Population Health Unicorn Color Enters Behavioral Health Space with Acquisition of Mood Lifters

Digital health unicorn Color is entering the behavioral health space.

It’s doing so with the launch of a new school-based mental health service and the acquisition of group-based mental health company Mood Lifters. The terms of the deal, announced on Thursday, were not disclosed.

The new services will allow population health focused-Color to offer public school departments and districts access to mental health services. The combined offering will include access to screenings and to mental health providers, as well as a billing infrastructure for providers.


“The challenges in behavioral health access come from a supply shortage that can be fixed by reimagining the logistics around delivering health care – something Color has been doing since our founding nine years ago,” Othman Laraki, Color’s CEO, said in a statement. “Through our experience building highly impactful federal, state and local programs for public and population health, we know that providing access to care in the context of how people live their everyday lives is the key to creating effective care delivery programs.”

Moving forward, Color’s clients will also have access to non-clinical group-based mental health therapy, thanks to the acquisition of Mood Lifters. The peer-based mental health tool is aimed at improving anxiety and depressive symptoms in youth.

With an eye on health equity, the program is designed to integrate into existing community resources and communicate in multiple languages.


“At Mood Lifters, we’ve built a program that reduces the personal and economic burden of stress, depression and anxiety,” said Dr. Patricia Deldin, co-founder and CEO of Mood Lifters. “Now, with Color, we will be able to realize our shared dream of bringing readily available, high-quality, effective, low-cost, evidence-based care to those who really need it, wherever they are and whatever their means.”

Founded in 2013, Color has raised more than $378 million in funding. In 2021, the company’s valuation was $4.6 billion.

Additionally as part of its mission, Color helps public health agencies build a digital infrastructure for its programs. In 2019, it was commissioned by the National Institutes of Health to help it run the All of Us program, which gathered data from 1 million or more people in the U.S. to look at genetics, disease and prevention.

The company also worked on a number of COVID-19 testing and vaccination initiatives across the country.

With this launch, Color joins the growing list of digital providers looking to help address youth mental health. For example, Hazel Health, a pediatric mental health provider, landed $50 million to help expand its reach in K-12 schools.

Roughly 20% of teens have experienced a major depressive episode, and 36.7% of high schoolers have reported feeling sad or hopeless, according to the CDC.

The federal government has begun to invest in school-based mental health programs. In July, the Biden administration pledged nearly $300 million to help expand mental health services in schools.