1. Dear Nora, I am very happy to introduce you and selfapy as part of our Female Founder Community. Please tell us a little about yourself and the company.

Selfapy offers online support for people who suffer from psychological stress such as depression, anxiety or panic disorders. Selfapy makes effective psychological help accessible to everyone quickly, flexibly and from anywhere.

The goal of Selfapy is to make the psychological care situation more efficient, to close gaps in care and to stand up against the stigmatization of mental illnesses. With Selfapy, people who suffer from psychological stress can receive professional help immediately and regardless of location. In this way, waiting times can be bridged as needed, relapses can be avoided and chronicity, inpatient stays and inability to work can be reduced. The courses are constantly being further developed both technically and in terms of content.

2. What was your motivation for founding selfapy and offering psychological online courses?

Our mission is to use Selfapy's online courses to improve the care situation for millions of people with psychological stress. In contrast to the average waiting time of three to six months for a psychotherapy place, with Selfapy those affected have the opportunity to receive effective help immediately and regardless of location.

When we started Selfapy, our goal was to offer immediate help to people suffering from psychological distress. You often hear stories of people who have to wait too long before they can use a therapy place. And not just because there are no checkout seats for therapists. There are a variety of other reasons (shame, stigma, inflexible working hours) why people find it difficult to keep appointments with therapists. Our courses are a simple and accessible way to immediately access the psychological help you need.

3. How exactly can you imagine participating in selfapy and how do I find out whether the offer is right for me?

The online courses for depression, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder can be prescribed by doctors or psychotherapists after the diagnosis has been made - the costs are then covered by all statutory health insurance companies. A study by the Charité Berlin with over 400 test subjects showed that Selfapy's depression course demonstrably reduces symptoms. Studies on other courses for anxiety and panic disorders also show a very high reduction in symptoms.

The 12-week online courses contain 12 lessons. These are based on proven methods of cognitive behavioral therapy and include easy-to-understand texts, informative videos and interactive exercises that can be easily integrated into everyday life. This is how Selfapy supports users on their way to a better quality of life.

If you have any questions about the course and maintaining patient safety, a qualified psychologist from Selfapy is available to users via the message function. Selfapy's online courses are CE-certified medical products and were developed by experts in psychology from science and practice.

4. The way we deal with mental illnesses has changed socially in recent years. How can you specifically identify these changes and what else do you want for the future?

Mental illnesses have increased sharply during the pandemic, while access to paid psychotherapists has become even more difficult because many practices closed during the pandemic. This means: the supply is lower, but the demand is greater. Many people have suffered from the situation. The pandemic has had significant effects on mental health.

However, the use of (online) therapy offers has increased enormously during this time, and there are already various analyzes from health insurance companies. We are not surprised by this increase. We also noticed an increase in the number of users at Selfapy during the pandemic. This happened in the first lockdown alone.

The call volume of our information calls tripled. Many of the people called because they wanted to know what they could do if they weren't feeling well.

The greater use of digital support services remained even after the lockdown. First of all, that's good because it means more people have access to help.

We also see positive effects in terms of stigmatization. More and more people - including many celebrities - are talking about the fact that they are not feeling well. This is a development that we are very happy to observe.

5. What have been your biggest challenges since coming up with the idea and ultimately founding selfapy and how were you able to solve them?

Since we were founded, we have been looking for reimbursement because we were convinced that those affected should not have to pay for our therapy courses themselves. To do this, we were dependent on direct cooperation with the health insurance companies. In order to get contracts with health insurance companies, you need one thing in particular: patience. After 3 years of sales work, we were finally able to convince the first health insurance companies to cover the costs of Selfapy's courses for their insured persons.

The Digital Care Act has been in place for several years, which enables Germany-wide reimbursement of digital health applications following certification. However, this certification is not easy. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) has very high requirements (including data protection) and checks strictly. In order to be approved as a digital health application (DiGA), all requirements must be met; it is a long process. The certification process also requires a scientific evaluation study. In collaboration with various German universities, we were able to prove the effectiveness of Selfapy's online courses. Since 2021, all of our online courses for depression, anxiety and panic have been listed as DiGAs and are therefore paid for by all health insurance companies in Germany. This means we are one step closer to closing the supply gap and helping more people in Germany by offering our DiGAs.

6. What three success factors do you think are needed to start a business?

We didn't set up to set up. We want to change the healthcare system - and helping people with mental illnesses is our focus. You don't have to have a traditional business degree to start a business. It is much more important to have a passion and really want to make a difference. You can learn the rest - and you learn much faster when you're passionate about something.



If you would like to find out more about Nora and selfapy, please take a look here:

To the website: www.selfapy.de
To Instagram: @selfapy