Date Awarded: March 10, 2022
Amount: $1,450,000.00

In the last decade, the suicide and hospitalization rates for children and adolescents due to poor mental health have significantly increased, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated depression and anxiety symptoms in youth. Forty-five percent of California youth age 12 to 17 struggle with mental health issues, especially young people of color who are low-income, gender nonconforming, and foreign-born.

BeMe is a digital mental health application that offers evidence-based behavioral health care for adolescents age 13 to 18. BeMe helps teens navigate life with on-demand coaching support, science-backed care activities, and social media–inspired features to make mental health fun. The application aims to improve teen mental health by delivering helpful information in an engaging and familiar manner to digital natives. BeMe’s model focuses on mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and building life skills to support youth in managing their mental health conditions over time.

BeMe was founded and is led by a cross-disciplinary team of clinicians and researchers in adolescent mental health and experts in teen social media, privacy, safety, and technology. The executive team includes two clinical psychologists and a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. CHCF partnered with BeMe to enhance the company’s capability to engage Latino/x youth and to support pilots with youth enrolled in Medi-Cal.

Currently, California has fewer than 1,135 child and adolescent psychiatrists to serve nearly 10 million children and teens younger than 18. Facing a shortage of mental health care providers, school districts and Medi-Cal health plans are becoming more open to novel approaches to improve youth access to behavioral health care. California is investing over $4 billion over the next few years to strengthen children and youth’s access to and quality of care for addressing behavioral health needs, including the Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program (SBHIP). Under SBHIP, managed care plans, schools, and educational entities gain deeper insights into behavioral health wellness and funding for technology advances in behavioral health.

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