Ashoka Scandinavia welcomes Oskar Blakstad as a new Fellow

Oskar Blakstad from Norway, founder of Explorable AS/Assisted Self-Help, was elected as a Fellow in 2018.

Ashoka Scandinavia is excited to announce that Oskar Blakstad from Norway has been elected as an Ashoka Fellow . With Explorable AS and Assisted Self-Help, Oskar is leveraging the Norwegian healthcare system to attend to currently underprioritized patients with mild and moderate symptoms of the most common mental health disorders. By also developing a web-based platform for experts to create and share treatments, Oskar is building a library of interventions, spreading knowledge about mental health and opening up for new types of collaborations within the healthcare system.

With Assisted Self-Help (ASH) tools, Oskar aims to improve the access to affordable treatments among patients who experience mild and moderate symptoms of the most common mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and sleeping disorders. Oskar is leveraging the Norwegian public mental healthcare system by making web-based ASH treatments available for general practitioners (GP) and mental health experts to attend to patients with mild/moderate mental health problems who are currently underprioritized due to lack of resources. Oskar provides a faster response for this large number of patients, thus improving their quality of life. Simultaneously he addresses the issues of an inefficiently structured and overcrowded healthcare system.

Oskar seeks to create a system where people can quickly get the relevant support they need to treat emerging mental health problems. To achieve this, he is building an author tool based on creative commons principles for mental health experts. With the author tool, specialists can contribute content to web-based interventions in their areas of expertise, allowing them to learn from and build on each other’s practices as well as spreading these interventions to an unlimited number of individuals within specific target groups. Oskar is building connections and ultimately lowering barriers for collaboration across health providers from different areas of expertise, such as psychology, cardiology and general practice. Finally, he is addressing the inefficient structures of the healthcare system and fractured treatment and diagnoses processes by facilitating collaboration between experts, producing knowledge and ultimately saving valuable resources and money in healthcare institutions across the country. 

Towards the final step of the selection process, Oskar joined the Venture panel and European Changemaker Summit in Berlin. Here he expressed his thoughts on Ashoka's Fellow selection process as following:

I was really impressed with how good Ashoka team was in understanding my work and vision. Ashoka’s Venture process and the team helped me to see how can I present what I am working towards and they communicated this to me in a way so that I can use with others.

Given the global rise of common mental health disorders, as well as the limited resources of public healthcare institutions and the lack of spaces of collaboration across different areas of expertise, Oskar’s idea could help millions of patients and healthcare workers worldwide. Read Oskar's Fellow profile here