This start-up works like a dating site for therapy

Elva Mankin

Mental health challenges are on the rise — a serious concern of health-care professionals around the world. 

A report from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that while only 69% of Americans reported feeling stress in 2018, nearly 85% now say they are feeling generalized anxiety. 

In April alone, about 20,000 people texted a hotline run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency for people in emotional distress. That’s a 1,000% increase.

It’s a growing trend amid, particularly when seeing someone in-person is a challenge. 

Enter Kendall Bird, CEO of Frame, a company helping match therapists and prospective clients.

Bird, who previously worked in technology at both YouTube and Snapchat, has been in therapy for more than 15 years. When she relocated from New York to Los Angeles, she had to change therapists, and finding one was no easy task. Bird said it took her 8 months and about $1,000 to find the right therapist, with little help from her insurance company.

That sparked an idea for a business. Bird reconnected with an old friend, a social worker who was just getting her practice off the ground, and the two hatched Frame, taking a page from dating sites.

Frame users start out by taking an online questionnaire. “There’s only 10 questions,” Bird says. “You get six options of therapists. And we make sure that we get the right types of matches in front of you,” she said.

“We facilitate free intro calls,” she said. “Our users typically call two to three therapists … You get to talk it out and make sure it’s the right fit for you so that you feel comfortable. And then you can make your decision.”

Users pay a fee for the matching service, though Frame also has free offerings, which include digital discussions and live-streamed therapy sessions. Therapists pay a monthly fee to be a part of the service. In addition to the matching platform, Frame provides HIPAA compliant tele-health services, payment processing, and bill management.

“There’s also been a lot of amazing outcomes that have come out of this surge of telehealth,” said Bird. “And that is … giving more people access. There are so many rural towns … where there is not even one therapist there. And so now, now that all therapists are adopting telehealth, I think there’s going to be huge surge in access to services.”


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