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Screenshot of Pace mental health app. Credit: Pace

A team of Silicon Valley veterans is launching a new service that will address mental health issues through online group sessions.

Why it matters: The pandemic has led to a worsening of mental health, as traditional in-person therapy has been largely curtailed. New services like Pace that aim to address mental health issues remotely could help close that gap.

How it works: Pace will provide a form of group therapy that can be done over the web or on a smartphone, with users selecting communities that fit their own mental health needs.

  • Some of the first areas include relationship problems, career issues and parenting, as well as a separate section for founders struggling with stress.
  • Groups are led by mental health facilitators and cost $45 per week, with users signing on for a season of therapy at a time.

Background: Jack Chou, Pace's CEO and co-founder, told Axios in the company's first interview that he helped come up with the idea for the startup while taking a break from an intense tech career that included stints as head of product at Affirm and Pinterest.

  • "It was really the first time in my life that I felt like I was struggling, trying to figure something out," says Chou. "And there was really nothing for people like me."
  • Chou and his co-founders took inspiration from group fitness classes like SoulCycle, betting that "forms of group therapy could really be developed and brought to bear through technology to people wherever they were."

The big picture: Though the team began working on Pace before the pandemic hit and essentially closed most in-person mental health services, it is launching during a boom for teletherapy.

  • The online provider Talkspace agreed today to a $1.4 billion merger with the blank-check firm Hudson Executive Investment.

The bottom line: According to a Gallup poll from December, Americans' mental health is the worst it has been in two decades.

  • We need help, and we need it now.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 21, 2021 - Economy & Business

COVID-19 vaccine: Private companies step in to fill logistics vacuum

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Last year we wrote several times about how VC-backed companies were helping to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine development and innovative testing solutions. Now the same thing is happening when it comes to vaccinations, a process beset by logistics and planning problems since the jump.

Driving the news: Carbon Health, a tech-enabled healthcare startup that recently raised $100 million in Series C funding, is now the primary back-end for vaccinations in the City of Los Angeles, including a massive drive-up program that just launched in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

5 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.