance at all, aren’t equipped to handle a broad range of care, or have economics that dis-serve the clinicians, leading to high turnover and a terrible patient experience. We didn’t want to rebuild the same problem. 

After surveying the landscape and meeting the founders Drs. Manish Sheth and Shashita Inamdar, both MD-PhD’s, from Headlight (known as Sokya Health at the time), I was super impressed with what they’d created from the ground up It was clear to me that I wanted to be a part of their vision. Sokya already had a clinician-led, high-quality in-network holistic approach with dedicated credentialing for insurance plans across seven key states in the West and Midwest. From that foundation, we’ve now raised $18 million from EPIC Ventures, and Matrix, led by the former CEO of PillPack, TJ Parker, to execute our vision of simplifying mental health care. 

We’re using the funding to develop technology that makes the whole experience better for patients and clinicians alike: from focusing on the match between the patient and clinicians, to reducing administrative burdens that enable our practitioners to focus on patient care, and measuring and reporting outcomes for continual improvement. We’re recruiting and hiring to build upon our outstanding clinical base, creating an exceptional culture and work environment. And, we’re investing into tech, data, and engineering talent. Our team knows what it looks like to build a remarkably delightful user experience, even on top of the complicated tools that underpin the delivery of healthcare. We intend to do the same thing here. 

You can look at the current mental health crisis and its proliferation of services trying to address it and get disheartened, or you can look at it like an area where we just haven’t landed on the right mix of technology and human touch to unlock the potential. Our team prefers the latter. We’ve got the best folks in the business to figure it out. 

For me, this feels urgent. The mental health journey is too hard for anyone to navigate. Access is not equitable in any way. Even for those who understand healthcare, there are pitfalls and double-crosses at every turn. Headlight can and will make it easier. That’s our promise. 

If you believe in this mission, please check out our Careers page or send an inquiry about starting care.

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

Headlight is now collaborating with health plans and companies to make therapy more accessible and affordable. Speak to a Care Coordinator today.