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Exclusive: BeMe notches $1.5M from BCBS of Kansas

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

BeMe, a digital behavioral health company focused on teens, raised $1.5 million from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, CEO Nicki Tessler tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Nearly 50% of US adolescents have experienced a mental health disorder, while the industry is seeing a shortage of mental health providers.

Details: This investment and strategic partnership will help Miami-based BeMe serve the mental health needs of the estimated 20,000 teenagers across Kansas.

  • The funding builds upon a previous investment from philanthropist Carrie Walton Penner through Fiore Ventures, as well as investments from Flare Capital, Polaris Partners, California Health Care Foundation, and others.
  • Founded in 2021, BeMe raised $17 million prior to this recent investment.

How it works: BeMe is designed to offer teens real-time, personalized access to interventional mental health support.

  • The platform offers content, mood reflection and skill-building activities, along with 1:1 coaching and connections to clinical services and 24/7 crisis support when needed.
  • BeMe is currently available as a covered benefit through select health plans, employers, and community organizations.

What's next: Fresh funds will go toward further product development to enhance personalized care.

  • "We want to continue to build out the algorithm, you need to know your audience and meet them where they are at," Tessler says.
  • "We hope this will pave the way for more partnerships in the future, which will allow us to serve and scale, and it can be hard to scale mental health," she adds.

Of note: Tessler says the company is unlikely to seek additional funding before 2025.

The big picture: Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 24 in the U.S.

State of play: Mental health has seen an influx of capital investment and de-stigmatization since the onset of COVID-19, with many startups emerging to provide mental and behavior health care for teenagers,.

The bottom line: "We need all hands on deck for the mental health crisis for teens and help everyone stay in the game," Tessler says.

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