Big Health follows up Sleepio with Daylight, an app for anxiety

Like its predecessor, the app combines artistic presentation with proven cognitive behavioral therapy strategies.
By Jonah Comstock
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Big Health, the London and San Francisco-based digital health app company behind CBT-based sleep app Sleepio, has released its second app, Daylight, which is focused on combating worry and anxiety. Like Sleepio, the app is based on cognitive behavioral therapy. It was developed by a group of creatives the company describes as "leading podcast producers, filmmakers, designers and animators, including veterans of Pixar and NPR’s Radiolab", with scientific support from Boston University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Oxford and University of Texas, Austin.

“With anxiety and other mental health issues causing distress to millions and costing trillions worldwide, widespread access to effective solutions has never been more critical,” Peter Hames, CEO and cofounder of Big Health, said in a statement. “By combining the expertise of world-leading scientists, animators and storytellers we’ve been able to develop digital therapeutics that respond to the human, emotional reality of these problems. We are excited about the potential for Daylight to help many more people back to good mental health.”

The app uses narration and animation to offer modules that digitally implement different proven strategies for coping with anxiety like "scheduled worry time", "tense and release", and "worry exposure".

The app is not freely available, but interested individuals can go to  to apply to be part of a research study on the app. It will also be rolled out to some of the employers who currently offer Sleepio. 

Why it matters

Big Health's first app, Sleepio, is currently rolled out to 12 million users through its employer customers as well as the UK's National Health Service. It has also been fairly rigorously studied compared to most digital health interventions with at least six randomized control trials under its belt, including a major study that was published last fall in JAMA Psychiatry.

It remains to be seen if Daylight will have the same proven efficacy, but its pedigree makes it worth keeping an eye on.

What's the trend

Behavioral health and mental health apps are a hot commodity at the moment. Digital chronic disease management company Livongo just paid more than $10 million for behavioral health app MyStrength, shortly after Omada announced its move into behavioral health using technology from failed digital health startup Lantern. Just today, meditation app calm announced an $88 million raise, and it's not the only well-funded app in that space.

On the record

“As an organization, we are committed to providing comprehensive wellness and mental health resources. We’ve found Big Health’s first program, Sleepio, to be a fun and effective way to help our employees improve their sleep,”  Lisa Kelly-Croswell, SVP and chief human resources officer at Boston Medical Center, said in a statement. “We’re now excited to offer Daylight and further expand options for our employees to access mental health resources in an innovative and accessible format.”