Ginger's digital mental health services are coming to members' teenage dependents

On-demand mental health care startup Ginger has pulled back the curtain on a new offering designed for users age 13 to 17.

Called Ginger for Teens, the service resembles the startup’s primary platform with the inclusion of digital self-care materials, behavioral health coaching, therapy and psychiatry accessible through a smartphone app.

However, each of these services has been tweaked to specifically address the younger demographics’ mental health needs, Ginger said in the announcement.

Educational content will include new topic areas that are often relevant to adolescents, including mood management, identity and sexuality, the company said. Coaches and clinicians who are matched through the service will also have experience working with teens.

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Ginger, which delivers its digital platform through payers and employer channels, said that the platform expansion will enroll its younger users via an invitation from the account of an eligible parent member.

Parents who have enrolled their teens in the program will then receive additional support tailored around supporting their child. They’ll also receive a breakdown of their child’s care team and the cadence of their care.

Ginger said that the new offering will be available to some employer clients in August and then all of the company’s partners and members by next year. The startup also said that it will be developing new content and feature updates based on the feedback of a “Teen Advisory Council” made up of 15 adolescents from across the country.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kaiser Family Foundation have highlighted the pandemic’s impact on children's and teens’ mental health. Individual health systems have also painted a stark picture of all-time high behavioral health admissions among younger patients and called for more resources to tackle the issue.

“As a psychologist and mother of two teenagers, I’ve seen firsthand the repercussions that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on adolescents," Dana Udall, chief clinical officer at Ginger, said in a statement. “By expanding access to Ginger’s services to this population, we’re making significant progress towards achieving our vision: a world where mental health is never an obstacle.”

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Ginger’s business has ramped up over the past year or so. The platform recently banked a $100 million Series E round that boosted its valuation over the $1 billion threshold.

Ginger noted at the time that demand for its services increased three-fold during the pandemic. It also signaled greater interest in securing partnerships with payer customers and adding innovative technologies to its platform by way of merger and acquisition deals.

Ginger is one of several digital mental health companies that have been showered with investor cash as of late.

According to a recent Rock Health report, digital health startups addressing mental health pulled in $1.5 billion from investors during the first six months of 2021 alone. Leading the charge alongside Ginger were Lyra Health, which banked $200 million in June for a reported $4.6 billion valuation, and Modern Health, which also hit unicorn status this year with its $74 million Series D in February.