Male teen laying in bed on his phone.

In this digital world, teens expect immediacy and convenience, and their needs and feelings can’t always wait for their next appointment. If we want to meet them where they are, technology has to be part of the equation.

BeMe Health is a mobile mental health platform designed to reduce the burden of the teen mental health crisis and improve teen well-being. The BeMe app provides access to science-based content and care activities, real-time coaching, plus clinical services and crisis support as needed.   

Why is it important to develop innovative behavioral health solutions for teens?

For more than a decade, the state of teen mental health has been a public health crisis, vastly exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Four in ten American high schoolers reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless in 2021 and 1 in 11 attempted suicide. Since 2019, the number of teens to visit the ER for mental health conditions has increased each year. These data are even more abysmal for youth traditionally underserved by the behavioral health care system, including youth of color, teens from low-income communities, and young people who identify as LGBTQ+.

Accessing mental health support, for those who decide to seek in-person help, is often a long journey; 70 percent of U.S. counties don’t have a single child psychiatrist and wait times for initial youth mental health assessments can average over three months in some states. This means most teens don’t receive mental health support from the current U.S. health care system.

The time is ripe for innovative interventions to support teen mental health. BeMe Health was founded to address these fundamental needs. 

What are teens saying about their mental health?

Teens today are struggling with mental health more than any other generation. Yet rather than seeking behavioral health treatment from traditional sources, they tend to be more comfortable seeking support from social media and digital tools. Their access to and satisfaction with traditional services is lower than any other generation, and they are more likely to use emergency care and crisis services. There is a need to provide more comprehensive digital tools that provide holistic support to the most diverse generation in history.   

Authenticity is paramount for teens, who are seeking people, brands, and companies to be real and stand for what they say they stand for, including with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our chief medical officer, Dr. Neha Chaudhary recently wrote a piece for Good Morning America that summarized the sentiments of many individuals on the Teen Advisory Board at BeMe. One thing she heard is teens don’t feel the same sense of stigma about mental health as their parents. They also want their parents to listen, acknowledge and validate their feelings, rather than immediately jumping into solutions. 

When we started this company, we knew our solution had to be entirely teen-centric in its look, feel, and support it provides. We’ve been able to achieve user engagement 3 times other products through our holistically teen-centric approach.  Everything about BeMe is designed with teens in mind so that they feel seen, heard, and included, and so that the content and service delivery is familiar and meets their needs.  

How are you thinking about technology and how to use it to drive impact for teens?

In this digital world, teens expect immediacy and convenience, and their needs and feelings can’t always wait for their next appointment. They want support when and where they need it, through their phones. If we want to meet them where they are, technology has to be part of the equation. When no other access to behavioral health support is available late at night, teens can also access coping skills and support at their fingertips in real time, in a safe, comfortable place.

Evidence, too, is mounting that more scalable solutions to delivering mental health treatment can be helpful for young people. BeMe’s digital support tools are made up of science-backed skills shown to improve mood and buffer adolescents against challenges, such as loneliness and depression. BeMe’s coaching program is grounded in the evidence that live peer-to-peer support can enhance the effectiveness of digital interventions and effectively deliver skills from evidence-based treatments at scale. Our clinical care and crisis support tools are also there for teens who need extra support, when they need it. 

Technology gives us the opportunity to take what’s working in clinical practice or in the research and package it into something fun, likable, scalable, less stigmatized and easier to access. Our vision is for most teens to use BeMe for a short period each day to keep mental health and wellbeing top of mind and develop healthy habits. 

What types of partners does BeMe serve, and how does it deliver value to customers?

The teen mental health crisis affects more than just individual teens. It affects families, employers, and the whole health care system. Often, teen mental health struggles take up hours of parent time seeking mental health treatment for their teens, affecting workplace productivity, satisfaction, and absenteeism. In the absence of good care, many teens use emergency and high-intensity services that are extremely high cost.

BeMe partners with health plans, employers, and community organizations of all sizes to bring its innovative interventions to address the teen mental health crisis.

Through targeted interventions that reduce behavioral health costs overall, BeMe delivers value by engaging more teens who otherwise may not seek or access care. For teens using emergency services, BeMe helps reduce unnecessary emergency care visits and overnight stays by providing on-demand access to care and safety planning when needed most. 

For teens identified as benefiting from clinical care, BeMe provides intervention while on waitlists, in between visits, and after teens exit treatment. For teens not in clinical care, we introduce new scaled pre-clinical interventions that identify, triage, and intervene most cost effectively.

For parents, caregivers, providers, and educators, BeMe gives peace of mind that their teens have the support they need when they need it. We also provide them with educational material on how to support and communicate with their teens.  

By investing in teens today, together we can tackle the teen mental health crisis and give teens the support they deserve.