How LifeStance’s Latest Partnership Reflects One of Health Care’s Biggest Trends

Addressing women’s health is becoming an increasingly prominent theme in the behavioral health industry.

In one of the most recent examples of the trend, major behavioral health provider LifeStance (Nasdaq: LFST) is boosting its integrated care offerings through a new partnership focused on caring for individuals experiencing menopause.

“Menopause impacts the mind and body,” LifeStance Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anisha Patel-Dunn told Behavioral Health Business. “For us, it’s a really great partnership of synergy, in us being able to provide that outpatient mental health care for the women who are going to Gennev for menopause care.”


Late last week, the mental health company announced a new deal with Gennev, a United Women’s Healthcare affiliate that offers a digital health platform providing patients with personalized menopause care plans. Its team includes a network of OB-GYNs, registered dietitians and health coaches.

As part of the partnership, Gennev will refer its patients to LifeStance’s team of psychiatrists and psychotherapists, who can tailor mental health plans for people experiencing menopause. The new collaboration is expected to help LifeStance move the dial on integrated care.

“It’s just a great complement to be holistic in approaching women in menopause and addressing all sides of what’s going on,” Patel-Dunn continued.


Founded in 2017, LifeStance is a publicly traded behavioral health company. It operates in 34 states and has 600 care centers. The company offers virtual and in-person outpatient mental health care for children, youth and adults with several mental health conditions.

This partnership with Gennev is part of the organization’s larger strategic initiative to provide integrated care.

“We are committed to partnerships that support our vision of a truly healthy society where mental and physical health care are unified,” Kenneth Burdick, LifeStance CEO, said last Wednesday during the company’s Q1 earnings call.

Why women’s health

LifeStance has a history of working with primary care physicians, either as a referral partner for PCPs with patients in need of behavioral health services, or as the referring party, helping their mental health patients get set up with a physical health doctor.

But Patel-Dunn noted that LifeStance is now considering integration beyond internal medicine and family practices.

“This is a great example of how we think about primary care and behavioral health integration,” Patel-Dunn said. “Oftentimes, when people think of primary care, they think of family practices, internal medicine and pediatrics, but OB-GYN and women’s health is also part of primary care. I think that a lot of times, it gets overlooked.”

As of 2018, just 4% of overall funding for research and development in health care went to products and services dedicated to women’s health. But as LifeStance’s partnership suggests, that’s changing – and several new businesses are emerging with women’s health as their main area of interest. Last year, for instance, virtual women’s and family health services company Maven raised a $90 million Series E at a $1.35 billion valuation.

The LifeStance-Gennev partnership now adds to that momentum.

“This opportunity helps [us] partner together to help our patients in a much more holistic way and recognize that this is a one form of primary care, behavioral health integration,” Patel-Dunn said.

Although often labeled a niche health topic, menopause will impact roughly half the population at some point in their life. This makes it a prime place for LifeStance to focus its integration efforts.

“Research shows that proactively addressing behavioral health conditions during menopause reduces the likelihood of a patient requiring crisis care,” Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, chief medical officer at Gennev, said in a statement. “The results are improved quality of life and, ideally, a reduction of downstream behavioral health costs.”

Approximately 6,000 people daily and 2 million people per year reach menopause in the U.S., according to the Mayo Clinic. Menopause can often impact an individual’s overall behavioral health.

Addressing these behavioral health concerns is best done holistically because the physical and mental health components are tightly linked, Patel-Dunn said.

“Oftentimes there are symptoms that women have during menopause that can look similar to symptoms that people have when they may be suffering from anxiety, or depression or other mood disorders,” Patel-Dunn said. “It can be complicated in parsing out, especially women that may have a pre-existing condition, have some mental health issues.”

Some individuals experiencing menopause may recognize they are having trouble sleeping or feeling more anxious.

“I think that that’s where the partnership is so important, is recognizing that there are some things that could be more hormone related, and then some things that are more from the mental health side,” Patel-Dunn said. “So making sure that we’re addressing all of that and dotting our i’s and crossing all our t’s, and making sure that we’re not missing anything in their care.”

What’s next

While this partnership is focused on treating people experiencing menopause, LifeStance is also looking to plug its mental health services into other life phases for women and people with ovaries.

The provider already cares for individuals experiencing infertility, postpartum and peripartum. The mission is to care for women across their life cycle.

“I do think this is where health care is headed, really addressing the needs of the whole woman,” Patel-Dunn said. “I anticipate and hope for more partnerships like this, specifically around women’s health.”

Besides women’s health, Patel-Dunn anticipates that LifeStance will be involved with other physical care providers, including when it comes to addressing the youth behavioral health crisis.

“I do think that we here at LifeStance are really trying to make sure that we’re good partners with our pediatricians and family practice doctors,” Patel-Dunn said.

In another recent example of addressing women’s behavioral health needs, hybrid women’s health provider Tia announced adding mental health services to its offerings, including screening, coaching and group sessions.

Similar to LifeStance, the company is pitching this care integration move to improve whole person health.

“Since introducing mental health at Tia two years ago, we’ve seen the powerful connection between mental health, primary care, and reproductive health,” Carolyn Witte, CEO and co-founder of Tia, said in a statement. “Now, with a triple threat facing women’s health – a primary care shortage, mental health epidemic, and reproductive access crisis – there’s never been a greater moral or economic imperative to invest in building comprehensive care for women. Women and communities will be healthier when we start to manage their mental, physical, and reproductive health together.”

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