California launches free apps offering youth mental health services

BySophie Flay KGO logo
Friday, January 19, 2024
California launches free apps offering youth mental health services
The state has launched new digital tools to help support youth mental health.

LOS ANGELES -- This month, the state launched two new apps to support youth mental health.

This is just one piece of a $4.7 billion investment in mental health and substance-use support, according to California Gov. Gavin Newsom's master plan for kids' mental health.

"The reality is that we're rarely more than six feet away from our devices," Director of California Youth Behavioral Initiative Dr. Sohil Sud said. "And so the question is, how can we leverage tech as a resource for all California's youth and families."

The global pandemic put a spotlight on the nation's mental health crisis. In California, nearly 300,000 youth cope with major depression according to Newsom's 2022 report.

In a virtual press conference, the California Department of Health Services showed two apps offering free mental health services including virtual coaching, access to crisis resources and a library of exercises and articles.

BrightLife Kids is for parents or caregivers and children up to 12 years old while Soluna is geared toward teens and young adults ages 13 to 25.