Clayful Raises $7M To Connect Students With Mental Health Experts In 60 Seconds


Clayful, a groundbreaking startup in the mental health industry, has recently announced that it has secured $7 million in funding from investors, including Google Latino Founders Fund, Reach Capital, Ovo Fund, Common Sense Ventures, Charter School Growth Fund, and Wisdom Ventures. This investment will enable Clayful to expand its platform, which connects students aged eight to 18 with mental health experts within just 60 seconds.

Key Takeaway

Clayful, a startup that offers on-demand mental health coaching for students, has raised $7 million in funding. The platform allows students to connect with certified coaches instantly, providing timely support and addressing the shortage of mental health professionals in schools.

Addressing the Need for Student Mental Health Support

Clayful was founded by Maria Barrera, a former employee of the edtech startup Nearpod, and Melissa Pelochino, an experienced educator and consultant. The two recognized the pressing need for accessible mental health services for students after reading a New York Times article highlighting the alarming rise in suicide rates among eight-year-olds. Through their interactions with teachers, parents, and counselors, Barrera and Pelochino discovered that schools are crucial access points for mental health services, but the shortage of counselors was leaving many students without the support they desperately needed.

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends one counselor for every 250 students, yet recent research indicates that there is only one school counselor for every 444 students. This gap in support prompted Barrera and Pelochino to create Clayful, ensuring that every student has a trusted and certified coach readily available, both in and outside of the school environment.

Revolutionizing Mental Health Support for Students

Clayful stands out from its competitors in the industry, such as Daybreak and Cartwheel, by offering a unique feature: connecting users with mental health experts within 60 seconds using instant messaging technology. This real-time connection allows students to engage in immediate dialogue with their coaches, providing them with the support they need to navigate everyday challenges, manage their emotions, and solve problems. Clayful operates as an on-demand, chat-based platform, prioritizing students’ real-time needs rather than in-person sessions.

Additionally, Clayful strives for inclusivity and accessibility by offering its platform in 133 languages, ensuring that it can reach and assist diverse communities. The platform is entirely free for students, as it is funded by partnering school districts, guaranteeing equal access to mental health support regardless of a family’s financial means or geographic location.

Positive Impact on Student Attendance

Clayful has reported significant positive outcomes for students who engage in coaching chat programs. During the 2022-2023 school year, students who participated in more coaching chat sessions experienced significantly better attendance rates. Students who had zero chat sessions maintained an average attendance rate of 91%, while those who engaged in chats achieved an average attendance rate of 95%. These findings underscore the effectiveness of Clayful’s approach and highlight the impact of timely mental health support on student well-being and academic success.

Expanding Reach and Scaling Operations

With the recent funding injection, Clayful is well-positioned to expand its team and establish partnerships with more schools across the country. The startup, which currently collaborates with over 50 schools, plans to reach thousands of students nationwide. By scaling its operations, Clayful aims to bridge the gap in student mental health support and ensure that every student can access the help they need, when they need it.

Clayful’s commitment to addressing the mental health crisis among students is commendable, and its innovative platform is revolutionizing the way mental health support is delivered within school systems. By leveraging technology and real-time communication, Clayful is paving the way for a brighter future for student well-being and mental health.

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