‘A world where the term burnout is just a dusty old term’ – Digiburn

April 6, 2023

On the occasion of World Health Day, we spoke to Digiburn, a startup working on personal digital burnout therapy. Key catalysts in the revolutionisation of digital mental health care have been startups. The availability of these digital solutions on a mobile phone or laptop contributes to the democratisation of healthcare and a step closer to making universal access to care a reality. While startups are oftentimes smaller actors, it is also in their nature to respond to critical demands on a tight deadline, and mental health is no exception. 

Tell us the story behind Digiburn – what is your mission?

We are dreaming of a World where the term “burnout” is just a dusty old term. We dream of a World where mental health is approached in a proactive, evidence-driven manner, geared towards prevention and early-on empowerment. We dream of a World driven by love instead of fear. We dream of a World with individuals, organizations, and societies alike aspiring for mental resilience and self-evolving systems of empowerment and acceptance. 

Digiburn’s mission is simple. Drive health equity with a 24/7 safe space for awareness. Transform abstract concepts into simple, actionable steps. Drive immediate reliefs for handling the daily rollercoaster while gently keeping sight on the long-term empowering cognitive and behavior models. In a sentence – inspire individuals and organizations to design a fulfilling way of life and conduct. 

This year’s World Health Day slogan revolves around “Health for All” – how is Digiburn contributing to this?

Burnout is just a subsection of the mental health field, highly stigmatized and approached reactively only long after strong adverse signals. Our read of Health for All in the context of mental health revolves around “digital phenotyping”. Leveraging biomarkers, combined with digital behavioral-related indicators and in-situ prompts, for a granular take on the variability in personal needs within a single hour, day, week, or month. Health for All means unity of science and business solution providers to find a way out of the ubiquitous global mental health crisis. We need to work together for the better future of individuals, organizations, society, and humanity. 

What are some of the obstacles in providing mental health support?

We see a pair of obstacles – on an individualistic and organizational take.  

The individual-centric elephant in the room is long-known – awareness, personal revelation, and recognizing the need to act. On a global take, mental health is being increasingly spoken about, and individuals are starting to put more attention to it. Still, we have a long way ahead of us. Typically, the endangered individual is also the last one to join the party of awareness. In the context of burnout, individuals tend to live in a prolonged fight-or-flight mode, putting them into a survival-centric mode, increasing ego-centrism, and reducing their personal capacity to see the big picture and act upon it.  

On the notion of “the big picture” organizations are challenged across the hierarchy level board. Various levels of leadership (e.g. shareholders, advisory board, top, and middle management) are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of ongoing challenges (seemingly endless “new-normal” adaptations, political-, economic uncertainty, fear, mental health challenges), putting them in survival mode. Employee well-being and mental health measures are being introduced, yet either failing to activate the beneficiary or showing lackluster results. We need more empathy, inclusivity, and leadership by example. 

What is your biggest ask from policymakers to ensure mental health innovations can be readily used & accessed by end-users?

We are just a solution provider and by far not in the position to set the tone of policy makers. They themselves surely have plenty of challenges round the ears. However, if we could have a wish or two, then it would be quite simple. Create flexible policies and nurturing framework in support of evidence-driven approach, real-world data, and dynamic assessment of policies and individual solutions – both before introduction and post. 

Our second wish would be the creation of a wider soundboard, involving the actual solution providers and experts on the field for more synchronicity. In order to work better together we need to ensure a stable bridge between the high-level perspective and the granular understanding of the challenges of the individuals across the value-creation chain. 

Find out more about Digiburn here.