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Cartwheel Raises $20 Million Series A Funding to Tackle the Student Mental Health Crisis

Cartwheel, a platform helping schools tackle the student mental health crisis by delivering affordable, evidence-based telehealth services with no waitlist, announced that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Menlo VenturesReach Capital joined the round, as did earlier investors General CatalystBoxGroup and Able Partners.

The funding will allow Cartwheel to expand mental health services to hundreds of thousands of new students in current service areas, as well as school districts in new states. Cartwheel serves more than 50 school systems across five states, including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island, supporting thousands of students, families, and school staff.

“We work with school counselors to reinforce the support they provide to students every day,” said Joe English, Co-Founder and CEO of Cartwheel. “If a counselor thinks a student might need a level of care that goes beyond the school’s own capacity, Cartwheel can initiate treatment with a licensed clinician—no waitlists. This speed and quality has helped save lives.”

Founded in 2022, Cartwheel has quickly become a trusted mental health partner to schools. The founding team, which includes Chief Medical Officer, Juliana Chen, MD, a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, had collectively spent decades working in schools and community mental health clinics and felt the need for stronger school-community partnership to improve accessibility, quality, and financial sustainability of mental health care. Today, when a school district partners with Cartwheel, school counselors can refer students for clinical mental health services with no waitlists. Cartwheel’s in-house team of licensed clinicians delivers evidence-based telehealth services, including 1-1 therapy, group therapy, parent guidance, and medication support – all as an in-network benefit covered by the family’s insurance. Operating year-round, Cartwheel allows students to see a licensed clinician at home or at school and during evenings, weekends, school breaks, and summers.

Throughout care, Cartwheel works hand-in-hand with school staff and families to ensure the student is appropriately supported. A clinically licensed Program Manager supports school administrators on student cases, parent engagement, and staff training throughout the year; and bilingual Care Coordinators help families with scheduling, insurance, and referrals for additional services. Parents can also schedule weekly guidance sessions with a licensed clinician to discuss ways to support their child, even if their child isn’t interested in therapy themselves. Parents can also join educational workshops on timely mental health topics, ranging from school avoidance to social media use.

There is an unprecedented mental health crisis among kids and teens. Depression in teens has more than doubled in the past 10 years, and a third of high school girls have seriously considered suicide. Youth today lack access to high-quality care, with symptoms often left untreated for years. As a result of the shortage of mental health providers, limited insurance coverage, and long waits, schools are increasingly expected to take the lead in supporting student mental health.

“It is incredibly tough to be a kid today, and mental health is a critical issue for our youth and our future. We led this investment in Cartwheel because by working directly with schools, Cartwheel enables earlier intervention, improves student and family engagement throughout care, and supports better coordination among the trusted adults in a student’s life,” said Greg Yap, Partner at Menlo Ventures.

“We’ve reached a tipping point in a mental health crisis that is overwhelming parents, schools, and community-based providers,” said Steve Kupfer, Partner at Reach Capital. “Cartwheel’s model recognizes the hands-on support school systems need and the vital role of timely intervention. Through care coordination, parent engagement, and a versatile team of licensed clinicians, Cartwheel will provide indispensable relief to communities across the country.”

Source: PR Newswire