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Candlelit: Virtual Therapy Clinic for Black Moms

Help fund the first-ever virtual therapy clinic for Black and multicultural moms. Dedicated to reducing preventable health disparities.

$115
pledged of$25,000 goal
2
0Days Left

Project Description

(mobile app mockup)

MEET CANDLELIT

Candlelit Therapy is a digital mental health company focused on providing Black and multicultural families with at-home mental health screening and counseling sessions. When moms feel off balance mentally and emotionally, it can feel easier to suffer in silence at work or home than to seek help from mental health professionals.

That's where we enter! 

We help women discover, book and maintain therapy from the comfort of their home.

Are you or do you know a new mom considering therapy, but not sure where to start? Beginning Fall 2020, our mobile app will provide free virtual screenings to learn about individual risk, mental health check-ins and access to culturally-competent therapy.

THE PROBLEM

 

Depression is a leading health complication during pregnancy and after childbirth with short- and long-term impacts on women and families, however more than half of women at risk never receive treatment. Despite federal recommendations to screen all adults for depression in February 2019 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a national study in 2017 found that less than 5 percent of adults were screened in primary care settings.

Risk factors for untreated depression include individual or family history of mental illness, abuse, unplanned pregnancy, stressful life events or gestational diabetes, and cost society an estimated $14.2 billion in failed interventions and lost productivity over the span of five years.

MEET OUR FOUNDER

Candlelit was created in August 2017 once I saw a lack of access to culturally-competent mental health screening, education and support when I became a mom eight months after getting married. I developed preeclampsia and felt overwhelmed after an emergency delivery of my son, but I was never screened or asked about my emotional well-being and I’m not alone. Less than 10% of women who screened positive for postpartum depression received treatment in the following six months.

Building on my personal and professional experiences as a Black mom, public health researcher and journalist, I’m using my voice to shed light on unique challenges and health complications experienced by Black women when screening is absent. 

Whether you're thinking about having kids, currently pregnant or recovering from childbirth, it’s hard to find time, energy or space to practice self-care. My goal is to help women practice self-care, which I define as listening to your intuition and responding to yourself as fast as you respond to your emails. I didn’t know where to search for mental health support or resources, so I created Candlelit Therapy. 

As a Black female-founded team, we're committed to elevating voices of Black women and families. We're here to lift you up and help you shine throughout your pregnancy and your little one's early years. 

OUR MISSION

Black families deserve access to quality, culturally-competent postpartum care. Nearly two million millennial women of color give birth and enter postpartum periods each year in the U.S. with a majority of families entering parenthood largely unprepared, unsupported and under-treated when they need it most. 

As behavioral health professionals grow scarce in the U.S., we plan to make it easier for hospitals and health systems to identify patients who benefit most from counseling intervention while helping women advocate for themselves at each doctor’s visit. 

 

Did you know ...

Black moms account for 42.8% of maternal deaths from pregnancy and childbirth complications compared to 13% of white women in the U.S.* 

Black families spend an avg. 20% of their household income on healthcare costs as compared to 11% of household income by white families.

But, guess what?

60% of U.S. pregnancy and childbirth complications are preventable.*

So while tragic, we're joining national efforts to reduce disparities and save lives.

OUR SOLUTION

At Candlelit, we know you deserve better. That's why - we're building a new standard of care rooted in cultural competence, evidence and technology. By combining machine learning technology with culturally-competent therapy, we’re making preventative screening and counseling accessible to approx. 61 million women of color in the U.S., so they don't have to navigate a bias-ridden health system alone. 

Typical 6-week postpartum visits aren’t enough, so we’re building something 100x better.

Screening women for social, physical and mental risk factors that increase vulnerability to complications prior to, during and after labor is critical. Unfortunately,  no accurate, scalable screening process to identify individuals at-risk for perinatal depression is available, so we're building one to make it easier for healthcare professionals to determine patients who will benefit most from counseling intervention. 

 Not another ‘match me with a therapist’ app.

Our mobile app will be free to download and offer access to at-home mental health screening, virtual check-ins with licensed therapists and support from other moms with similar risk profiles. 

(mobile app mock-up)

WHY CROWDFUND?

Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth worldwide. This means earlier intervention is critical. Through amazing volunteers, bootstrapping personal funds and deferred payments to the talented women who've supported our mission from the start, we've been able to bring Candlelit to this point. If being in therapy for nearly a year has taught me anything, it's knowing when to ask for help. We've spent nearly a year testing an early prototype to prove our concept. Now, we're ready to develop a digital health platform, so that you can have an easy access to mental health support and education at your fingertips. All support will directly go toward research and software development of our product to ensure we can deliver a bias-free talk therapy experience for you. Interested in partnering with Candlelit? Contact me at lauren@livecandlelit.com.

How Did We Get Here?

