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Blackbird Health Secures $17M To Expand Youth Mental Health Model

As a nurse practitioner dual certified in primary care and behavioral health, Amy Edgar recognized that the medical community often tends to separate primary care and mental health.

In 2014, she later went on to build Blackbird Health, a youth mental health company that aims to fix this issue. It announced last week that it raised $17 million in Series A funding.

“We wanted to be a one-stop shop, which is when you walk in the door, we do everything that we can to understand what’s going on. And then you should be able to have access to the service providers to address whatever we find,” Edgar said during an interview at ViVE in Los Angeles on Tuesday. She is the chief clinical officer of the company.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Blackbird Health offers virtual and in-person care for kids and young adults battling social, developmental and school-related challenges. It focuses on finding the root cause of symptoms and specializes in a range of conditions, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, speech challenges, autism and more. Patients start with an intake meeting and screening, followed by an evaluation process to understand patients’ strengths and challenges. Patients then receive a diagnosis and personalized treatment plan and are assigned to a care team. The company’s services include behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling and speech therapy. It operates in Pennsylvania and Virginia and is in network with insurers.

The $17 million Series A funding round was led by Define Ventures and included participation from Frist Cressey Ventures and GreyMatter. In total, the startup has raised nearly $23 million.

Define Ventures chose to invest in Blackbird Health because of its personalized care that identifies the root cause of symptoms.

“Blackbird Health epitomizes the future of mental healthcare – a future defined by innovation and a dedication to significant cost reductions and superior outcomes – and I see tremendous opportunity for its personalized, technology-driven solutions and steadfast focus on understanding the underlying drivers of mental health,” said Chirag Shah, partner at Define Ventures, in a statement. “Our investment in Blackbird stems from a longstanding belief that the most successful models in pediatric mental health must be fundamentally focused on high-quality care. Blackbird exemplifies this better than any other organization we have seen.”

With the financing, Blackbird Health is focused on growing its service delivery and care. It is also investing in tech enablement.

“We’re really looking at patient experience and the efficiencies that we can get out of technology,” Edgar said.

Ultimately, the company is focused on making care more holistic rather than segmented.

“We live in a world that is reductionistic,” Edgar declared. “It’s about, how do I break this thing apart and understand this part over here? The problem that we’re solving is really the opposite: How do we take this whole and understand this whole and then identify strengths and weaknesses to help support their development?”

Other mental health startups that support youth include Brightline and Charlie Health.

Photo: SIphotography, Getty Images

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