California Department of Health Care Services launches new app focused on mental health

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is launching new apps targeting youths with mental health needs.

Anyone from ages 0-25 can now access programs as part of a $4.7 billion health initiative approved by California Governor Gavin Newsome.

DCHS director Michelle Baass stated the importance of the new Soluna and BrightLife Kids apps to aid young Californians with their mental health needs.

“Kids, teens, and young adults are facing a mental health crisis. To make sure our youth have another path to access needed behavioral health services, the state is launching two new apps to give young Californians and their caregivers access to the professional help they need,” said Baass. “The tools are flexible and free for all California families, regardless of income, health insurance, or immigration status. I urge every young person and parent in California to visit the Soluna and Brightlife Kids apps to see if they are right for them.”

Both the Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health and the Children and Youth Behavioral Initiative will benefit from these new programs, free of charge for anyone in this age demographic.

Anxiety, depression and self-harm incidents are increasing as one study mentioned one-third of young Californians experiencing serious psychological distress.

“About two-thirds of California kids with depression do not receive treatment. This platform will help meet the needs of California’s diverse children, youth, and families by expanding access to critical behavioral health supports. Our young people will have an accessible option to get the help they need,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency.

Limitations due to income, lack of insurance and disabilities among others will not be an issue toward accessing these programs.

Free coaching, educational content, care navigation services, peer communities and crisis and safety protocols will all be part of these initiatives.

Licensed behavioral health professionals will be available to both serve youth in need as well as monitor app usage for users.

For more information on the apps and the plan as a whole, visit the DHCS website.