Cartwheel – a platform helping schools tackle the student mental health crisis by delivering affordable evidence-based telehealth services with no waitlist – announced today that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Menlo Ventures. Reach Capital joined the round with earlier investors General Catalyst, BoxGroup, and Able Partners. This funding round will enable Cartwheel to expand mental health services to hundreds of thousands of new students in current service areas and school districts in new states.
There has been an unprecedented mental health crisis among kids and teens. And the depression in teens has more than doubled in the past ten years, and a third of high school girls have seriously considered suicide. Today’s youth lack access to high-quality care, with symptoms often left untreated for years. As a result of the shortage of mental health providers, limited insurance coverage, and long waits, schools are increasingly expected to take the lead in supporting student mental health.
Launched last year, Cartwheel quickly became a trusted mental health partner to schools. The founding team – which includes Chief Medical Officer Juliana Chen, MD (a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist) had collectively spent decades working in schools and community mental health clinics and felt the need for stronger school-community partnership to improve accessibility, quality, and financial sustainability of mental health care.
When a school district partners with Cartwheel, school counselors can refer students for clinical mental health services with no waitlists. And Cartwheel’s in-house team of licensed clinicians delivers evidence-based telehealth services, including 1-1 therapy, group therapy, parent guidance, and medication support – all as an in-network benefit covered by the family’s insurance. Operating year-round, Cartwheel allows students to see a licensed clinician at home or at school and during evenings, weekends, school breaks, and summers.
Cartwheel works hand-in-hand with school staff and families to support the student appropriately. And a clinically licensed Program Manager supports school administrators on student cases, parent engagement, and staff training throughout the year; bilingual Care Coordinators help families with scheduling, insurance, and referrals for additional services. Parents can also schedule weekly guidance sessions with a licensed clinician to discuss ways to support their child, even if their child is not interested in therapy. Parents can also join educational workshops on timely mental health topics, ranging from school avoidance to social media use.
Cartwheel serves over 50 school systems across five states, including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island, supporting thousands of students, families, and school staff.
“As a district, we’re committed to supporting our students’ social-emotional and mental health to set them up for success—in the classroom and in life. Cartwheel has been a game-changer for us, allowing our students and families to access evidence-based mental health care quickly. Cartwheel is collaborative and responsive to the needs of our students and families and empowers our social workers to have a true partner in the community.”
— Kimberly Huffer, Director of Social-Emotional Learning in Cambridge Public Schools
“It is incredibly tough to be a kid today, and mental health is a critical issue for our youth and our future. We led this investment in Cartwheel because by working directly with schools, Cartwheel enables earlier intervention, improves student and family engagement throughout care, and supports better coordination among the trusted adults in a student’s life.”
— Greg Yap, Partner at Menlo Ventures
“We’ve reached a tipping point in a mental health crisis that is overwhelming parents, schools, and community-based providers. Cartwheel’s model recognizes the hands-on support school systems need and the vital role of timely intervention. Through care coordination, parent engagement, and a versatile team of licensed clinicians, Cartwheel will provide indispensable relief to communities across the country.”
— Steve Kupfer, Partner at Reach Capital
“We work with school counselors to reinforce the support they provide to students every day. If a counselor thinks a student might need a level of care that goes beyond the school’s own capacity, Cartwheel can initiate treatment with a licensed clinician—no waitlists. This speed and quality has helped save lives.”
— Joe English, Co-Founder and CEO of Cartwheel
“By combining funding from school districts and health insurers, we’ve helped superintendents ensure the long-term financial sustainability of these services. We believe our model will become a blueprint for districts across the country on how to build a long-term school-community partnership, especially as school budgets tighten with the expiration of federal COVID relief dollars.”
— Daniel Tartakovsky, Co-Founder and COO of Cartwheel and previously a mental health policy advisor to the U.S. Surgeon General