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Why is Virtual Care for High-Acuity Youth Effective?

The mental health care system is broken. While thousands of providers work tirelessly to provide essential care to Americans, rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide in our teens and young adults remain high. Long waitlists, the stigmatization of mental health, or people feeling like therapy “isn’t for them” has kept many away from clinically appropriate levels of care, creating a dangerous and traumatizing feedback loop of hospitalizations and discharges.

Why is Virtual Care for High-Acuity Youth Effective?

The mental health care system is broken. While thousands of providers work tirelessly to provide essential care to Americans, rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide in our teens and young adults remain high. Long waitlists, the stigmatization of mental health, or people feeling like therapy “isn’t for them” has kept many away from clinically appropriate levels of care, creating a dangerous and traumatizing feedback loop of hospitalizations and discharges.


The founders of Charlie Health witnessed this cycle through lived experience, and in their Montana hometown. In an effort to solve this crisis for millions of youth nationwide, Charlie Health set out to create a fully virtual intensive outpatient (IOP) program for teens and young adults. As Charlie Health addressed the specific needs of the Montana rural, ranching, and tribal populations, we grew into neighboring states as we saw that access to quality and specialized mental health care was not unique to our home state. As our services have traveled to the PNW, we have seen that not only can Charlie Health’s virtual treatment provide high-quality care to those living in the most rural places in the country, but treatment can be successfully delivered outside of an in-person setting–without sacrificing the essential components of connection and community.


Clients who have walked through our zoom doors are complicated and wonderfully unique, and we believe that treatment should reflect just that. Our diverse staff of trauma-informed, masters-level clinicians is carefully matched with specialized client groups to address their specific needs.


The magic of healing is precisely in this diversity. For example, a client who is struggling with past sexual trauma, current gender dysphoria, and comes from a Spanish-speaking home may not feel seen, heard, or comfortable in traditional, in-person IOP where the therapists and clients are dependent on those who live nearby. While these options may work wonders for some, Charlie Health sees the whole client and creates a custom treatment plan. This client can come to Charlie Health and receive EMDR therapy in the teen trauma group, create new friendships in the LGBTQIA+ group led by trans therapists, and receive family counseling with bicultural and bilingual therapists.


Charlie Health's virtual treatment is unique in its ability to connect clients and therapists unbound by geography, but bound by experience and culture. Feeling that one’s entire self is seen, heard, and understood by their provider is a cornerstone of healing, especially for teens and young adults whose identities are still evolving. At Charlie Health, we understand the limitless potential virtual IOP has in providing quality, accessible, and personalized care to clients in order to stop readmissions to higher levels of care and help clients progress in their healing journey. When the whole client is treated–inclusive of their diagnosis, background, culture, identity, and support system–they can receive care in an appropriate environment and achieve sustainable healing.

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