A young woman looks up if Charlie Health is legit.

Is Charlie Health Legit?

Updated: May 15, 2024

6 min.

We dive into how our IOP works, how we know it’s effective, and share reviews from real Charlie Health clients.

By: Charlie Health Editorial Team


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Since it was identified as a “national emergency” in 2021, the youth mental health crisis has remained pervasive. Young people have been reporting rising rates of persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, increased loneliness, isolation, and suicidal ideation, and a marked increase in rates of diagnosed mental health conditions. Still, mental healthcare remains inaccessible for many young people. That’s where Charlie Health comes in. 

Charlie Health’s virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is an accessible, effective, and personalized solution for teens and young adults struggling with serious mental health issues. Our virtual IOP is designed to meet the needs of those who would benefit from more than once-weekly therapy or for those who need continued support after an inpatient or residential treatment program. 

Below, we dive into how our IOP works, discuss how we know it’s effective, and outline the different types of mental health conditions we can support. We also explain the origins of Charlie Health and share reviews from Charlie Health clients. 

How does Charlie Health’s virtual IOP work? 

Charlie Health’s virtual IOP operates similarly to traditional in-person IOPs but is conducted entirely online. While the program is personalized for each client, it typically lasts from 9-12 weeks, and each week consists of the following comprehensive mental health treatment plan: 

  • 3 hours of supported group sessions, 3 days per week
  • 1 hour of individual therapy 
  • 1-2 hours of family therapy

IOP is often an ideal treatment path for those who need more than weekly therapy, but virtual IOP may be even more effective and accessible. Whether it’s due to limited local programs, mental health provider shortages, or transportation limitations, virtual IOP actively breaks down traditional barriers to care. Plus, a virtual model allows clients to continue to live their day-to-day lives while exploring new coping skills and strategies with peers and mental health professionals.

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Below, we answer some commonly asked questions about Charlie Health’s treatment approach. 

What treatments are offered in Charlie Health’s virtual IOP?

Charlie Health’s virtual IOP offers a range of evidence-based treatments and therapeutic interventions to address various mental health concerns. While the specific treatments may vary based on individual needs and clinical protocols, common therapies offered in Charlie Health’s virtual IOP may include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy 
  • Dialectical behavior therapy skills 
  • Attachment-based therapy 
  • Compassion focused therapy 
  • Art and music therapy 
  • And more 

Learn more about the other treatment modalities we specialize in here

What conditions does Charlie Health treat?

By using a range of evidence-based modalities and holistic programming, Charlie Health’s virtual IOP can help people manage many serious mental health challenges. Our treatment plans are tailored to each client’s individual needs and goals, and our team of licensed therapists and mental health professionals works collaboratively to provide comprehensive and personalized care. Here’s an overview of the conditions we treat: 

  • Anxiety disorders (such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder)
  • Depressive disorders (including major depressive disorder and postpartum depression)
  • Trauma and stress-related disorders (including post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Co-occurring substance use disorders

Learn more about the other conditions we treat here

How are people matched with peer groups?

Teens and young adults are matched to their respective groups through a data-driven process that considers mental health conditions and history, age, and goals. This ensures that group members can relate to each other, benefit from shared experiences, and work together towards their mental health goals. By creating cohesive and supportive groups, Charlie Health aims to provide an environment where individuals feel comfortable, understood, and supported in their journey toward improved mental well-being.

Is Charlie Health’s IOP effective?

In short, yes. And you don’t just have to take our word for it — our outcomes speak for themselves. Here are some highlights from our peer-reviewed research papers and studies: 

  • Charlie Health clients attend 90% of their scheduled virtual sessions compared to the industry average of 65%
  • The vast majority of clients (95%) report improvements in symptoms associated with depression at the end of treatment
  • Most clients (89%) reported improvements in self-harm after discharge
  • Among participants who self-reported active suicidal ideation when completing intake surveys, 71% self-reported no longer feeling suicidal after discharge
  • Clinical outcomes were comparable between participants on public insurance and those on private insurance, indicating that Charlie Health is both an accessible and equitable care model 

Learn more about our program’s efficacy by looking at our most recent clinical outcomes report.

Reviews from Charlie Health clients 

Hearing from Charlie Health clients directly can help you decide whether our programs are the right fit for you. Here are some highlights from teenage and young adult clients discussing how Charlie Health helped them overcome mental health challenges. 

“Charlie Health has been life-changing for me. After two weeks, I already noticed a difference in my mood and how I processed things. I’ve been told I’m more empathetic, and I am more steady when something that would usually set me off happens.” —Nicholas, 20

“Before Charlie Health, no one was able to help me find any solutions to my extreme panic attacks. After treatment, I went from having panic attacks several times a week without any coping skills to having panic attacks once a week or less with strategies to use.” —Julia, 19 

“In April, I went to the hospital. I wasn’t hurting myself, but I was thinking about it. A therapist from the hospital told us about Charlie Health. I thought doing something virtually would be better than driving somewhere. At first, Charlie Health felt like a lot in one week, but I grew to like it. I found kids in group therapy who I could relate to. I realized over time thanks to group that I wasn’t alone.” —Ashlyn, 13

See all of our program’s reviews here.

Charlie Health’s origin story

Charlie Health’s CEO and Co-Founder, Carter Barnhart, struggled for years with anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation after experiencing sexual assault as a teenager. For Carter, the road to healing and recovery started at a residential treatment program that incorporated group therapy and fostered community with other teens dealing with similar challenges. 

After Carter’s treatment ended, she committed to advocating for the millions of teens and young adults facing serious mental health concerns. This began with spending over a decade helping the center that provided her own treatment become a leading inpatient program for young people. Through this work, as well as her own experience, Carter recognized the significant barriers in the mental healthcare space, from affordability to insurance to limited bed space. 

Along with Co-Founders Dr. Caroline Fenkel, DSW, LCSW, and Justin Weiss, Carter built Charlie Health’s primary offering, an intensive outpatient program for teens and young adults, as a direct response to the growing youth mental health crisis. The goal was to make personalized intensive treatment more accessible for teens — no matter who they are or where they live.

A teen girl with blonde hair sits on her computer during a virtual IOP session

Get started with Charlie Health today

If you or a young adult in your life is struggling with a mental health condition and could use some extra support, Charlie Health is here to help. Charlie Health’s virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) provides more than once-weekly mental health treatment for young people and families dealing with serious mental health conditions. Our expert clinicians incorporate evidence-based therapies into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions into each client’s treatment plan. With this kind of comprehensive mental health treatment, managing your mental health condition is possible. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today. 

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