2017 - Present: Referral-driven, peer-based mental health support via a subscription box

Spring 2019: Conducted customer interviews, research and built mobile app wireframes

Summer 2019: Invited by U.S. National Science Foundation to submit SBIR grant proposal

Fall 2019: Built a functional prototype with Calendly + Typeform

January 2020: Launched prototype with a cohort of local therapists

February 2020: Held first Candlelit Therapy mental health pop-up event in NYC

March 2020: Started building custom AI

Summer 2020: It's time for us to grow and deliver our support to every woman of color.

Supported By

21 Ninety

Founder Gym

Startup Boost NYC

Grasshopper Bank

Black Girl Ventures

Tacklebox Accelerator

All Raise Seed Bootcamp

MATTER & Parkview Health 

National Science Foundation

Johnson & Johnson | JLabs

Founding Team Members 

Development: Victoria Henderson

Data Science: Pooja Umathe

Marketing: Ivie Igbere 

Funds raised on iFundWomen will be used to build a first-ever virtual therapy clinic.

THANK YOU

We cannot thank you enough for your support. We believe deeply in our mission and can't wait to create a world of that provides women of color with quality, culturally-competent emotional and mental healthcare, with you by our side. We are an ode to each woman in our lives who continue to light our flame. We’re here to light yours.

Join our journey! 

Follow Us

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

*content source:  CDC/National Center for Health StatisticsPremier Study

Updates

The Campaign FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Candlelit?

Candlelit is a digital health platform that puts women of color in control of their birth plan and mental health, so they don't navigate pregnancy and parenthood alone. 

Why we created Candlelit?

Candlelit was created by Lauren Elliott. She developed preeclampsia and symptoms of depression immediately after an emergency delivery of her son in 2017. She's not alone. 

Depression is the most common complication during pregnancy and after childbirth, affecting 1 in 5 new moms while sadly more than half of these women never receive treatment. Rates of depression skyrocket for women of color, especially Black women, a group of 61 million women who account for 38% of all U.S. women and nearly two million U.S. births each year. 

Is the U.S. government on board?

Yep! The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force conducted a study in 2019 that found, in addition to perinatal depression screening, counseling interventions reduce likelihood of perinatal depression by 39% after a minimum of 8 sessions. In March, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug to treat postpartum depression, however a majority of mothers could benefit from drug-free options, for example, if they choose to breastfeed. 

Who is it for? 

Candlelit Therapy is for Black and multicultural families considering therapy as they start a family, but aren’t sure where to start and also for family members looking to support their loved ones as they become new parents or expand their families.

How can I help Candlelit succeed? 

All of the funds from this campaign will go directly toward bringing our virtual clinic to millions of Black and multicultural women. Our team is also privately raising investment from angel investors and seed firms interested in healthcare to grow our solution at a faster scale.

How much will it cost? Our mobile iOS app will be free! 

Why do women need Candlelit? 

After extensive research it was clear the problem women of color face in regards to their mental health significantly affects their bodies: women of color face bias when trying to advocate for themselves, especially during their most vulnerable life milestones. Most don’t know their medical risk and resort to Google to offer clarity on what to expect. This leads to delayed diagnosis and increase in shame. In order to solve this problem, women need to know their risk factors in advance.  

When will it launch?

Our app will launch in Summer 2020. 

How will it work?
Once you download the app, you will be prompted to take our pregnancy and postpartum complication risk assessment. This includes quick questions like your height and weight, vitals that you know, plus some history about you and your family. You will be given personalized results to review along with our mental health professional. From there you can opt-into counseling, track your progress, learn from other moms with similar risks in our virtual clinic and view exclusive video content via our weekly newsletter.

Which phones will the app work with? 
We are launching with iOS in Summer 2020, then Android by December 2020.

Will you have ads? Nope.

How is my privacy protected? 
Your health data, especially mental health, is YOURS! We believe that you should have access to all of your data. What you do with it is up to you. We will not share it with anyone.

