Behavioral Health Provider UpLift Branches Out to Colleges With Acquisition of TAO

Higher education institutions have increasingly sought partnerships with behavioral health providers to address the stresses of college, spurring an influx of mental health companies taking advantage of the opportunity.

Digital mental health provider UpLift is the latest to diversify into the higher education space. The company acquired TAO Connect, an online platform with mental health tools and resources specifically designed for college students.

“The need for behavioral health is more intense [at universities] than it is even for the broad population, which is bad enough,” Talcott said. “We see this opportunity to take an insurance-based reimbursement model and apply it in higher ed.”


New York-based UpLift provides virtual therapy and psychiatry appointments to individuals, couples and families. In July 2023, the company raised $10.7 million in Series A funding, bringing its total raise to $22 million. UpLift accepts insurance from commercial health insurance plans, including UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Cigna, as well as Medicare and Medicaid health plans. 

In November 2023, UpLift acquired Minded, a psychiatric telehealth provider focused on women. The deal allowed UpLift’s patients to access specialty care for women’s issues and gave Minded access to specialized care at UpLift.

TAO, founded in 2014, offers higher education institutions an online library of interactive programs and tools to address mental health, wellness and substance use issues. The online platform is used by students at over 170 institutions across the U.S. and Canada.


The snack-sized modules are a perfect fit for students who are used to consuming online content in short bites, Julian Cohen, UpLift’s chief clinical services officer, told Behavioral Health Business.

“It [now] leads the student who does need more, and a large percentage of them do, to … get therapy services and actually see a provider,” Cohen said.

With the TAO acquisition, UpLift has access to TAO’s connections with higher education and self-guided, evidence-based resources, now expanded with UpLift’s clinical care, including therapy and psychiatry. The platform also includes embedded navigation to help match students with a clinician who accepts their insurance.

Along with American colleges and universities, TAO also has relationships with employers, Canadian provinces and colleges. UpLift is interested in moving to other markets, Talcott said, but right now the company is “heads down” on higher education.

“They’ve done integrations with e-learning systems and built TAO content into the curriculums of some schools and some classes,” Talcott said. “They have actual faculty bringing TAO to students. They have integrated and figured out the areas within campuses where they can engage the students and get this in front of them as a resource when they need it.”

Students who receive care with UpLift will be guaranteed continuity of care. Many students lose or change health insurance plans after graduation, but they can meet with their UpLift provider.

“You’ll be responsible for your own cost share, but our average out-of-pocket is around $20,” Talcott said. “It’s something that can not only help you through a challenging time and transition as you’re going to college but also with the next big transition.”

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