eSupport provides mental-health services developed by experts and grounded in science for people with chronic conditions. There is a massive unmet need for specialized and cost-effective mental healthcare. eSupport Health aims to address this challenge, starting with people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Today eSupport Health, a digital mental-health startup, announces funding from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, as the capstone to its pre-seed raise. The financial terms of this equity investment were not disclosed. The funds will be used to help build clinical trial infrastructure and to run a clinical trial of professional eSupport groups, with a focus on underserved people living with MS. “I’m thrilled,” said Victoria Leavitt, PhD, FAAN, cofounder and Chief Scientific Officer of eSupport Health. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner than the National MS Society.” Dr. Leavitt is Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology in the Department of Neurology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she is Director of the Translational Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory. eSupport was developed in her laboratory at Columbia.
Individuals with MS who have mental-health concerns face a complicated system of limited choices, complex reimbursement scenarios, long waitlists, and ultimately, a therapist who may know little to nothing about MS. Moreover, one-on-one therapy may not address the core problem that so many people with MS describe to Dr. Leavitt—feeling alone in their experience. Since so many people with MS experience similar challenges, coming together and connecting with others in a safe, secure setting may offer relief. Dr. Leavitt cofounded eSupport Health after three clinical trials of moderated group-based treatments she led in her laboratory, including a trial that showed a reduction in depression and loneliness after 12 weeks of participation in eSupport groups.1 Using its proprietary platform, the company delivers secure, video link-enabled workshops and support to the MS community in small, personal groups moderated by licensed therapists with MS expertise.
The investment from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will support a clinical trial establishing the benefits of eSupport for underserved (Black and Latinx) people living with MS. “These patients are historically underrepresented in MS research samples and undertreated for mental health,” said Dr. Leavitt. “This funding will help launch a solution with the potential to improve mood, brain health, and overall health in quantifiable ways for all people with MS.”
“This award, through our commercial funding program Fast Forward, allows eSupport Health to expand their capacity to deliver cost-effective, scalable, mental-health solutions for people living with MS,” said Mark Allegretta, Vice President, Research, National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “We are excited to be funding a clinical trial of eSupport focusing on Black and Latinx populations, as this aligns with our objective of increasing opportunities for underserved populations throughout the MS community.”
“Today we’re excited to announce funding from the National MS Society to close our pre-seed round,” said Joe Duncan, Cofounder and CEO at eSupport Health, an executive with over 20 years of experience in starting, building, and leading businesses. “Running clinical trials is a critical component of our mission to provide effective solutions grounded in science.”