Fighting for Change
Don Wright has been a visionary leader in the mental healthcare industry for decades, fighting to end stigma.
“Caring for a mental health concern should be as normal as saying ‘I have diabetes and will be making lifestyle changes and beginning treatment.’”
In part due to the stigma, mental healthcare has been underfunded and has not had the same amount of research and breakthrough discoveries that other healthcare fields have had. We are working to change that.
Tragically, the mission became deeply personal after Don lost his son to suicide in 2017.
In 2017, Don had already sold his first mental healthcare company, Assurex Health. He was building Clarigent Health, which has released a product that uses machine learning algorithms to identify when a speaker is at risk of suicide. “While it is a personal cause for me, it is also a much wider problem that needs to be addressed. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 10-34. Suicide rates were increasing before the pandemic, and now mental health risks are reaching heights we’ve never seen.”
Bringing to life a decade of clinical research
While the need is more urgent than ever, our core technology has been in the works for more than a decade. The foundational research began in a lab at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center (CCHMC). Dr. John Pestian and Dr. Tracey Glauser conducted research to determine whether machine learning algorithms could pick up small differences in a person’s language to identify which patients were at risk of suicide. First they ran analyses on the largest ever collection of suicide notes, donated by bereaved families. Next they refined the algorithms to analyze speech samples.
Don was closely involved as the research advanced. After selling his first company, Don and our CTO, Bill Haynes, licensed the technology from CCHMC and began building software around it, founding Clarigent Health.
Growing from Southwest Ohio roots
We have now completed clinical trials and released a product to support mental healthcare professionals. As we continue clinical research and development of future technology products, we proudly maintain our headquarters in Mason, Ohio. Bill and Don are pillars of the blossoming innovation hub in the Cincinnati region. “We are both west-siders. Earlier in my career I worked for Seattle- and Boston-based companies but have always successfully avoided moving to the coasts.” With the region investing in innovation, and local universities and hospitals providing a hotbed of biotech knowledge, we are excited for the future and for the hope that the our technology brings. We hope you will join us in our mission to save lives.