The Y Combinator works with a team of ten trained psychiatric clinicians -based start Daybreak health works with high schools in the Bay Area to help teenagers with their mental health.
Alex Alvarado, Siddarth Cidambi and Luke Mercado, the three co-founders of Daybreak Health, either worked with startups in the healthcare industry or consulted about the healthcare industry for a few years before deciding to start their new startup.
For Alvarado, whose brother has been struggling with depression since he was 12, the problem is personal, the founder said in an interview. Only two years ago, Alvarado received a call telling him that his brother had tried to commit suicide after decades of struggle.
At this point, Alvarado began to confront how broken the current treatments were. His family had tried consistently to care for Alvarado's younger brother, but the therapists were expensive, remote, had waiting lists of weeks, and had trouble with teenagers (especially teenagers who weren't white).
Alvarado's brother is not alone. One in five teenagers in the U.S. has or will have a mental health problem, Alvarado said, and the nation's ineffective response to the COVID-19 epidemic only exacerbates the problem. According to statistics, there are currently 7 million teenagers with mental illness in the United States, and the rate of depression and anxiety is increasing.
The team of ten clinicians with whom Daybreak Health works has extensive experience in evidence-based care. Alvarado believes that most of the patients they consult will receive behavioral therapy led by these clinicians.
For young people with less acute mental health problems, there is a team that 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 corporate employees that Castlight Health eventually bought.
To ensure their mental health, the company Dr. Neha Chaudary from the Brainstorm Lab in Stanford, who focuses on innovations in mental health. "They are actually the ones who are developing our clinical program from scratch," says Alvarado.
The company is currently working with 20 schools and pediatric groups in the Bay Area in the Bay Area, focusing on treating teenagers ages 13 to 19, says Alvarado.
Currently, schools and pediatric groups refer patients to the company, and care costs are covered either by insurance or by a weekly fee of $ 89.
"This is a full-stack therapy program," says Alvarado. "From our point of view (in relation to traditional therapy), this is an improvement because you not only receive this individual therapy, but also receive curricula at certain times."
For teenagers, it's not just about specific interventions to prevent certain behaviors, says Cidambi. It is also about building coping mechanisms so that adolescents as adults can react better to psychological stress.
Alvarado emphasizes that the program is not intended for teenagers who feel a little stressed, or for parents who are only concerned about their child's performance. There is a one-hour admission consultation that is conducted with both the teenager and the parent before a teenager can be admitted to the program.
And the company has already turned away some potential customers for simply not needing treatment. "Our goal is not to get anyone treated."
Alvarado would not say how many students are currently treated by its partner schools in the Bay Area, and says that the schools are a mix of public and private facilities in the Bay Area.
"Our main point of contact at school will be the school counselor or wellness coordinator," says Cidambi. Daybreak Health does not pay for transfers, but contacts school advisors to market its services.
The company is far from the only service that tries to provide online advice for young people. TeenCounseling is a service that includes 5,000 therapists and offers services ranging from $ 80 to $ 100 a week.
"The beauty of our work is the combination of the clinical program with technology," says Alvarado. “We always want to involve the therapist. And we are developing a mobile app … that is, to communicate … and to give patients the opportunity to do some exercises themselves, but we never believe that it is a standalone app. "