Amid COVID-19, Yeshiva U., Eleos partner to combat mental health crisis

“We are training 21st century clinicians to provide excellent care and support in any setting, whether in face-to-face therapy sessions or through teletherapy.”

A view of Yeshiva University (photo credit: SCALIGERA/ENGLISH WIKIPEDIA)
A view of Yeshiva University
Israeli mental health start-up Eleos Health is partnering with aspiring professionals at Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work to help combat the mental health crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
The new collaboration builds on the capabilities of Eleos Health, a platform that uses artificial intelligence alongside Zoom and other telemedicine methods as a means of optimizing therapeutic care.
The platform works by analyzing therapy sessions, taking numerous metrics into account such as which mental health issue is most prominent, which evidence-based techniques were employed during the therapy session and the most-used words. The entire process is compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), ensuring patients' privacy will not be at risk.
The Wurzweiler School is set to be the first higher education institution to use the Eleos platform as not only a means of remote care, but as a teaching tool for aspiring mental health care professionals. In addition, it plans to make the platform available to alumni therapists as well as throughout Yeshiva University.
This new and innovative approach to remote care is very promising amid the ongoing pandemic, as the world is seeing increasing rates of anxiety and depression, as well as increased substance abuse – much of it due to post-traumatic stress symptoms. In Israel, a recent Health Ministry report found a 71.2% increase in referrals of children and adolescents with serious suicidal thoughts to mental health clinics amid the coronavirus crisis.
Mental health professionals have struggled to overcome the numerous obstacles the pandemic has caused, as well as the consequent increase in the number of people dealing with stress and anxiety to the point of needing therapy.
In early October, a World Health Organization (WHO) report found that “the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing.” As such, an efficient means of remote care for mental health issues is a significant priority.
“As the pandemic forced us to learn to be effective teachers in a remote setting, we realized that we also need to refocus our curriculum to train our students to deliver quality care remotely, especially as more and more patients engage in teletherapy,” Dr. Hanni B Flaherty, online training leader and assistant professor at Wurzweiler, said in a statement.
“We are training 21st century clinicians to provide excellent care and support in any setting, whether in face-to-face therapy sessions or through teletherapy,” explained Wurzweiler dean Dr. Danielle Wozniak.  
“The feedback students receive from this platform greatly enhances that training.”   
“The pandemic has thrust mental health – and teletherapy – to the top of the global agenda,” said Eleos co-founder and CEO Alon Joffe.  
“With this software platform, clinicians in training can apply therapy as well as teletherapy skills," he said. "Eleos focuses on serving health systems and providers, but we’re grateful for the opportunity to give educators the tools needed to effectively train the next generation of therapists and mental health clinicians.”
Hillel Fuld and Hannah Brown contributed to this report.