Primary care startup 98point6 adds text-based therapy

98point6 mental health app98point6 mental health app

98point6 is rolling out text-based mental health services in some states this month. Photo credit: 98point6

Seeing a spike in demand for mental health services, several digital health companies rolled out virtual therapy or self-guided tools during the pandemic. Text-based primary care startup 98point6 is doing the same.

The Seattle-based company is adding a feature this month that would let users chat with therapists or behavioral health coaches. The company also rolled out digital programs that users can go through on their own time.

98Point6 built an app that lets users chat on demand with a primary care physician over text for common concerns, such as allergies, flu symptoms or a UTI. It charges a subscription fee of $120 per year, but many users also access it as a covered benefit through their employer.  For example, some of its current customers include Boeing, Circle K, and insurer Premera.

Last year, the company raised $118 million in a series E round led by private equity firms L Catterton and Activant Capital, which it planned to use to continue to build out its platform.

To start, 98point6 is rolling out mental health services in a limited number of states. Patients are encouraged to continue to see the same therapists, a company spokesperson said. They can also work with a primary care physician to address related physical symptoms and help manage medications.

Investors and employers alike have poured significant funds into mental health startups that propose making therapy easier to access. For example, recent funding rounds valued mental health startups Modern Health at $1.17 billion and Lyra at $2.3 billion. 

Talkspace, a company focused on chat-based encounters with therapists, has said it plans to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company that would value it at $1.4 billion.

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