Some of you know that I came into this space first as a very anxious teenager. I was gripped with panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder as an adolescent, but with very few places to turn to online. It was at that time that I started a blog to help other teens with anxiety, ultimately nurturing my interest in technology and online communities for mental health. 15 years later, adolescent mental health issues are more prevalent than ever, with 9.7% of youth in the U.S. having severe major depression in 2021, compared to 9.2% in last year’s Mental Health America dataset.
However, there is also reason to be very hopeful: with increased attention to youth mental health through the pandemic, more resources are pouring into the topic than ever before. Philanthropies like Pivotal Ventures are leading the charge in investing resources into adolescent mental health. States like California are allocating unprecedented funding in student mental health. New youth mental health startups are emerging and established mental health startups are tailoring their services to youth.
I run The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health, a philanthropic collaborative fund seeded by Pivotal Ventures, Melinda French Gates’ personal investment and incubation company. I’ve also had the great pleasure of serving as an advisor for the Telosity fund and Hopelab for a few years now. This year at Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech’s 2021 conference (#GDBHT2021), we had an entire track dedicated to youth mental health. I’m thrilled to share some thoughts from Allyson Plosko, Director of Telosity, and their approach to investing in youth mental health startups:
Why are you investing in youth mental health tech?
One of your investment pillars at the Telosity fund is to foster positive online experiences and interactions for young people. Why is this important at this moment in time?
Your most recent investment was in Ksana. Tell us more about them?
Log into our website for free to see so many rich youth mental health sessions co-hosted with Telosity and Hopelab here, including Ksana Health, Dr. Wizdom Powell, and so many more.
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