Headspace expands to direct-to-consumer mental health market

Headspace has launched direct-to-consumer text-based mental health coaching to expand its reach beyond employer customers and capture the cash-pay healthcare market.

The company, which has thus far primarily operated through contracts with health plans and employers, says it will bring more direct-to-consumer services to the table, like clinical therapy, later this year.

Headspace told Fierce Healthcare that mental health coaching will benefit individuals who desire mental health support but don’t require clinical intervention or medication management. Customers will be able to text a mental health coach, whom they are matched with, at all times of the day. The text-based mental health coaching will be available to new and existing Headspace customers, a press release says.

The announcement builds on Headspace’s merger with teletherapy company Ginger in 2021. Headspace is not yet offering video visits for mental health coaching, but the company said it will explore hybrid text and video models in the future.

Headspace told Fierce Healthcare the shift to direct-to-consumer services was based on feedback from its customers. In a recent member survey, 53% of respondents said they were interested in mental health offerings from Headspace.

Christine Evans, president of Headspace, said that more than half of Americans do not receive healthcare benefits through an employer. Headspace’s shift into direct-to-consumer mental health coaching aims to accommodate those consumers without employer-sponsored health insurance through a cash-pay model.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from our consumer members that they want us to go beyond our self-serve mental health and mindfulness content to provide them with access to human-delivered mental health services. The D2C channel enables us to offer our services to a broader range of members and has the opportunity to marry cash-pay healthcare with our rapidly growing health plan business,” Evans said in an email.