This holiday season, as we play with fun topic like music, food, and dance, I also want to tackle one heavy topic: mental illness.
There has always been a stigma around mental illness. Yet, 10 percent of the U.S. population is mentally ill. And if you extrapolate from that number, it is conceivable that worldwide, 700 million people are mentally ill. These illnesses can be varied, ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder to chronic depression to various addictions to developmental disorders to post-traumatic stress disorder that is so common in war veterans these days.
Those afflicted and their loved ones go through phases of anxiety, shame, denial, anger, and gradually, as they learn and understand more, find compassion, acceptance, and in some cases, inspiration to become activists championing the cause of the mentally ill. As people face and learn to cope with these problems, some also come back and offer solutions.
Today, I want to approach the subject of mental illness from this perspective of looking for solutions to a very large, global problem. In 2011, I have written extensively about the notion of human-centric computing. I am strongly of the opinion that we’re at a point in the history of technology, entrepreneurship, and business where many of humanity’s greatest, most acute problems, could be solved by applying what we have learned over the past couple of decades and by applying capitalistic models.
We are also at a point, especially in the Western world, when growth has stalled and unemployment reigns in disturbing proportions. We need to look for problems for which solutions cannot be outsourced to China or India.
My choice of mental illness as an open problem to explore is one that is based not only on the personal experience of my family and friends, but also on the fact that the market opportunity is large. Any problem that touches the lives of 700 million afflicted, and at least 1.5 billion–2 billion family and friends, is a $100 billion-plus market opportunity, the likes of which seldom shows up on the radars of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The job creation potential of the industry, if managed professionally, is also immense – probably in the order of 350 million jobs worldwide and at least 15 million jobs in the U.S. alone.
And the problem domain is acute: Those who suffer and their loved ones are desperate for solutions, making this a field quite unlike working on digital farms, and shooting angry birds.
Let’s also quickly recap the Web 3.0 terminology:
3C = Content, Commerce, Community |?4th C = Context |?P = Personalization |?VS = Vertical Search
Thus, the formula we will be working with is: Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS).
In the remainder of the series, we’ll explore how we can design a worldwide Web 3.0 portal for mental illness à la Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on.
This segment is a part in the series : Web 3.0 and Mental Illness