California Inks $680 Million Deal with Brightline, Kooth for Virtual Pediatric Mental Health Services

The state of California has inked a deal with pediatric behavioral health providers Brightline and Kooth to offer behavioral health services to all residents under 25 years old.

The deal providing digital mental health resources to young Californians is valued at $680 million. Approximately 13 million children and young people will be able to access services as part of the partnerships.

“There are higher levels of anxiety, depression, suicidality, and those kinds of real challenges that are facing kids these days, and we have an opportunity to actually do some work that helps to prevent some of that,” Jennifer LaGuardia, vice president of Care Innovation at Brightline, told Behavioral Health Business. “This effort was really about helping to do prevention and early intervention with kids and their families so that the kids can end up thriving.”


Palo Alto, California-based Brightline is a pediatric behavioral health provider that offers coaching and therapy services for children and teens up to age 18. It has raised about $212 million in funding.

London-based Kooth is a virtual mental health provider. The organization has raised £10.9 million (roughly $12.7 million), according to Crunchbase.

The new deals are part of California’s $4.7 billion Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative.


These partnerships have been years in the making. California sent out a call in July of 2021 announcing the opportunity for vendors to collaborate with the state on a new initiative to combat the pediatric behavioral health crisis.

California selected two vendors: Brightline and Kooth. Brightline worked with the state to create a tool called BrightLife Kids for parents or caregivers and young children from 0-12. Kooth developed Soluna, a digital tool for teens and young people ages 13 to 25.

The new services are available for free to any California resident aged 25 and younger. Clients can access free coaching on BrightLife Kids and Soluna in both English and Spanish. Using telephone-based coaching, children and their families can also tap into all Medi-Cal threshold languages.

In addition to coaching, both digital platforms will offer users age-tailored educational content, including articles, videos and podcasts.

Coaching might not be right for every child or teen using the platforms. Some individuals might need higher levels of care, which is where the navigation functions come into play on both platforms.

“We typically provide coaching and therapy across our book of business services, but for the state of California, the focus is really on coaching services, so that’s prevention service and early intervention service, as well as this care coordination service,” LaGuardia said. “For instance, for for folks who maybe are not appropriate for coaching because they have more complex needs or higher acuity needs, we’re able to provide coaches who work with us to do those kinds of evaluation and understanding of members’ needs and we’re able to connect them to the care that they need at a higher level in their communities.”

The larger trend

Public-private partnerships like these have become increasingly popular in the digital health space. For example, tele-mental health company Talkspace ​​(Nasdaq: TALK) recently inked a $26 million deal with New York City to provide virtual behavioral health services to all adolescents aged 13 to 17 in the city. 

Another example is school-based telehealth provider Hazel Health’s deal with Los Angeles County to expand its district’s behavioral health services to 1.3 million children.

“If you look at why [these deals] are important to the Talkspaces of the world, it is because they are walking into a turnkey immediate population of patients and customers,” Richard Lungen, a general partner at HC9, previously told BHB. “It’s a very creative way to leverage their assets and collaborate. But it’s still another form of revenue creation.”

HC9 Ventures is an investment firm focused on Seed and Series A investments. Its portfolio includes behavioral health companies Forge Health and PsychHub.

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