Digital Health Unicorn Lyra Expands Teen Therapy Service as Youth Mental Health Crisis Worsens

Digital mental health unicorn Lyra Health is expanding its teen behavioral health offerings. The expansion comes as the nation shines a brighter spotlight on youth mental health challenges.

Lyra’s employer behavioral health benefits platform will now help teens match with specialized mental health providers. Teens will have access to video-based therapy and between-session digital exercise, guides and assessments. Patients can also tap into one-on-one messaging with their provider in-between sessions.

Many teens are experiencing behavioral health problems. In 2021, 37% of high school students said they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a CDC analysis. Additionally, 44% of teens said they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year.

A recently published report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute reinforces those statistics as well.

​​“Traditional approaches to childhood mental health care have failed our kids, as well as their parents and caregivers,” Dr. Connie Chen, chief operating officer of Lyra Health, said in a statement. “It has been extraordinarily difficult for families to find specialists practicing evidence-based care, and parents are left poorly supported when coping with these difficult and complex family situations.”

Founded in 2015 as a workforce mental health product, Lyra has garnered serious investor attention. After closing a $200 million Series C funding round in 2021, the company has raised a total of $680 million.

At the time of the funding, the Burlingame, California-based company’s valuation was $4.2 billion.

Along with the specialized teen therapy announcement, Lyra has also shared it is building a new care navigation service for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

As part of the program, caregivers and adults with AUD can consult with a care navigator, who will help them find in-network providers and coordinated care. The navigator can also supply members with resources and educational materials.

Lastly, Lyra is building out its coaching support for caregivers and parents of children living with mental health issues.

Parents can work with coaches on a custom plan and text with a coach. In-between sessions, parents will have access to video lessons on relevant topics.

Lyra isn’t the only virtual provider working in the pediatric mental health space. Brightline, which employs multidisciplinary behavioral health teams to deliver virtual care to the pediatric population, has raised just under $220 million in venture funding.

“Since Lyra’s inception, child and adolescent mental health has been a critical area of focus, as demonstrated by the depth of our specialized provider network and care programs,” said Chen. “Our clinical team continues to research and develop new services to support young people and their families through evidence-based care and engaging apps and content.”

Lyra serves over 10 million global employees and their dependents, according to the company.

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