• Mental health stocks set to benefit from increased mental health awareness
  • This week’s budget included measures to help patients and the sector
  • Cogstate (ASX:CGS) is 2020’s biggest winner so far up over 50 per cent

As the world becomes increasingly aware about mental health, the number of ASX mental health-linked stocks has grown.

The government estimates that more than a quarter of Australians aged between 16 and 85 (4.2 million people) will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime.

In this week’s budget, the government spent an unprecedented $5.7bn on mental health initiatives and tomorrow, October 10, will be a further reminder being World Mental Health Day.

A number of ASX stocks are looking to play their part in helping address the crisis. There are two categories, firstly pure-play stocks with software that specifically monitors mental health.

The other is telehealth stocks that will benefit from budget initiatives aimed at boosting remote consultations.


Pure-play mental health stocks

A handful of small caps have targeted solutions to monitor mental health.

Two stocks, Cogstate (ASX:CGS) and Total Brain (ASX:TTB), offer self-assessment tools for brain health that can identify common medical conditions.

Both stocks have partnerships with major firms for their technology.

Cogstate has nabbed a marketing deal with Japanese pharmaceutical firm Eisai, while Total Brain has locked in a deal to integrate its mental health tech into computing giant IBM’s THRIVE360 software.

Corporate wellness is another area being tackled by some ASX-listed stocks. Medibio (ASX: MEB) has also developed a self-assessment tool, but it does not just rely on the brain — it also factors in broader biometric changes and personal lifestyle alterations.

The company has also developed software that can diagnose sleep disorders, MEBsleep, and is currently seeking US Food and Drug Administration approval for it.

Rounding out the list is the largest of these stocks — US-based firm Limeade (ASX:LME), which sells “employee wellness” software. While this could identify mental health problems, its primary aim is to measure employee inclusion, engagement and satisfaction.

Of these stocks, Cogstate has gained the most ground in 2020 with its shares up more than 50 per cent.

CGS, TTB, MEB and LME share price chart


Telehealth stocks

The biggest mental health initiative in the budget was the annual allowance for Medicare-subsidised sessions with a psychologist doubling from 10 to 20.

The Morrison government also followed through on industry calls to extend the telehealth subsidies, with the initiative set to continue for a further six months.

Nearly a dozen small caps have solutions that cater for telehealth. Four in particular would likely be the biggest beneficiaries from the continued focus on telehealth solutions.

1st Group (ASX:1ST) for example has an online directory of telehealth clinics and an appointment booking service.

Ireland-domiciled Oneview Healthcare (ASX:ONE) meanwhile has a cloud-based tablet solution to help healthcare systems and providers manage patients.

Global Health (ASX:GLH) has a software platform that stores people’s electronic health records — held confidentially between a doctor and their patient.

Rounding out the list is Intelicare (ASX:ICR), which is the newest telehealth stock having only listed in May.

It tracks and monitors the movements of aged care facility residents. It is able to alert carers and family members of unexpected changes and provides daily confirmation that all is well.