Daybreak Health launches online mental health therapy for teens amid the pandemic’s mental health crisis

Comment

Mental health care, self growth, potential development, motivation and aspiration, positive mindset, psychotherapy and analysis
Image Credits: Scar1984 / Getty Images

Working with a team of ten trained mental health clinicians, the Y Combinator-backed startup Daybreak Health is working with Bay Area high schools to provide mental health support for teens. 

Alex Alvarado, Siddarth Cidambi, and Luke Mercado, the three co-founders of Daybreak Health, either worked with startups in the health care industry or consulted on the healthcare industry for a few years before deciding to launch their new startup.

For Alvarado, whose brother has been struggling with depression since he was twelve years old, the issue is personal, the founder said in an interview. It was only two years ago that Alvarado received a call telling him that his brother had attempted to take his own life after his decades-long struggle.

It was then that Alvarado began to confront just how broken current treatment methodologies were. His family had tried to find consistent care for Alvarado’s younger brother, but therapists were expensive, remote, had waiting lists that were weeks-long, and had difficulty related to teens (especially teens who weren’t white).

Alvarado’s brother isn’t alone. One in five teens in the US have or will have a mental health issue, Alvarado said, and the nation’s ineffectual response to the COVID-19 epidemic is only exacerbating the problem. Judging by the statistics, there are 7 million teens in the US right now with a mental health condition and rates of depression and anxiety are going up.

The team of ten clinicians that Daybreak Health works with have a deep experience with evidence-based care and Alvarado expects that most of the patients that they consult will be undergoing some form of behavioral therapy guided by those clinicians.

For teens who are experiencing less acute mental health issues, there’s a team of what the company calls “trained listeners” to provide support.

Alvarado and Cidambi both worked at the consulting firm Oliver Wyman and Mercado and Alvarado knew each other from Jiff, a healthcare startup focused on providing wellness benefits to employees at companies, which was eventually bought by Castlight Health.

To ensure their mental health bona fides, the company brought in Dr. Neha Chaudhary from Stanford’s Brainstorm Lab, which focuses on innovation in mental health, as an advisor. Chaudhary and other members of the company’s advisory board are designing the content for Daybreak. “They’re actually the ones designing our clinical program from the ground up,” says Alvarado.

Image Credit: Daybreak Health

The company is currently working with 20 Bay Area schools and pediatric groups in the Bay area and is focused on treating teens aged thirteen to nineteen, says Alvarado.

Currently, both schools and pediatric groups are referring patients to the company, and the cost of care is covered either through insurance or through an $89 per-week fee.

“This is a full-stack therapy program,” says Alvarado. “It’s an improvement, in our view [on traditional therapy], because not only are you getting that invidividual one-on-one therapy, but you’re also getting curriculums around certain points in time.”

For the teens, it’s not only about specific interventions to prevent certain behaviors, Cidambi says. It’s also to build up coping mechanisms so teens can better respond to mental health pressures as adults.

Alvarado stresses that the program isn’t for any teen that’s feeling a bit stressed or for parents who’re just worried about their child’s performance. There’s an hour-long intake consultation conducted with both the teen and the parent before a teen can be admitted to the program.

And the company has already turned away some potential customers because they just didn’t need the treatment. “Our goal is not to just bring anybody into treatment.”

Alvarado would not say how many students are currently being treated from its Bay Area partner schools, and says that the schools are a mix of both public and private institutions in the Bay Area.

“Our main touchpoint at the school will be the school counselor or the wellness coordinator,” says Cidambi. Daybreak Health doesn’t pay for referrals but does reach out to school counselors to market its services.

The company is far from the only service out there trying to provide online counseling for teens, TeenCounseling is one service that boasts 5,000 therapists and offers its services from $80 to $100 per week.

“The beauty of what we’re doing is the marriage of the clinical program with the technology,” says Alvarado. “We always want to have the therapist involved. And we are developing a mobile app… that is to communicate… and enable patients to do some exercises on their own, but we never believe that it will be a standalone app.”

More TechCrunch

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

18 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

3 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

3 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies