Top Mental Health Technologies and Innovations in Germany

Every year, individuals, industries, and governments become increasingly aware of mental health. Mental health is soon to be one of the biggest problems financially. According to the World Health Organisation, depression will become the most significant healthcare burden by 2030, costing $6 trillion globally. This is equivalent to the total global healthcare spending in 2012. It’s also now common knowledge that mental health isn’t a personality trait, isn’t the fault of an individual, and should be actively treated. This means mental healthcare should attract the latest technologies and benefit from global digitization and innovations, just like any other field.

Germany is one of the countries that’s been taking mental health seriously before it became mainstream. It has long prioritized the mental well-being of its citizens and has established ways to diagnose and treat patients. By 2022, the German government has built a support system to help citizens diagnosed with mental health issues. This includes access to financial support and extensive mental healthcare services. Mental healthcare services fall into two categories: psychosomatic clinics, which treat depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and eating disorders among others, and psychiatric hospitals. Both of these can exist as stand-alone clinics or as parts of general hospitals.

In Germany, general practitioners (GPs) identify patients who might need treatments and refer them to specialists. Psychiatrists (for psycho-pharmacological treatment), licensed clinical psychologists (for psychotherapy), or specialists for psychosomatic medicine (MDs who conduct psychotherapy) diagnose and treat patients.

One of the biggest achievements of the German governmental policies regarding healthcare was that Germany has worked hard to overcome the stigma around mental health illnesses. Multiple outreach campaigns, for example, the Open the Doors Program promoted visiting psychologists and testing for mental illness. The government promoted the idea that seeking help for mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of ― largely because a lot of people suffer from some form of mental illness and very few choose to seek help. And it worked. Multiple studies showed that mental health stigma has steadily declined over the years.

In Germany, 31% are diagnosed with at least one mental illness. Like most other developed nations, the most widespread illnesses are depression and anxiety. Also like most other developed nations, the country has lately turned its attention to innovations in mental health technologies and how they can help people deal with illnesses and improve their well-being.

In this article, we’ll look at the most popular mental health technologies and at how they are being used to improve mental health.

AI chatbots that help practice CBT

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is one of the most popular and evidence-based psychological treatments. It has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including the most popular ones: anxiety and depression. CBT is based on changing one’s unhelpful thinking patterns: noticing when the thoughts become distorted and learning to re-evaluate them. While patients usually benefit from having a specialist leading them through the therapy, they don’t necessarily need one. CBT is largely a self-help practice and often enough, a chatbot can do the trick. Some of such chatbots are Woebot and Wysa ― widely used all over the world, including in Germany.


VR (Virtual Reality) has shown outstanding results in various psychological treatments. Now that the cost of virtual reality software development is becoming more affordable, ordinary patients in developed countries are starting to receive the treatment. This is great news, as virtual reality tools can treat anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other conditions. They can also help improve challenging conditions that people are bound to live with. For example, children with ADHD can practice focusing in a VR classroom and people with autism can practice understanding the emotions of other people and surviving stressful social situations. In Germany, the biggest German health insurer Techniker Krankenkasse started reimbursing virtual reality therapy performed by the German digital therapeutics startup Sympatient. Sympatient announced a partnership with Techniker Krankenkasse at the end of January 2020. This resulted in Techniker Krankenkasse and the University Medical Center Schleswig Holstein launching digital anxiety therapy. Sympatient provides the therapy, including the VR solution that treats patients, and health insurance covers the entire cost.

Mental health therapy online

Mental health therapy is a complex task. Usually, it involves regular sessions with a mental health professional, self-checks, diaries, homework, and constant motivation pushes. German startup MindDoc is a platform that combines weekly sessions with a licensed clinical psychologist, as well as self-help materials and chatbots. The platform states that the costs for video-based psychotherapy are covered by many statutory and private health insurances. Using the platform, you can do a self-test to determine which MindDoc service is right for you, book an in-person consultation, and get the treatment you need without leaving your home.

Data collection

Data collection is difficult, yet vital for any national healthcare service. Recently, the Robert Koch Institute has begun developing a Mental Health Surveillance (MHS) system for Germany. Surveillance refers to the ongoing and systematic collection, collation, analysis, interpretation, and timely dissemination of mental health data. MHS will help to create a basis for evidence-based planning and evaluation of public health measures in relation to mental health. At the moment, it continuously reports data for sixty relevant mental health indicators. In the future, the data set will help identify needs for interventions, and burdened population groups, and make it possible to create an effective mental healthcare strategy.

Data collection is possible due to the existing human health monitoring system based on the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. People wear remote monitoring devices that deliver the data such as heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, body temperature, and physiological information to the wireless sensor. The data is then integrated using the Internet of Things for processing, connecting, and computing to achieve real-time monitoring.


What can be the future of German mental health innovation?

There are still a lot of mental health niches left uncovered by the German mental health innovators. One of the most obvious niches is the collision of femtech and mental health apps. In the UK, new technologies are being developed to help new and expectant mothers and their families to keep calm and carry on. Such apps screen for prenatal and postnatal depression and associated anxieties, and if required, guide new mothers through pregnancy and childbirth teaching them coping strategies. Technologies include an early intervention symptoms checker, a mood tracker, and a location tool. In Germany, 10-15% of women develop postpartum depression after childbirth. Women who have already experienced depressive episodes at different times in their lives and women who show severe depressive symptoms in the first week after giving birth have an increased risk of developing the disease. Technologies that combine femtech and the latest mental health tech innovations have a real chance to improve the health of such mothers.


The percentage of any given population that suffer from some kind of mental health illness is always substantial. People suffering from mental health illnesses are a burden to the healthcare system, to people around them, and, most of all, to themselves. Yet, the effort to fight mental health illnesses using the latest technology and the most innovative methods has only recently become a popular one. Despite the areas left to catch up on, Germany is one of the countries leading in research and implementation of mental health technology, and it’s important that other governments and healthcare facilities pay attention to their ideas, methods, successes, and failures.

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