On-demand mental healthcare organization Ginger has announced Ginger for Teens, expanding the company’s full continuum of mental healthcare for adolescents ages 13-17. Ginger’s employer clients will be able to offer the benefit to employees’ teen dependents, who will have access to a personalized care experience that includes guided self-care content, behavioral health coaching, therapy, and psychiatry. Select Ginger clients and members will have access to the Ginger for Teens offering in August 2021, with general availability to Ginger’s 640+ employer clients and members in late 2021.
Mental Health in Adolescents
Digital mental health companies have made positive headlines recently. In January 2021, Ginger published research in The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) that demonstrates the effectiveness of a virtual, on-demand mental health system in reducing anxiety symptoms. The study found that a virtual, team-based approach comprised of behavioral health coaching and clinical telemental health services is more effective than either modality alone. With nearly one in five U.S. adults living with a mental illness (51.5 million in 2019), estimates suggest that only half of the people with mental illnesses receive treatment. Technology has opened a new frontier in mental health support and data collection.
Adolescence is a pivotal moment for developing and maintaining social and emotional habits crucial for mental well-being. These include adopting healthy sleep patterns, taking regular exercise, developing coping, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, and managing emotions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), supportive environments in the family, school, and broader community are also critical. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the pandemic and social isolation can increase stress and anxiety, and these feelings are also known to increase the risk of suicide. The CDC recommends focusing on emotional well-being and seeking treatment via in-person or telehealth services.
An estimated 10-20% of adolescents globally experience mental health conditions, yet these remain underdiagnosed and undertreated. Current research finds around 75% of mental health issues are onset between adolescence and young adulthood (13-24), and 20% of youth ages 13-18 have a mental health disorder.
Top barriers to seeking care identified by adolescents include
- Stigma and embarrassment
- Lack of mental health literacy and self-awareness regarding symptoms
- A preference for self-reliance typically occurs during this stage of growth
Of significant consequence, there are approximately only 11 child/adolescent psychiatrists per 100,000 children in the U.S., with a substantial number of these providers in large urban areas on the coasts.
Ginger For Teens
For Ginger, behavioral health coaching takes an active, goal-oriented approach to address a wide array of sub-acute challenges, from sleep to mood and relationships. According to the announcement, Ginger for Teens is a private, highly convenient way of providing adolescents with mental health support right through a smartphone. Teens and their parents can avoid the typical long wait times for care by signing up for Ginger, providing access to care within minutes. The solution will be available to adolescents by invitation from an eligible parent for Ginger to benefit through their workplace.
Teens and their parents can expect:
- A full continuum of care: Individuals from 13-17 years of age will have access to Ginger’s care services, including behavioral health coaching to therapy and psychiatry. Coaching for teens will be offered during designated hours (7 am-10 pm PT), a clinical approach substantiated by academic literature and best practice.
- Provider-matching: Teens are matched with coaches and clinicians with relevant and applicable experience working with adolescents.
- Guided self-care: Teens will have access to Ginger’s self-care content, including new topic areas specific to the adolescent population such as mood management, identity and belonging, conflict resolution, sexuality, and sexual identity, and more.
- Parental support: Parents, who already have access to the full spectrum of care for their mental health, will also receive assistance from their care team to provide the best support to their child and understand the cadence of care and the child’s care team.
The mental health of employees is directly related to the mental health of their households – and for parents of teenagers, finding quality care has never been more critical nor more challenging. Now more than ever, employers need to take a full-family approach to mental health – an essential investment that will have a significant impact on teens and a positive impact on the mental well-being and engagement of their parents.Judith Verhave, former HR leader at BNY Mellon and Fidelity Investments, and current CEO of Next Chapter Solutions
Continued research on improving the user experience of, and thus user engagement with, these programs appears vital for the sustainable implementation of digital mental health interventions.To foster the development and continuous growth of Ginger for Teens, the organization has established a Teen Advisory Council, a diverse group of 15 teenagers across the U.S. Ginger’s Teen Advisory Council will help inform content development, review app features and provide feedback, and participate in focus groups.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions in the U.S., and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. In July 2020, about 35% of U.S. adults reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety. People today urgently need and deserve high-quality mental healthcare that can be quickly deployed at scale; a virtual, team-based care model does just that.Patricia Areán, Ph.D., a professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Ginger believes that everyone deserves access to incredible mental healthcare. Its on-demand system brings together behavioral health coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists, who work as a team to deliver personalized care, right through your smartphone. The Ginger app provides members with access to the support they need within seconds, 24/7, 365 days a year. Millions of people have access to Ginger through leading employers, health plans and partners. Ginger has been recognized by The World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer, Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in Healthcare and UCSF’s Digital Health Awards as 2020’s leading Mental Health Company.