Diana Girhotra
07/29/2020
Two Free Therapy Sessions
$100
Jessica Snowden
06/02/2020
Newsletter Shoutout
$15
10.00 USD
Thank You
  • Receive a personalized thank you card from our founder Lauren Elliott to express her gratitude for you believing in her dream.
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0 Supporters
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15.00 USD
Personalized Affirmation
  • We will send you 'I Support Candlelit Therapy' stickers along with a special handwritten affirmation from our founder.
49 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
25.00 USD
Black Lives Matter Podcast Playlist
  • Receive an exclusive Spotify playlist full of gem-dropping podcasts created by Black artists, mental healthcare professionals and creatives that empower us to keep striving to be our best selves each day!
50 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
50.00 USD
#BlackMomMagic
  • We've brought back an oldie, but much-needed treat in this time of protest against racism and police brutality. For this reward, you will receive our very own Candlelit Box (a product discontinued in May 2019) for at-home healing filled with curated herbal tea, scented candles, sage, wellness products and affirmation card.
5 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
75.00 USD
Early Access to Mobile App
  • Take our risk assessment (early version of what will be automated in our mobile app). 
  • Receive 30-minute phone consult about the results with personalized recommendations.
50 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
Two Free Therapy Sessions
  • Receive two free therapy sessions with a Candlelit Therapist, which are good to be used until July 31.
  • Be part of our "First Flames" founding supporters section as an early funder shown on our website!
49 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
200.00 USD
Stay Home, Stay Calm
  • As a show of our gratitude, we're offering you a virtual 30-minute private session with MNDFL Meditation, so you can meditate from the comfort of your home. Excludes sound baths and events.
50 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
500.00 USD
Meet Our Founder (Virtually)
  • If you're interested in learning more about our long-term vision for Candlelit and want to meet in person, on top of your contribution. Receive a private lunch and exclusive virtual meeting with our founder Lauren Elliott in New York City where we're based.
20 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
1,500.00 USD
Our Angel

Receive infinite gratitude for your amazing generosity! 

You'll also receive:

  • a shoutout in our newsletter and on social media
  • a virtual gift certificate to use at our favorite and partner black and brown-owned wellness brands
  • FREE access to exclusive Candlelit Therapy virtual mental health pop-up events 
  • FREE access to our mobile app and virtual community for one-month
  • Exclusive access to private investor information, product roadmap, financial models, etc.
10 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
2,500.00 USD
Light Our Flame

Receive infinite gratitude for your amazing generosity! 

You'll also receive:

  • a shoutout in our newsletter and on social media
  • a virtual gift certificate to use at our favorite and partner black and brown-owned wellness brands
  • FREE access to exclusive Candlelit Therapy virtual mental health pop-up events 
  • FREE access to our mobile app and virtual community for one-month
  • Exclusive access to private investor information, product roadmap, financial models, etc.
  • Exclusive access to a private investor virtual event Fall 2020.
20 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward

Rewards

10.00 USD
Thank You
  • Receive a personalized thank you card from our founder Lauren Elliott to express her gratitude for you believing in her dream.
50 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
15.00 USD
Personalized Affirmation
  • We will send you 'I Support Candlelit Therapy' stickers along with a special handwritten affirmation from our founder.
49 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
25.00 USD
Black Lives Matter Podcast Playlist
  • Receive an exclusive Spotify playlist full of gem-dropping podcasts created by Black artists, mental healthcare professionals and creatives that empower us to keep striving to be our best selves each day!
50 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
50.00 USD
#BlackMomMagic
  • We've brought back an oldie, but much-needed treat in this time of protest against racism and police brutality. For this reward, you will receive our very own Candlelit Box (a product discontinued in May 2019) for at-home healing filled with curated herbal tea, scented candles, sage, wellness products and affirmation card.
5 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
75.00 USD
Early Access to Mobile App
  • Take our risk assessment (early version of what will be automated in our mobile app). 
  • Receive 30-minute phone consult about the results with personalized recommendations.
50 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
Two Free Therapy Sessions
  • Receive two free therapy sessions with a Candlelit Therapist, which are good to be used until July 31.
  • Be part of our "First Flames" founding supporters section as an early funder shown on our website!
49 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
200.00 USD
Stay Home, Stay Calm
  • As a show of our gratitude, we're offering you a virtual 30-minute private session with MNDFL Meditation, so you can meditate from the comfort of your home. Excludes sound baths and events.
50 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
500.00 USD
Meet Our Founder (Virtually)
  • If you're interested in learning more about our long-term vision for Candlelit and want to meet in person, on top of your contribution. Receive a private lunch and exclusive virtual meeting with our founder Lauren Elliott in New York City where we're based.
20 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
1,500.00 USD
Our Angel

Receive infinite gratitude for your amazing generosity! 

You'll also receive:

  • a shoutout in our newsletter and on social media
  • a virtual gift certificate to use at our favorite and partner black and brown-owned wellness brands
  • FREE access to exclusive Candlelit Therapy virtual mental health pop-up events 
  • FREE access to our mobile app and virtual community for one-month
  • Exclusive access to private investor information, product roadmap, financial models, etc.
10 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward
2,500.00 USD
Light Our Flame

Receive infinite gratitude for your amazing generosity! 

You'll also receive:

  • a shoutout in our newsletter and on social media
  • a virtual gift certificate to use at our favorite and partner black and brown-owned wellness brands
  • FREE access to exclusive Candlelit Therapy virtual mental health pop-up events 
  • FREE access to our mobile app and virtual community for one-month
  • Exclusive access to private investor information, product roadmap, financial models, etc.
  • Exclusive access to a private investor virtual event Fall 2020.
20 Left
0 Supporters
Select this reward