Headspace Expands D2C Services with Chat-Based Mental Health Coaching

Headspace is broadening its reach by offering its mental health coaching services, previously exclusive to its business-to-business segment, directly to individual consumers.

Several digital health companies started in the direct-to-consumer space and have since focused their efforts on their B2B business. Now, Headspace is expanding in the opposite direction, taking its B2B coaching product and making it directly available to its more than 100 million members.

“Feedback has been very clear from Headspace [members] over the last few years that they desire to see more directly from us in terms of being able to provide that level of care,” Headspace President Christine Evans told Behavioral Health Business. “Coaching seems like a great first offering for us from a services standpoint, particularly given that we’ve delivered, over the last nine years, around two million sessions to members through our B2B channels.”


New and existing Headspace members will be able to have three 30-minute mental health coaching sessions via chat for a $99.99 monthly fee.

Many customers prefer chat to video due to its convenience, Jenna Glover, Headspace’s chief clinical officer, told BHB, and because of the pervasive stigma that may dissuade patients from seeking face-to-face appointments in an office. Still, the company plans to expand its coaching services to include a video telehealth option later this year.

Coaching sessions provide support for life challenges that may not require a therapist and can help address the shortage of mental health professionals


“Some of the main causes of mental health relate to chronic and unsustainable levels of stress, poor sleep and not having strong relationships,” Glover said. “Those are three of the most common things we get on our platform. Coaching is a way to build resilience and help buoy up those life skills.”

All of Headspace’s coaches have either completed the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) Approved Training Program or have a master’s-level degree in a psychology-related field. Additionally, coaches have over two years of relevant work experience, more than 200 hours of supervised training and participate in weekly continuing education training.

“One of the things that’s a huge advantage of coaching is that they have this robust background and training but they don’t have the same licensure requirements,” Glover said. “So it’s easier to staff up because we don’t have the same limitations of people only being able to practice in certain jurisdictions. Our coaches can practice throughout the entire nation.”

This flexibility should serve as a model for therapist regulations, Glover said. Differing state regulations currently require inter-state telehealth therapy providers to evaluate the regulations of each state they work in to ensure compliance. 

Coaches will not make diagnoses, provide clinical treatment or prescribe medications.  Instead, they leverage techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), motivational interviewing and SMART goal setting to support members. 

Some members will be able to use their insurance plans to help pay for Headspace coaching. Kaiser, Cigna and other regional health plans already cover the service.

“We want to make sure that care is not just accessible but it’s affordable for people,” Evans said. “As we look to expand within our direct-to-consumer channel, that aspect of health plan reimbursement and being able to have your health plan either defray or completely cover the cost of your care, whether it be coaching or therapy and beyond, is really important to us.”

Headspace’s expansion further into the D2C space with its new coaching services is not a pivot for the company, according to Evans, but an expansion of its services into another service segment.

“Earlier this year within our B2B channels, … we took our two apps and brought them together, [so] our members within B2B have the opportunity to experience a full suite of what we offer from content, self-care, all the way through services,” Evans said. “We are now taking the service offering and delivering that through our direct-to-consumer channel.”

Teladoc’s (NYSE: TDOC) subsidiary BetterHelp also recently doubled down on its D2C strategy, with Mala Murthy, Teladoc’s chief financial officer, saying that she expected efficient returns from the segment.

“We don’t have any immediate plans, like a number of our much smaller competitors have done in recent times, [to] pivot away from B2C to B2B because they weren’t able to get to scale as they competed with BetterHelp,” Murthy said during TD Cowen’s Annual Health Care Conference.

Headspace plans to continue to flesh out its D2C offerings later this year by offering telehealth therapy to its customers.

The launch of its D2C coaching will serve as a learning experience that will inform the company’s approach to expanding to D2C therapy.

“We’ll be excited to share what we learn in 2024 as we start to roll this out in this channel with the lens towards making sure that we can make it even more affordable in the coming years as we look outside of 2024,” Evans said.

Even as Headspace expands its D2C offerings, the company will continue to prioritize making its services and EAP offerings available through employers and health plans, Evans said.

Companies featured in this article: