Introducing Alma: Taking care of great therapists so they can take care of you.
The mental health crisis is at an all time high.
One in five Americans will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, and rates of mental health issues continue to rise . With alarming regularity we read stories about rising suicide rates, an uncontrolled opiate epidemic, and the mounting struggles of today’s teens with anxiety and depression.
Over 700,000 mental health providers around the country work at the front lines of this crisis, but they are ill-equipped to meet this growing need . Often operating as isolated small businesses, they struggle with the challenges of running an independent practice — from marketing for new clients to basic day-to-day tasks like scheduling and billing.
I saw this at Oscar Health in building their first primary care and wellness space for Oscar members. Having benefited enormously from therapy myself, I wanted access to mental health to be a key part of the experience. And yet because we still referred patients outside of the Oscar Center for therapy, we were continuously frustrated by a mental health landscape that was disorganized, fragmented, and delivered a subpar experience.
Our patients often told us that while therapy itself was incredibly helpful, finding the right person and actually going felt miserable. While dismayed, I was hardly surprised; I remembered experiencing the same thing first-hand when I began therapy years earlier. Despite my medical degree I didn’t know what to look for in a therapist, and when I finally found the right person for me, she practiced in a dingy, hard-to-find office. People deserve better when they take the courageous step of working on their mental wellbeing.
We’re elevating the therapy experience by supporting providers.
Today, we’re excited to announce the official launch of Alma, a new practice model for therapists designed to elevate the therapy experience and simplify access to great care. We build co-practicing communities powered by shared technology and services, all within beautiful spaces designed for healing and growth. By becoming an Alma member, therapists enjoy three core benefits:
- A community for growth and referrals — Our members participate in Alma-hosted continuing education opportunities, networking events, and a vetted referral network.
- Technology designed specifically for therapists — We’ve built a full-stack technology platform for everything from marketing to the day-to-day tasks of scheduling and billing.
- Flexible access to space — Members have access to office space for client care tailored to their schedules.
The first Alma co-practicing community is open for business.
Today we’re excited to announce the official opening of our first community space at 515 Madison Avenue in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Over 25 therapists have already begun practicing at Alma, and over the past few weeks they’ve collectively seen over 300 clients.
From the moment you look for a provider in Alma’s community, book your first visit, or step through our doors, our hope is that you feel like you are entering an experience that is welcoming, professional, and results-oriented.
With Alma, we’re building a business that respects the gravity of our industry, the professionalism of our community members, and the sanctity of the work that happens inside the provider-client relationship.
We owe a huge debt of thanks to our community of providers. Their early passion for our mission, generosity of spirit, and active participation in our product development journey have made all the difference in getting Alma to where we are today. We have also been extremely fortunate to raise $4.5 million in seed funding from a world-class group of investors including First Round Capital, Primary Ventures, Rainfall Ventures, Box Group, and able Partners. Their mentorship has been instrumental in helping us build this business.
Next: a national community, a focus on accessibility, and more.
With the support of our investors and providers, we plan to build a network of co-practicing communities around New York and beyond. Over the coming years, we aspire to create a national community of therapists empowered through our platform to collaborate with one another and grow the reach of their practices.
We know that to truly deliver on our mission of making care more accessible, we need to tackle some big challenges, including the stigma still associated with mental health care and its affordability. We’re already working on some early partnerships with employers and insurance companies to explore how to make it easier for people to access the care they need. Our goal is for Alma to help people feel proud and safe in making the important choice of working on their mental wellbeing.
If you’re inspired by our mission, help us share the word with friends and colleagues, and connect us with therapists you know who could benefit from our model. And if you’re someone who has considered therapy for yourself, make the investment and schedule that appointment, whether at Alma or someplace else. We all deserve it.
 National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers
 Bureau of Labor Statistic: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/