Brightline partners with Violet to provide more inclusive care

Steven Loeb · October 25, 2022 · Short URL:

The companies released a case study showing a 3X rise in inclusive care offerings on Brightline

While all groups had their mental health affected by the pandemic, young people had it among the worst: close to 30% of all hospital admissions in 2020 for non-newborn children were for mental health issues, compared to just 8% for adults. At the same time, more than a third of high school students in 2021 reported they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% reported they persistently felt sad or hopeless.

However, these conditions were not spread equally, with divisions across racial lines, as well as sexual orientation. While 9% of high-school­ers over­all attempted suicide in 2021, that number was 12% for Black stu­dents, 13% for stu­dents of two or more races, and 26% of Amer­i­can Indi­an or Native Alaskan high-school­ers. In addition, 23% of gay, les­bian or bisex­u­al students attempted suicide, compared to 6% for heterosexual students. 

Brightline, a virtual mental health solution built specifically to care for children, teenagers, and their families, recognized these disparities, which is why it partnered with Violet, a company on a mission to build health equity by measuring, increasing, and recognizing cultural competence within care delivery professionals. The idea was to use Violet’s benchmarking and training to increase Brightline's ability to deliver the highest quality care to these families.

Through its partnership with Violet, Brightline was able to launch its new BIPOC, LGBQ, and TGNC care verticals within just nine months, and now the two companies have released a case study showing the effectiveness of their work together, including having improved overall inclusivity on Brightline by 67%.

"Navigating mental health care is already difficult, but navigating mental health care as a culturally diverse family is even more challenging. Kids and teens who identify as BIPOC, LGBQ, or TGNC face unique experiences in navigating their identity, which plays a big role in treating behavioral issues such as anxiety or depression. Care providers can’t address associated emotions and behavior without addressing identity," Kendra Read, Vice President of Therapy at Brightline, explained to VatorNews.

"Yet, not only are there not enough pediatric care providers with shared lived experiences to meet the needs of diverse families, but access and affordability can make it feel impossible for them to find a culturally competent provider. Together, Brightline and Violet saw this urgent need to close the disparity gaps in mental health care for diverse families and began partnering last fall to provide more affirming and identity-centered care."

Brightline uses a multidisciplinary care teams, evidence-based programs, and a family-focused approach to achieve its mission, which is to deliver high-quality, accessible and affordable mental health care to families when and where they need it. Violet, meanwhile, has created a standardized way to measure cultural competence across communities most impacted by health inequity, including work experience, education, lived experience, cultural humility and others.

"On top of this, we work to provide expansive, introspective and actionable education for clinicians at all levels of competence to continue growing, and help patients find the right clinicians for their identities and lived experiences using our benchmarks," said Kay Nikiforova, the company's Head of Clinical & Research.

As per the case study, Violet gave Brightline providers a benchmark of cultural Awareness, Proficiency, or Excellence. The Brightline team earned more than 900 hours of Violet education, resulting in 58% earning a BIPOC benchmark, a 24% increase; 24% earning an LGBQ benchmark, a 97% increase; and 4% earning a TGNC benchmark, a 483% increase. 

As a result of their partnership, Brightline and Violet were able to increase inclusive care offerings by 3x for a 99.3% match rate to culturally competent providers. The partnership was also a success with patients, as 66% percent of members and families were satisfied with the inclusive care they received.

"In evaluating the success of using the Violet benchmarks to route care, we identified that previous ways of care routing for diverse patients or members included using lived experience, which capped how many clinicians were available for culturally diverse families and had the potential to overburden those clinicians," said Nikiforova.

"When we benchmarked all Brightline clinicians, we identified a significantly larger number of clinicians who had competence with the communities served, but did not have lived experience."

Using Violet’s benchmarking, Brightline could see where its care providers stood in terms of existing cultural competence and identify areas for growth, said Read.

"Violet’s training enables our providers who don’t share lived experiences with these populations to gain better knowledge and awareness of their experiences, especially as it pertains to their mental health care. This helps us engage and train our providers to better serve the unique needs of diverse families across the country," she explained.

According to Nikiforova, this type of benchmarking system is the first of its kind and, while cultural competence has been written about for decades, it’s never been meaningfully measured or standardized to ensure that patients are getting the care they deserve. 

"My hope in creating this system, and now studying it, is to show the immense importance of acknowledging that lived experiences and identities impact our health and wellbeing, and that finding clinicians who can see us in all those intersections will lead to better care for all, especially those impacted by historical exclusion and oppression based off of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, ability, and more," she said.

Going forward, the majority of Brightline providers expressed a desire to keep growing with diverse communities. 

"Brightline is currently serving tens of thousands of families and this number grows daily as we continue to meet the increasing demand for high-quality youth mental health support. We’re looking to expand our service offerings through employers and health plans to reach even more patient communities and bring more accessible, affordable, and culturally appropriate care that families both need and deserve," said Read.

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