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Web 3.0 and Mental Illness: Content, Community And Commerce

Posted on Wednesday, Dec 28th 2011

Web 3.0 and Mental Illness: Content

The content needs of the domain are immense and range all the way from content related to various illnesses, their symptoms, medications, prognosis, and state of research, to the vast spectrum of discussions and insights on coping mechanisms and support resources for family and friends.

In terms of user-generated content, of course blogs dominate. There are many, and a curated collection for the portal would be nice. More important, though, a Yelp-like reviews and ratings function for doctors, psychiatrists, halfway houses, councilors, case managers, residential treatment centers, and other service providers would be a much-needed addition to the resource pool. The industry is full of hacks and charlatans, and weeding them out is a necessary function of such a system.

Web 3.0 and Mental Illness: Community

In terms of community, families in the same town with similar issues can join hands and create solutions together. For example, ten families with schizophrenic kids in the 20–30 age group in Palo Alto could put together a commune of sorts with full-time staff to supervise them. What may be unaffordable for one family may be perfectly affordable for ten.

Web 3.0 and Mental Illness: Commerce

Commerce, it seems to me, can take many different forms. The greatest need of the community is care – long term, short term, acute, mild – and at various different price points, coping with the vagaries of the various insurance companies and their whims. As such, the best business opportunities I see are not necessarily virtual but physical, making this a hybrid open problem that straddles both domains.

Imagine a set of ranches in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico that are specifically designed to care for mentally ill patients, helping them to live as normal and meaningful lives as possible. Proximity to nature, connection to horses – such things tend to be therapeutic measures and work wonders.

Imagine a set of residential facilities that specifically focus on music. As we know from the lives of musicians like Nathaniel Ayers (The Soloist), great talent often ends up on the streets because of mental illness. Whether it is in art, crafts, music, cuisine, or literature – there certainly are opportunities to build facilities for the mentally ill where their talents can be cultivated under proper, professional supervision.

Speaking of talent, illness, and film, A Beautiful Mind portrayed Nobel laureate John Nash’s mathematical genius battling with schizophrenia, and eventually winning the Nobel for his work on game theory. Who knows how many unknown, obscure John Nashes end up on the streets because they lack appropriate care? The facilities attached to schools and universities, therefore, are critical to give them a chance at normal, productive, and in certain cases, lives of extraordinary achievement.

These facilities, where patient-to-staff ratios tend to be quite low, are good job generators, but the economics of these businesses need to be worked out carefully. At the high end, businesses get away with charging $500 a day, which is out of the reach of the vast majority of the population. Real estate costs also can be prohibitive in expensive locations, and often, successful facilities work better in rural settings.

This segment is a part in the series : Web 3.0 and Mental Illness

. Introduction
. Context
. Content, Community And Commerce
. Personalization

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i wonder what else we can do for the commerce section…. how would the residential facilities ect that you are suggesting, be bootstrapped?

matt Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 5:50 AM PT

Possibly by pulling together local groups of family-members who want a solution, and working out the commitments, then renting …

Sramana Mitra Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 5:19 PM PT