Teletherapy startup Ginger plans to make its entire on-demand mental health offering available in Spanish.
There are over 41 million native Spanish speakers in the United States, yet only 8,000 Spanish-speaking psychologists in the U.S., according to the company.
This shortage of providers and difficulty to get an appointment leads many to avoid care altogether. Studies show that Spanish-speaking clients often feel less comfortable sharing personal information or emotions with an English-speaking therapist; in fact, therapy in a native language is proven to be twice as effective.
Adding Spanish language capabilities to Ginger’s mobile app experience, from intake to messaging and care delivery, will help to address this gap, company executives said.
The Spanish language capabilities will be available to select Ginger clients in the fall, and all 25 million people who have access to Ginger’s mental health services by early 2022.
Ginger in Spanish will provide members with culturally competent care, including behavioral health coaching via text, video-based therapy and psychiatry sessions, and guided self-care content.
Hispanic and Latinx communities experience higher levels of stigma towards mental illness and psychotherapy than other communities. This stigma can deter individuals from seeking care, which can worsen mental health symptoms and hinder recovery, Ginger executives said.
“Unfortunately, many of our most vulnerable people are often those who speak English as a second language,” said Desiree Pascual, chief people officer at Ginger, in a statement. “Offering Ginger’s full continuum of care in Spanish is an enormous step forward in making mental healthcare accessible to those who have been underserved for so long.”
Founded in 2010 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Karan Singh, co-founder and chief operating officer, Ginger offers behavioral health coaching, therapy and psychiatry right from a smartphone.
The company recently announced plans to merge with meditation app Headspace in a deal that will expand their combined reach to 100 million consumers. The combined company, Headspace Health, is valued at $3 billion, company executives said.
Headspace Health now boasts more than 2,700 enterprise and health plan customers with combined bookings by end of 2021 of nearly $300 million, the companies said. The combined company now has the world’s largest mental health data set, which will be leveraged to deliver highly personalized care, executives said.
Ginger launching Spanish language capabilities marks the first step to serve more of Headspace’s millions of Spanish-speaking members around the world. Headspace has more than 70 million users and the app is available in five languages across more than 190 countries worldwide.
Through its Headspace for Work offering, Headspace offers its mindfulness products and services to more than 2,200 companies, such as Starbucks, Adobe, Hyatt and Unilever.
As the United States’ demographics rapidly shift, workforces also becoming more diverse.
“Employers have a responsibility to ensure inclusivity in all facets of the organization – including their benefit plans,” said Enrique Rubio, founder of Hacking HR in a statement. “By providing culturally competent mental healthcare, employers are signaling they are approaching employee wellness from a multicultural mindset and committed to meet their DEI&B commitments.”
The Ginger in Spanish offering includes Spanish-speaking coaches to provide scheduled and on-demand coaching sessions. Members will also be able to access clinical care in Spanish from licensed therapists and psychiatrists via video within days as well as self-guided content that tackle issues related to stress, relationships and cultural norms.
Clinically relevant outcomes measurement, such as PHQ-9, GAD-7 and resilience surveys, also will be provided in Spanish to track members’ symptom improvement over time and assess clinical outcomes.
In July, the company announced a partnership with AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia (DC) to bring Ginger’s virtual mental health services to 110,000 Medicaid plan enrollees.
There are some mental health apps on the market that offer some Spanish language capabilities including Lumosity and Sanvello, which offers Spanish text translations.
Startup Yana put mental health support in the pockets of Spanish speakers and says it has nearly hit the 5 million user mark.