Digital mental health provider Talkspace (Nasdaq: TALK) has inked a deal with Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), giving the more than 32,000 students access to free therapy.
High school students aged 13 and over can access unlimited teletherapy as part of the deal. Students who opt into the program will take a brief assessment and be matched with a therapist. These clients can then access unlimited messaging therapy and self-guided programs for free.
“We know students perform better academically when they are healthy in body, mind, and spirit, and we want to ensure that our students have access to the comprehensive resources and support they need to navigate any day-to-day mental health struggles they may face,” BCPS Superintendent Dr. Myriam Rogers, said in a statement. “By offering Talkspace’s digital modalities, like unlimited messaging therapy, we can extend support that students can access beyond school hours, year-round, at their convenience.”
This marks the second major youth-focused public partnership that Talkspace announced in two months. In November, the company announced a deal worth roughly $26 million with New York City to provide all teens in the municipality with behavioral health resources. As part of the deal, roughly 940,000 teens will have access to Talkspace.
Rates of anxiety and depression among young people have increased significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic. A meta-analysis published in JAMA found that the “prevalence of clinically elevated child and adolescent depression and anxiety were 25.2% and 20.5%, respectively.”
“It’s quite honestly a moral imperative for us to be able to deliver a solution that’s accessible, scalable and affordable to teens,” Jon Cohen, CEO of Talkspace, previously told Behavioral Health Business.
During the company’s Q3 earnings call, the leadership team announced that it had multiple deals to expand its youth programs. The company said expanding into adolescents positions it to capture more of the total addressable market, which it estimates to be over $500 million.
Talkspace isn’t the only company working on public-private partnerships focused on youth behavioral health.
Pediatric behavioral health platform Hazel Health boasts of working with more than 3,000 schools nationwide. In February, the company announced a deal with the Los Angeles County Office of Education to make its telehealth services available to over one million children at no cost to families.