More than 5 million Americans experience eating disorders every year. But awareness, research and treatment are decades behind what we’ve come to expect for most other highly prevalent mental health conditions. This gap is obvious when considering access to care – with more than 80% of those who have an eating disorder never receiving the treatment they need.
Today’s prevailing treatment options were just not built for the majority of people who struggle with eating disorders. Instead, they’ve been designed for a subset of the most visible patients – typically young women with conditions leading to extreme weight loss. This systemic orientation towards treating a narrow set of severe eating disorders via interventions that take patients out of their homes and communities leaves little support for those who can’t afford them or those who don’t neatly fit into the stereotypes of what an eating disorder “looks like.” And to make matters worse, these intensive facility-based programs are also proven to have poor success rates, with up to 40% of patients relapsing. As a result, the average cost of eating disorder recovery in the US comes to nearly $250,000, with these costs exacerbated by limited insurance reimbursement. Patients often can’t get their treatment covered until they have reached a crisis point, which results in them needing intensive care.
We now know that eating disorders impact people of all sizes, ages, genders, and races. Moreover, there is growing evidence that less-intensive treatments like outpatient care and family-based therapy achieve similar outcomes as inpatient and residential services. At Wireframe, we’re incredibly optimistic about the potential of virtual-first care to better serve folks with complex, chronic conditions – especially where the current standard of care means poor outcomes or insufficient access. The next generation of virtual care solutions will go beyond digitizing the traditional 1:1 between patients and providers, to reimagine the entire model based on what’s possible when providers can bring a comprehensive care team to people where they are.
It wasn’t until we met the Arise team that we understood how virtual care for eating disorders might expand access to the millions of people left without treatment. Since our first conversations with Amanda and Joan, we were blown away by their leadership and clear vision for what empowered, accessible and affirming care can be. Informed by their own journeys to getting help for eating disorders and mental health, they’re building Arise to overcome the barriers to care they saw first hand. They both have years of experience working at high-growth health startups like Headspace, Brightline, and Cityblock, where they gained an in-depth understanding of what it takes to build new care models that improve patient outcomes while reducing costs. And critically, they know what it takes to build for those who have been systematically excluded from life-saving treatment.
It’s been a privilege to work with Amanda & Joan as they create the new standard for inclusive, personalized care for eating disorders. Through virtual care pathways, community, and ongoing support, Arise will bring people the right care, where and when they need it, creating the conditions for long-term healing and sustainable recovery. We’re thrilled for the opportunity to back Arise in their $4M seed round alongside Greycroft and BBG, and support them in making exceptional eating disorder care more accessible and affordable for people of all backgrounds.
Amanda D'Ambra & Joan Zhang
Seed - 2022